Tuesday, February 16, 2010

CNY in Penang (and some Engrish)

Back in KL and lovin' it!

These days I get stressed so much more easily, cuz I keep thinking I've got loads to do - which I do - and it's so difficult to organise things, with errands to run, bills to pay, things to pack, things to give away, friends to say goodbye to... bleh.

Today is another public holiday for Chinese New Year and at first I was pretty pissed off about it because it means that my MacBook Pro will take another day to come back to me, also that I can't run some of my errands as places will be closed and people will also not be working.

Then I woke up this morning and realised, oh well, if people aren't working, then I can't do anything either, so I may as well forget about the errands for one more day and not stress out about completing things today. It's called Zen. And I need loads of it!

Anyway, I spent CNY in Penang last week, staying at my grandmother's place. It was nice to be there, eating good food and spending lots of time with the family. No extended family (thank goodness?) as my dad's family only consists of him and his sister.

Upon arriving in Penang, we drove straight to the Pulau Tikus market to have dinner. Although almost all the tables were occupied, I realised suddenly that it was strangely very quiet. It's not often a hawker stall area is quiet and peaceful, but it really was. It was kinda surreal.

Although I ALWAYS have Wan Tan Mee in Penang because it's so different and so much nicer than everywhere else (with the exception of Hong Kong style, which is nice too, and the stall near my house which is awesome), when I sat down next to this Prawn Mee stall, temptation overcame and I ordered that instead. And ordered Wan Tan Mee after.

EVERYONE orders more than one dish to eat in Penang! It's like a requirement because everything is so tasty!

Driving back home, I snapped a photo of this old-school shop. According to the signboard above, it's a tailor or sewing shop. Penang is full of these old-school shopfronts. So quaint.

The next day we headed to Prangin Mall because Yelleh Belleh had 4 tickets to watch any movie at Cathay Cineplexes. Because we had our younger sisters with us, we had to choose something kid-friendly, so we picked Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. It was okay. I get a bit fussier about movies and storylines as I get older, and in this show, I was annoyed that they didn't show the girl playing a bigger part in it, as she was supposedly the offspring of Athena, goddess of wisdom and war strategy. And yet, all the wisdom and war strategy came from Percy Jackson, of course. She was just there to take up oxygen in the film.

Walking around before the movie, I spotted some lovely Engrish food banners. I always stop at these banners because I'm bound to be rewarded with gems like 'Chicken Gordon Brew'.

And fretting prawns.

For dinner, naturally, another hawker food court. The food here was really yummy (sorry, I can't remember where it is, but it's near the Tanjung Bungah side of the island since we live there). The Wan Tan Mee was splendid! I also notice many more foreigners in Penang these days. And not tourists, as in, people who make Penang their retirement home. I guess many westerners like the old world charm of Penang. A bit too old-fashioned and chaotic for my taste to make it a permanent home, though.

On the first day of CNY (which was also Valentine's Day this year), we always visit my grandfather's memorial place in the Buddhist assocation/temple/place. My grandfather's plaque is circled in red. Next to his picture is a red piece of paper covering my grandmother's side of the plaque when she eventually goes to join him *sniff*. On the right of his plaque is my grandmother's mother, and on her right, is my grandfather's mother.

What we do when we go to see them is to get joss sticks, light them, pray in front of the plaques then stick the joss sticks into a big bowl with everyone else's. Then we sit for a bit at the few tables provided and eat free mandarin oranges, ground nuts and sweets that were donated to the Buddhist nuns (no monks here) or that they bought with money donated. We also donate money before indulging in this stuff.

This golden statue of Buddha is located in front of the ancestor hall.

This is where people pray. There are tiles of Buddha plastered all over the walls.

Yelleh Belleh looking cautiously at me, since I'm known to love taking quirky (read: weird) photos of people. Above her on the wall behind are all the Buddha tiles.

Because it's the first day of CNY (there are two main days, and fifteen days in total), most of Penang is shut. The majority of Penangites are Chinese after all. We were almost heading to a fast food restaurant when we came across this vegetarian restaurant. Vegetarianism is big amongst Buddhists, so I guess that's why the few Chinese eateries that are open would be vegetarian. This is my plate with tofu, egg and beancurd roll.

Vegetarian food is not cheap! Yelleh Belleh decided to have potatoes and curry 'chicken' with hers.

And now I'm back in KL :P

Last night I went to my other grandmother's house for the reunion dinner on my mother's side. Received lots of angpaus (always a nice thing), and after the dinner I met up with an old schoolmate, Fahmi. He's leaving for Lisbon in a few days for a performance residency. How arty!

And tonight is my farewell dinner hosted by Mumsy Bumsy for her relatives to say goodbye and good luck to me. But first, Sookie's open house this afternoon!

Busy, busy, it's no wonder I'm stressed about finishing things up here.

1 comment:

elleLee said...

GREAT photos of me. :(

i shall be using some of your shots of the shops. very nice. :)