Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lata Chemperoh - The Hidden Fall in the Jungle

The mist covered hills and valleys that line the Karak highway which cuts its way through the Titiwangsa mountain range conceals many a beautiful waterfall in its midst. Lata Chemperoh is just such a waterfall. Located some distance from Kampung Janda Baik, it is a place rarely visited. In fact, if not for the few intrepid adventurers that discovered it and published it on the web, no one would probably know that it ever existed!
Tarzan at the waterfall

In any case, a waterfall as impressive as Lata Chemperoh couldn’t really escape the gaze of our ever vigilant Trail Tracker (TT) leader, Aurelius, and thus, after exiling himself for a couple of months to concentrate on his master studies (yeah right!), he returned to pitch an invitation for me to join him on a trek to Lata Chemperoh. It wasn’t really the first time TT had gone to this fall. A number of TT members had gone to the fall a year earlier, carefully following the directions published on the web by the people who found it. This time however, we had gone a little high tech, with Aurelius equipping his GPS with the coordinates and route to the waterfall. Our adventure begins first with a gathering at the TT HQ in TTDI or so I thought, because when I reached the place, there was no one in sight! Calling Aurelius revealed that he was late, having had trouble waking up earlier on. And so as the clock ticked by with Ai Ling and Timmy showing up to join Wei Han and myself, we decided to go to Devi’s Corner for some light snacks while we wait our dear ‘leader’. Halfway through my teh tarik however, came the call.
Timmy and his tongue again at Devi's Corner

Aurelius was already moving with Yee Wei and Chris in tow, heading out to pick up Aaron at the Shell petrol station at the entrance to the Karak highway. Finishing up our morning snack, we too set off, myself acquiescing to Ai Ling’s request to drop by at 7 Eleven to stock up with a packet of nasi lemak for lunch before rendezvousing with Aurelius at the Damansara toll plaza on LDP. We arrived at Janda Baik town at about 8:30am in the morning, dropping by at one of the few wan tan mee shops there for some real breakfast. With Chris around, there is no doubt that our breakfast will be supplemented with the customary siew yoke and char siew, sold outside the shop by a vendor setting his stall on his motorcycle by the road.
Tidak ditanggung halal!

We even brought with us 3 packets of meat for the road, thinking of having it once we reach the falls. Breakfast over with, we took to the winding by roads into Kampung Janda Baik and the farms beyond where we would leave our cars and continue the journey on foot.
Getting off cars and moving on foot!

Preparing to go...

It was about 9:30am in the morning and the heat of the sun was beginning to make its mark on our skins. To make things even warmer, we had to hike a good distance across open farmland before we reached this inconspicuous branch on the road where a jungle path continues to the waterfall.
Panas... panas... :p


That inconspicuos branch to the jungle trek

It was time to spray on the leech repellent as these creatures begin to make their presence felt. The trek through the jungle path didn't really take as long as Aurelius had earlier predicted (3 hours) nor was it really difficult.
Trekking through the jungle

Most of it was rather flat with a couple of low hills to navigate. Soon enough we hit a small stream, which we followed up for 10 minutes before we reached the falls.
Lata Chemperoh

Lata Chemperoh is quite impressive, a two step waterfall, the water is extremely clean and cold. Upon arrival, we took no time to wade into its chilling waters, frolicking first at the lowest level where a small pool with a rocky base is situated.

More "Ahhhhhhh"! :)


Water pressure is quite good and it was difficult for us to keep a firm footing within the gushing torrents.
A good massage is in store!

At length, we moved up to the 2nd level, making a precariously slippery climb along the side.
Climbing up to the 2nd level can be dangerous...

Watch out because two of our members, Timmy and Aaron slipped and slid down the moss covered boulder on the way up to a rather painful conclusion at the bottom. (Timmy's was accidental, Aaron's deliberate! :p)
Aurelius getting a good kick in the butt by Ai Ling

We took some time to bask in the sun before a group of us descended to help ourselves with the packed lunch and 'siew yoke' as a couple of butterflies sort of flittered by to check us out.
Denizens of the forest: a frog

A butterfly seems to have taken a liking for Chris

By 1:30pm, it was time to head out and after one more jump into the cool waters and another round of photos, we were on our feet.
One last photo on a prominent rock right between the branching streams of the fall

Hmm... seems more people have the same idea!

We met up with a group of hikers just outside the 10 minute walk along the stream. Apparently, they were university students coming down from Gunung Nuang. Hmmm... now I know where does the alternate trek on Puncak Pengasih will lead you on the way to Janda Baik. Strangely, they are not aware of Lata Chemperoh.
Chris showing his prowess with Guan Dao, no wonder he's got them muscles! :p :)

Leaving them behind, we continued to our cars, passing the various farms and myself picking up this beautiful red shawl that just appeared in the middle of the road! And just when I was thinking of finding something to shield my skin from the stinging burn of the afternoon sun! My grandmother would later freak out when she heard of the shawl's origin though because whether you believe it or not, I had forgotten one very general code of conduct when doing hiking in jungles. "NEVER PICK UP THINGS THAT DON'T BELONG TO YOU, ESPECIALLY BEAUTIFUL THINGS!" :p :) She disposed of it immediately. At the car park, we took an opportunity to dip ourselves in the nearby stream. Despite the hot sun, the water was still cool to the touch. Once cleansed, he got into our cars and went over to Bukit Tinggi where we had lunch at Restaurant 126.
Good food at Restaurant 126, Bukit Tinggi

One annoyed looking 'Makcik'! ;)

It's the first time I had been to this place and upon paying my share of the food, found it to be extremely cheap! ;) Of course we avoided the seafood and opted for their famous pork bellies instead. Lunch settled, we all headed home, bringing memories of this remote but beautiful falls with us... oh, and that bright RED shawl... huhuhu... hahaha... >)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Penang Day 2 - Journey Home

Easter Sunday, 12th April 2009. It was not the sound of peeling church bells that brought me out of my slumber. Rather it was what sounded like the whirring roar of a chain saw that did. It was 7:30am in the morning, 30 minutes before my phone set alarm was supposed to go off. Nevertheless, despite the night long drone, I was simply too tired to pull myself out of bed. Instead, I buried my head under the pillows, ignoring the snores of my travelling companions and tried to catch as much sleep as I can before the inevitable alarm sounded.
Getting up is hard to do... ;)

By 9:00am in the morning we were on the streets of Penang again, heading down Penang road to look for a place to have breakfast minus Valerie who had made an appointment to meet a friend at Wesley church for Easter mass AND Wen Chieh who had chosen to join his friends for breakfast at a mamak stall. Passing by Chowrasta market near the police station we had thought of going back to the shop near the famous cendol stall for breakfast. We found out that we were too early. The equally famous asam laksa stall owner at the shop telling us that business here only starts at 11:00am.
The old Odeon theater on Penang Road

We ended up on Kimberley street instead, a crowded junction with four shops jammed with Penangites signaling it as a good place for us to fill our growling tummies. Here, along the roads are stalls selling chee cheong fun, har mee, apam balik, mee rebus and char kueh kak.

Chee Cheong Fun and Char Kueh Kak at Kimberley Street

Having had our fill, we moved back to Chowrasta market where apparently I was the only one interested in the wares this wet market has to offer. Well known for its stock of pickled mangoes, ‘buah pala’ products, prawn paste and rojak sauce, I bought my share, intending to distribute them to my parents and grandmother when I reached home.

Chowrasta Market

That done, we returned to the hotel to pack our bags before checking out at a little bit pass 12:00pm. In between, the guys and myself had a few rounds of ‘chor tai tee’, my bad luck looking as if it is improving when I won my first two rounds of the game throughout the whole trip! :p For lunch, I proposed to go to the field near Dato Keramat Police Station where another famous asam laksa shop was located although before this we had to fulfill Henry’s quest to get himself ‘charged’ with dragon balls. And not just any type of dragon ball mind you, Henry was looking for these special dragon balls made only by the Him Hiang bakery in Penang.

Seeking out to find the Him Hiang bakery was not difficult for our GPS except that when we did find it, it was closed. Not giving up easily, we made a few more rounds in the general vicinity, Henry not convinced that the bakery we found was probably the only shop Him Hiang has in the area. Dennis suggested Ghee Hiang, another bakery selling these mysterious ‘dragon balls’ comparatively similar to the one Henry is seeking and located not far from its major rival but when we arrived there, we found out that all its stock of ‘dragon balls’ were finished.

Noting Henry’s zealousness in finding these ‘dragon balls’ I was at this point somewhat curious to have a bite of this stuff as well. Secretly, I was also hoping that he finds this ‘secret’ Him Hiang shop for me to grab one box for myself.

The elusive Him Heang Dragon Balls

Luck was not with us and after a few more rounds, Henry gave up. We went to our lunch venue instead, finding out that the asam laksa shop wasn’t open yet. We went to this food court located right next to the ‘padang’ itself.

Here they served lok lok, yong tau foo, asam laksa, cendol, ais kacang and char kuey teow. We were smarter now and chose to adopt a strategy of ordering just one plate of something, sampling it and if we found it good, ordering some more. :) I personally ordered a plate of char kuey teow, my nasty experience yesterday making me determined to find one other stall in Penang that cooks better than even this hyped up place everybody is talking about. With this dish being the ‘standard’ in Penang and with innumerable stalls selling it all over it shouldn’t be a difficult task. I was correct. The char kuey teow here tasted very good and at RM3.00 per plate, it’s definitely no ‘rip off’. Letting everyone have a taste of it, almost everyone agreed that it was a notch better than the ‘famous’ one in Lorong Selamat. :p

Ais Kacang and Char Kuey Teow at a fraction of the price!

We were at Kek Lok Si after lunch, the asam laksa served at the old market at the foot of the temple a beacon for some of us who had chose to reserve their stomachs for it while at Dato Keramat. We were also supposed to meet Wen Chieh and his friends there as well but miscommunication ended us not meeting up until we finished our tour of temple.

At Kek Lok Si Temple

Despite many years into construction, the grand pavilion that is to shelter this giant image of Kuan Yin at highest point of Kek Lok Si temple was not yet complete. Accessing this pavilion requires a ride via tram which costs RM2.00/person one way, proceeds of which will go to the temple construction fund. Nearby, a shrine to Kuan Yin offers visitors RM30 to buy a roof tile, write their names on it and donate it to complete the roof of the pavilion. I decided to pay RM2 to buy a few joss sticks for me to offer my respects to the compassionate bodhisattva. I also offered my heartfelt thanks for granting me this opportunity to visit the shrine especially after that potentially deadly accident in Cambodia, a week earlier. Once finished, I stopped by at the gift shop, purchasing two paper folding fans to present it to my grandmother which I was sure she would like it.

The Bodhisattva surrounded by scaffolding

We finally linked up with Wen Chieh and his friends at the asam laksa stall. Despite its much hyped about reputation, I found the laksa a tad bit bland whereas Ai Ling commented that the soup was too cold. Somehow that spicy, fishy taste that is the signature of this dish is missing. My grandmother (who is from Bukit Mertajam) cooks way better laksa than these guys. Nevertheless, its price of RM2.20 per bowl sounds reasonable compared to the outrageous RM8.00 price tag for the char kuey teow at Lorong Selamat. :p

Kek Lok Si's famous Asam Laksa

With our second lunch dealt with, it is really time to go home and to bade farewell to Wen Chieh's friends who had opted to stay another day in Penang (where do these youngsters get their money nowadays? :)). We still had to first gather up our 'wayward' travellers though and for that we went over to Jalan Lahat near the old Rifle Range to pick up Selina who had spent the two days with her family back at her home. Next on the list was Valerie, who joined up with us at Swettenham Pier in Georgetown close to the Ferry Terminal.

In the ferry, at last!

No Penang trip would be complete without a ride across the straits to the mainland in the ferry, or at least that was what I thought. Somehow the rest weren't as enshusiatic about the ride but being the 'organizer' (and the driver) has it's priviledges. :)

Group photo... before we forget to do so... ;)

We crossed the straits without much incident except for the one occasion where my car decided to annoy the heck out of the other people in the lower deck when it blared its alarm, other than that it was a relaxing trip with us taking a few group photos to commerate the trip and savouring the gentle sea breeze. Once across, we drove towards the North-South Highway aiming our sights for Ipoh which we will stop by for dinner.

Dusk greeted us as we arrived at Ipoh's Onn Kee Restaurant, serving no other than Ipoh's famous (boy I have already lost count how many times I have used 'famous' throughout this trip :p) 'nga choy kai' or for the more 'cultured', bean sprout chicken. :) Earlier, there were howls of protest when the suggestion was made to go to Lou Wong Chicken Rice shop instead. Not being a fan of monopolists ;) I didn't make much of an issue about it and agreed to the protests. :) All I wanted was to eat Nga Choy Kai... anywhere is fine with me :).

Ipoh Nga Choy Kai

Onn Kee is also where I discovered how deep fried my brain was, failing completely at my mathematics when it came to calculating the division of costs on each of the travellers. I hope it's just a desperate deficit of sleep and not the hard knock on the head in Cambodia that is the cause of my deteriorated cognitive abilities... :) Fortunately, Audrey was around to iron things out and saved my chesnuts from being burnt further.

At the nearby biscuit shops, I hopped in to grab two boxes of biscuits along with a few tidbits for the office. Valerie and Selina did the same, while Kam Keong and his entourage decided to head directly for TTDI after the one last try to have a taste of 'Rabbit' Tau Foo Fah failed when they found the shop was closed.

Rabbit (?) Tau Foo Far

The journey back was continued with Dennis at the wheel, I taking up his offer over Valerie's. ;) It rained heavily from this point onwards. At length, there was a brief scare when the fuel indicator showed that we were almost empty but our combined faith managed to power the car enough to reach the next nearest petrol station at the Tanjung Malim rest area. Filling up with petrol and heaving a sigh of relief in the process we finally arrived at the Trail Trackers HQ at close to 10:30pm.

Linus and Henry

Linus was there to greet us and absorb the trip's highlights and I took the opportunity to 'absorb' Henry's SLR photos as well. He belatedly found out that he was featured in my blog about the 2nd day in Endau Rompin and I guess he must have read it when I got an sms later from him declaring himself, King Henry IX a.k.a. Henry the UrTentGonnaGetSoakedByRainAgain. All in good humour I hope :).

God Save the King!

And so ends another trip for this weary adventurer. As I hurtled down the familiar highways back home, I couldn't help missing the warm comfort of my bed with the Sandman as my company. Until next time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Penang Day 1 - Makan Makan and a Test of Patience

"Ngo Kam Yong Sueh meh?"
"Ngo kam Yong Sueh meh?" (In Anglais that means: Do I look so 'sueh'? ;)) I wondered out loud as I drove up the steep winding roads up Bukit Genting in Balik Pulau, smarting from the latest barrage of complaints and insults from another complete stranger.
For a very long time, I had been dreaming of going back to Penang. It has probably been more than 5 years since I have really been there and efforts to arrange for one trip with my family has always been superseded by their own trips to China and Vietnam.

On the Penang Bridge

Therefore when the opportunity for me to organize another Trail Tracker trip dropped on my lap, I chose Penang. :) I mean it should be a breeze organizing the trip with numerous hotels available, lots of attractions (not mention the food) and activities available. No sweat!

KOMTAR tower in Georgetown

Turnout wasn't really as encouraging as I would have thought with only 8 people confirmed to go for the trip (was expecting 16). But then again, perhaps it was a blessing because it isn't really easy to get around driving a car in the claustrophobic roads of Penang. Still don't understand how could anyone 'resist' the lure of Penang food though :p.

Penang Chee Cheong Fun, who on Earth could resist it?

Beef Ball Soup at Lorong Baru

The 'lucky' 8 comprise of mostly the usual suspects: Audrey, Ai Ling, Dennis, Henry, Kam Keong, Wen Chieh, Valerie and myself. Kam Keong is new, or rather new to the group. He is actually my senior from my university days joining us to perhaps take a break from the mundane monotony of daily (domesticated) life ;). We also had a 'penumpang', Selina, whose hometown is in Penang and hearing that we are making a trip there, chose to hitch a ride in our cars.
The journey was supposed to start at 5:30am, after all participants gathered at the Trail Tracker's HQ. However we were somewhat delayed because someone forgot to set the alarm to wake up on time. :) But to that person's credit, a phone call was all it takes before that person rushed over to the meeting place so that the we all can commence the trip at 6:30am.

Meeting up at Trail Trackers HQ

As we left Klang valley, we rendezvoused with another car at the Behrang stop, this group comprising of 5 young people whom Wen Chieh is acquainted with. Apparently I was told they wanted to follow our train of cars into Georgetown because they were unfamiliar with Penang roads. I was like "hey, the more the merrier" and we all gladly accepted them into the fold. ;)

Foh San Dim Sum Restaurant in Ipoh

Our first stop was Foh San Dim Sum Restaurant in Ipoh. After travelling for 2 hours without having breakfast, we were hungry. However, getting a place in this famous dim sum hangout is a very difficult proposition indeed as it was packed to the brim! Not that this was totally unexpected though. We did eventually get our tables but due to the first table being a little bit smaller for all 13 of us to fit in, our group split into two, one table almost completely composing of the fairer sex while the other, the guys.

Wen Chieh's friends (and the fairer sex ;) meow)

The guys...

More guys... :)

The food itself there isn't really GREAT. Personally, I have had BETTER dim sum in Sri Petaling or Klang than these offered at the supposedly 'famous' restaurant. Still, I really wonder why are there sooooo many people? Is it because they are like us? First timers just wanting to have the 'honor' of being some of the already many many people eating this dim sum (and realizing that it is just so plain, make a comment and not come again? ;))? Are there always this many 'first timers'?

Foh San's Dim Sum. Is it THAT good?

Of course a visit to Ipoh wouldn't be complete without a taste of 'Ipoh White Coffee'. We all went over to 'Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong' for a round before continuing our trip to Penang at about 10:30am.

For the sake of a cuppa

At Trail Trackers it is a sometimes advantageous to have certain 'unique' skills... ;) Dennis can open cans with his teeth... Ai Ling can er... I leave it to your imagination...

Two hours, a number of stops at the rest areas, a speed trap and some calls later, Dennis, Audrey, Valerie, Selina, myself and the 5 young companions were at Pongsu rest area waiting for Kam Keong's car, bearing Ai Ling, Henry and Wen Chieh to catch up. It appeared that their car engine is badly overheating to the point that they had to stop at the side of the road, let it cool down before continuing to meet us where more water have to be added to bring the temperature down reasonably for us to continue on.
Selina offered to transfer over to Kam Keong's car while Ai Ling switched over to mine. The plan was made for my car and Wen Chieh's friends to continue to Penang and check into the hotel while Kam Keong and gang go to Seberang Perai to have their car inspected. Selina was transfered over because she knew a mechanic in Seberang Perai who happens to be her uncle.

Selina and Valerie at the rest area

We finally reached the Hotel Malaysia ( at about 1:30pm. Located close to the center of town and costing RM138/night for a deluxe room that could accommadate four, it is quite a good deal. However, as with most budget hotels, all the other 'fringe' benefits comes with a price. For one, internet and the mineral water in your room fridge ain't free, costing RM11.50/day and RM3.95/bottle respectively. They offer complimentary breakfast but hey, who wants to have continental breakfast in Penang when you have all that wonderful hawker food outside? ;) Wen Chieh's friends checked in at the more slightly upmarket Cititel hotel located only a stone's throw from ours.

Home away from home, Hotel Malaysia

Irresistably comfortable looking beds

And speaking of 'wonderful' food, we all filed out into the baking hot Penang streets, GPS guiding our way to the 'famous' Lorong Selamat Char Kuey Teow as soon as Kam Keong and his cohorts arrived at the hotel.
It took us more than half an hour to find the place however, as the GPS led us on a wild goose chase down narrow alleys and lonely roads. In reality, the place was just a walk down Penang Road, turning into Macalister road and onto Lorong Selamat. Instead, we sort of zig zagged our way there, the blazing sun not helping our endeavours.

Navigation by GPS, a boon or a bane?

We arrived at the 'famous' sisters/daughters/aunties Lorong Selamat Char Kuey Teow shop bathed in sweat. It was packed with people. "RM8.00 for a plate?!" my mind screamed out as my eyes wandered onto the board announcing the prices for their fares. I guess this is one of those places which the famously thrifty Penangites won't go but rather a place cleverly prepared to rip off gullable tourists instead. That is AFTER you tasted and paid for the food of course, because I ended up not having any.

Char Kuey Teow for tourists, RM8.00/plate anyone?

Now this is a clear case on how the world would function WITHOUT engineers because the ordering system is completely inadaptable and chaotic. Rather than recognizing the customer and assigning the number of plates to him/her (like everywhere else, duh!), these people run by getting your table numbers first, at their stall. Seems ok until you find that because of the crowded tables, some of us have to share one and later move to another when there is an available table. The problem is further compounded when the person taking the orders decides to take the initiative to summarize the table orders, adding and deleting the number of plates to reflect what THEY think the orders should be. :p
Thus, when one aunty came over and handed over three plates to my pals who have previously pre-ordered, she became totally confused when I told her that she still had to deliver a further five more plates to a table she sees as already having 4 people. :p Confusing, because the 4 other people are sitting at another table after moving from yet another.
This 'teng suah ah chim' threw into a fit and complained loudly to everyone in the shop how I apparently sent her mind spinning. Not that one fit is enough, I had to endure numerous hokkien inspired fits until something snapped inside me and I told her, that's it, I ain't having any of your 'rip off' char kuey teow. Perhaps the lady was surprised that someone has refused to eat her 'char kuey teow' in a long time, because she came back again just shortly after I said 'no' to ask me again whether I still want to eat her EXPENSIVE kueh teow again. :p
With only 50% of our members having a bite of the EXPENSIVE kueh teow and the others still hungry, we headed back to Macalister road to find Sin Yin Nam cafe along Lorong Baru. Now this is a PROVEN spot where my family has gone over and over again through the ages for our fill of Penang food. With the majority of stalls opening at night, this place has many hawker stalls lining the road offering a variety of fares like loh bak, char kuey teow, chee cheong fan, kueh teow th'ng, batu maung satay and much much more at definately more reasonably 'acceptable' prices. Most popular of the shops is the stall selling pig intestine porridge which my mother absolutely loves accompanied with cubes of coagulated blood. :p

The alternative...

Famous Penang Pig Intestine Porridge. Too bad I don't go for 'spare parts'

We had our fill, I taking in my first round of chee cheong fun with some 'o chian'. Then it's off for Penang road's famous cendol!
It's really not hard to find actually, the store located on Penang Road at Lebuh Keng Kwee and surrounded by hordes of eager customers. For a change, the tauke wasn't that arrogant and he kindly ushered us into a nearby shop provided specifically for his customers to savour his bowl of cendol located a short walk down the alley. Pictures of celebreties having a taste of his cendol plastered the walls, among them Phua Choo Kang and the current Chief Minister of Penang (with power) Lim Guan Eng. ;)

Cendol on Lebuh Keng Kwee

Two happy cendol customers

With our bellies full, we took a slow walk back to the hotel, taking a well needed shower and some rest while we waited for Sany, a Trail Tracker friend we had met during the Ulu Slim white water rafting trip almost a year ago.

I actually had planned to visit Gurney Drive for dinner but Sany, being the resident Penang 'expert' suggested to take us somewhere where we can get 'good' food while at the same time enjoy the view of the setting sun. Sounds like Gurney drive to me. :)

Sany Boy Ah Laut (really that's his REAL name!)

So, as we turned into the highway leading us pass Intel in Bayan Lepas, I was beginning to scratch my head as to where on Earth is he planning to take us!
It turns out that he was taking us to this place called Bukit Genting somewhere near Balik Pulau where a Thai restaurant is perched atop a summit overlooking the straits of Malacca which the legends say is a great place to view the setting sun. :)

The entrance to Bukit Genting

Like looking for El Dorado however, getting to this virtual 'Shang ri-la' requires you to wind through treacherous bends, a steep uphill climb and hostile 'natives'. :p The encounter with the hostile native occured as we are partially up the hill when Sany in his 4 wheel drive proposed that I leave my car at this supposedly innocent looking roadside vehicle shed and hop into his ride.
Getting into Sany's 4x4 BEFORE the ambush
Little did I know that I had walked into an ambush when this old geezer suddenly popped out of nowhere (or more like the house opposite) and started screaming and shouting at me for parking at a spot that supposedly prevented his lorry from reversing out. Looking around to see only one tiny lorry in a small wooden shed with plenty of space for it to manuevuer, I was initially greatly confused at how much deeper into the grass overgrown patch of ground I had to drive into before he was satisfied. Apparently not enough because when I got out from the car after reluctantly moving in a little bit and refusing to delve into the possible rock strewn overgrowth, the man started screaming again ending his list of tirades with a 'BODOH'! :p
By now I was numb. This is the second time in a day that I was 'bombed' for no apparent reason. It is really not turning out to be my day. Therefore under the bewildered glares of my travelling companions who have now comfortably seated themselves in Sany's 4 wheel drive, I got back into my car, placed by faith in the engineering prowess of my Vios designers and made the very conscious decision to drive it up to the summit of the hill, 4x4 be damned! :p
It turned out to be no sweat for my car as it negotiated the steep slopes without complaint, leaving the green eyed monster to dote over his lorry 'depot' and wait for the next unsuspecting traveller to splil all his pent up frustrations at not passing his SPM (probably even his SRP) ages before. :p
The view at the top of the hill was truly splendid, as Sany promised. :p The sun was about to set when we sat down at our table perched by the cliff edge, bathing the sea beyond with shades of ruby red and fiery orange. Giant low flying cumulous clouds added to the magical effect, casting their shadows over the rolling waves. And then it's gone and we are all enshrouded in the dim glow of generator lights.

Sunset from Bukit Genting

Clouds in the sky

As for the food itself, maybe it was the beer I used to wash the food down, maybe it was that unexpected hammering I got on the way up or maybe I was just simply too stuffed to handle more food, because I ended up not even finishing my one plate of rice. Admitedly, the food was also a little bit too spicy for my stomach already conditioned for less fiery Penang food.

Valerie, myself and one bored Ai Ling... ;)


Dinner over with, we now went over to Batu Ferringhi beach to check up the roadside market, preceded by a harrowing drive along the darkened, lonely, narrow roads of Penang's hinterlands. We didn't buy anything here but settled for a few drinks by the beach instead.
Strolling down Batu Ferringhi
By 11:00pm, we were all exhausted but it was the threatening rain that convinced us that it was time to return to the hotel. Sany brought half of us straight back while I took a detour to Gurney drive for Dennis to fulfill his Penang wish list: getting his share of fried 'chicken skin' (and it's nether regions).

Gurney Drive in the rain

A little bit pass midnight and it is finally time for me to switch my CPU (laptop AND brain) off and sleep, a chorus of snores my lullaby for the night.