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Update : Touching Base with our Penang People

Although we started off with grand plans to cuti-cuti Malaysia, for some reason, we ended up in Penang Island instead...and my cousins and sister were laughing about how their event-planning went awry. We know coordinating something like this is a task for the brave.

But I think it was fantastic, though. It allowed us all to touch base with each other still and the bungalow we rented in Tanjung Bungah was quite the perfect fit. It was by the beach, not too far from the Georgetown city center and was spacious enough to fit all of us. 

Horizon of clear, blue skies marked by skyscrapers
Billowing clouds lining up like ducks in a row
I don't know about the rest but we were just a tad worried about the floods and possible rain, considering the fact that Penang's just recovered from a major flood but as you can see from the 2 pictures above, it was blistering hot...almost like the sun's way of saying sorry for dumping a part of the ocean on the tiny island before this.

Slippers in the Sand
A hi-bye experience in Penang with my kids
Enchanted by the enchanting scenery atop the rocks
With the rocky beach being right outside, literally, our doorsteps, we could not resist going out to enjoy the scenery. It has been rather stressful for me and the kids and the beckoning of the ocean waves and the lulling sound of each of its reproach towards the white, powdered sands peeled away the layers of stress. You only need a few hours to feel its effects.

To the people of Penang, it's something they see everyday. To us, it was such a welcomed change from the concrete suburban scene. 

Roaring golden dragon making its mark outside the Thai Buddhist temple
Guarding the gates of the temple...plus two
Picture taken with grandparents and uncle in the background. One baby missing in the foreground because he was fussing with discomfort. Credit : Mandy Maung
We also visited the Thai and Burmese Temples (where the large sleeping and standing Buddhas were) complete with teens and babies to visit the family shrine. To introduce our grandparents and uncle to the new peeps added to the family tree. 

I let the kids marvel at the strangeness in Penang's architecture (strange in a good way - because we need more of these UNESCO sites), the almost-broken buildings and iconic landmarks around the island after eating in an old-school traditional restaurant. They had some western food the night before and were chastised by their friends with 'You go to Penang and you eat Western food??!!' I didn't even have to say a word. #lol

We loved the room...and the AIR-CONDITIONING
We popped by the Dark Mansion Glow in the Dark Museum but it was not worth it at all. The 'museum' was small, we were rushed through the experience while others waited for us to finish exploring their exhibits and it was done in a matter of minutes. Definitely not recommended and not worth the RM25 (for Malaysians) per person we paid for it. So, if you asked me, don't waste your time and money.

Baby Blue at Hin Bus Depot
Salvaged leftover of a time-ravaged bus depot
Shine beyond the peeling paint and tattered bricks
What was worth it was, on the other hand, a non-museum : The Hin Bus Depot where I met up with Krista and her husband, Nic. I didn't know what I was walking into because all she asked me to do was to turn up at the former bus depot. The depot has been turned into one of the most random art attractions in Penang. Described as the ruins of a former bus depot, there are artwork, live music, food trucks, abandoned sheds, plank outhouses, cute little stone statues...and what's that a disco ball?!?! #lol

It was snazzy! And maybe because it was the weekend, the place was abuzz with activities of all kinds...kids rolling by on their scooters, moms offering their delicious carrot cakes, air-conditioned cafes with outdoor patios, palate-pleasing chocolate muffins and brownies, fancy jewelry, organic homemade products, dolls, decor items and much, much more! It's so much more dapper and chic than KL's Central Market where it reeks of modernity and lacking in personality. AND, frankly, art.

A Penan Women Project tote and personally-made pain-relief ointment from friends
I did buy a handmade bag that was made under the Penan Women Project from Krista and Nic gave me a bottle of his 'prototype' ointment which can be used for any kind of pain. Smashing! Can't thank these wonderful people enough!

Mandy and me, 12 years difference, same temperament, LOLCredit : Mandy Maung
We returned after a hot day of prancing around without an umbrella or sunscreen to the bungalow and I was welcomed to a durian feast! HEAVEN! But hell for my kids but too bad for them because they were outnumbered by durian lovers and non-Durian-loving Penangites are already used to tolerating its (I would lovingly call it sweet aroma but I'll be fair lol) strong scent. 

Honestly speaking, there was only one other time when I roamed Penang on my own, willed by my own interests. Because I have relatives staying here and I rarely drove to the island, I've always followed along with the others, allowing them to make the decisions while I tagged along. 

But with my kids (bigger now than before), I played a bigger role in planning the sadly-numbered days this time. 

When the sun shines, fall in love with the shadow
With Penangites being so incredibly proud of their heritage and FOOD, I came back heavier and with promises of even MORE food when I return. This is Penang. 

There were dinner gatherings, trips to the beach, midnight beer sessions, fishing and short trips to some sites around the island and it was fulfilling. We really SHOULD do this more often!

Break over, back to the grind,
XOXO,
Marsha

BONUS : cute baby! XD

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