Thursday, October 18, 2007

Journey to the Far Side of the Island

"The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see."

Gilbert K. Chesterton, early 20th century English writer

There's 14 pictures in this whole phlog1 post so get your affairs in order now because you're gonna die waiting, biatches.

Early morning of Day 4 of the Great Penang Road Trip.

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A dog and its prints on a small stretch of beach in front the Tropical Spice Garden

On the fourth day of our road trip, we felt decidedly adventurous and blazed onto the road leading to the other side of Penang. The first attraction en route was the Tropical Spice Garden located somewhere between the provinces of Batu Ferringhi and Teluk Bahang. Seeing that the joint weren't open yet (plus the admission fee was a real early morning kicker), we decided to pass it by and trucked on. Paying so much to see an ornamental garden is just stupid. Paying so much and having to wait for it to open would practically make us retards.

Next stop on the list was a Batik Mill where were treated to a free guided tour by one of the kebaya-clad cicerones working for the establishment. The keyword here is 'free'. If you're in Penang, and for some inconceivable reason, you are suddenly overcame by this strange desire to find out how batik cloth is really made, this is the place you should head to.

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Drawing with hot wax using a "canting". You can see a bit of our cicerone on the right edge of this picture.

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Painting of specialised designs.

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Some dude printing batik using the stamp method for repeating patterns. I gotta ask; why the fuck is he wearing a tie-dyed shirt?

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Cottage industry in progress.

The tour concluded with our guide bringing us into the shop section of the mill and asked us to look around for anything we might like. While we browse, she stood some distance away giving us a look that said, "You got a free tour, now you owe us and you must buy something extravagantly overpriced from us." Of course, we being both Chinese and Malaysian, sniffed audibly at the substandard quality of their wares and discreetly sidled out of the store, mumbling all the way that it was *wink wink* high time for us to start our journey to Kelantan, where *nudge* better batik is produced.

We continued our south-easterly drive, passing many attractions such as the War Museum (
It was too beautiful a day to be cooped up in a repository of semi-primitive weapons of mass destruction), the Butterfly Farm (we have all been in one before) and some forest reserve (On Penang? No thank you). What we really wanted to do is to find the Tropical Fruit Farm, buy some nutmeg and nutmeg oil - which Penang is justly famous for - and be on our way out of the island. After driving about 15 minutes on a ultra-narrow, super-winding hillside road, we decided to call it quits. I made the most harrowing U-turn of my driving career and started backtracking along our trail...

...till we met a tourist van filled with Caucasian tourists we saw at the Batik Mill zipping past us.

"Tourists heading that way wor. That means that there's something there that is worth seeing, right?" I asked. "Shall we?"

A unanimous decision was quickly reached and I made the second most harrowing U-turn of my driving career. Why didn't I think of following a tour group before? Pure genius. Nutmeg is indeed the mother of improvisation.

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Some really out-of-the-way tourist trap.

The tour van did not reach the Tropical Fruit Farm unfortunately, but it did the next best thing; it stopped at a local fruits stall. And yes, we got our nutmegs and nutmeg oil!

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Some dog at the fruits stall.

You're reading my blog so you got to bear with some of my quirks. I must insist on photographing every cat, dog, pig, horse, mudskipper and nine-banded armadillo I see on my trips. I'm a zoological-inclined, obsessive-compulsive, serial photographer - it says here on my hospital wrist band.

And here's the farthest point we've reached on the western side of the island;

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Air Terjun Titi Kerawang - just a bit further down the road from the fruits stall.

On our way back, we stopped by the Teluk Bahang Dam;

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The Penang International Dragon Boat Festival is held annually here since 2002. I nearly dislocated my shoulder having a stone-chucking competition with Inn Shan, but my throws didn't even reach the water. The embankment is waaay broader than it looks here in this picture, okay.

My previous desktop wallpaper is a pinup of a butt-naked girl who has the most perfect ass I have ever seen in my life. As unbeliveable as it may sound to you, I finally got tired of it (after 6 months) and got it replaced. Here's my new wallpaper;

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Late morning at the Batu Ferringhi beach.

Back when I was in the Second Form, I remember that a teacher - a pervert of a Kemahiran Hidup mentor - once told the class that if we ever want to see nude westerners sunbathe and skinny-dip, we should go to Batu Ferrhingi. My guess is that we were just too early.

This proves once and for all that early birds get no tits.

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The Ship steakhouse in Penang at Batu Ferringhi. Now you can dine without worrying about tsunamis.

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No caption needed.

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A floating mosque.

Our Masjid Selat Melaka on the reclaimed Pulau Melaka is way cooler and more picturesque than Penang's - and I have the pictures to prove it. Remind me to do a post covering that some other time, okay? Meanwhile, here's a sneak preview;

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An awesomer floating mosque.

Sorry that I couldn't spend more time writing this post properly with the usual loving attention to details that I employed in writing most of my previous posts. Truth is, I've vowed to spend more time on my books during the weekdays. Medical school is no pretty walk in the park with flowers edging the pebble lane, you know. Medicine are serious business, and I are serious man.

See you in the weekend, yo.

The island trailblazer,
k0k s3n w4i

Other posts in my Great Penang Road Trip series:

1 Phlog means Photo Blog. It rhymes with 'flog' because it's causes you about the same amount of pain if you read one. This being a travephlog makes it three times as unbearable.


calvin said...

You had gave up way too early. The Tropical Fruit Farm is in fact just after the dam, about 20 minutes drive ahead.

By the way, that guy (that dude as you call him) is still there painting the batik. I saw him when I was there last year.

bevE said...

that is the longest comment encouraging introduction i have ever seen. >_>

i only like two pics - one is the dam, and the other is the first beach pic, with all the clouds behind. it was basically the clouds i liked. =3

and those who dont comment might not even see ur comment intro because they dont comment =d

gaL said...

OMG>>> u went to all the nice places. i shud have followed. :/ tgh holiday now, but i dunno how to spend it wisely.

ps: what's with the disclaimer? buat aku takut... *comment part*

bevE said...

ya la.


Jen said...

so long as its an interesting (and flea-bitten) cat, dog, pig, horse, mudskipper and nine-banded armadillo, its ok =D

i remember that beach! and that shop! and the floating mosque which apparently isnt a patch on the malaccan one!

and yes, i noticed the lack of a more detailed narrative than usual. sigh.. what will i do now to kickstart my brain in the morning huh? actually wake up? hmph..

jayjayne said...

Considering myself as a first-timer n00blet to this site, I'll do the spazztastic introduction: Jayne, Female, 20 - lives in the Great Downunder (Australia) in the humble city of Brisbane. I'm an ABC (technically - my oldies are Malaysian/Chinese), a gamer nerd, in my final year of Medical Science.

Other than that - I went to Penang approximately 3 years ago. Hot damn, it looks grope-worthy in your pictures. When I went it was a fest-pit of dust and stray dogs (of which I epic-ly failed to shamelessly photowhore). Photographic moments lost to my morpid fear of stray dogs! Oh the trauma.

:P Love the way you type with a pinch of satiristic flair - adds +3 to my internet-enjoyment stat.

minwi said...

Comment had been moved HERE because it contained spoilers to a book.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Ah, I made the mistake of assuming that my map was scaled correctly. Then again, we weren't really interested in the fruit farm anyway. It's the nutmeg we wanted and we got it :D
That "dude" needs to attend some night classes and start moving up in life.

I ALWAYS use more words than necessary to say anything, hmph. And it's not to encourage comments. I just like customizing my blog =d
Penang is well known for their nice sky and clouds. The Temple of the Azure Cloud (AKA Snake Temple) was so named because of the pleasant Penang sky.

Our trip was mostly ad libbed. We just discuss in our hostel room every night to narrow down which places we want to visit. The only real prep we did was turfing out the best food places.
The disclaimer is just a bit of harmless fun. It's not meant to be scary :(

I think the dog was interesting, hmph.
You guys stayed in a hotel in front of the Batu Ferrighi beach right? I expect that there's no way you could have miss those on the way to Georgetown.
You read my blog in the morning? o_0

ABC is American Born Chinese right? Sorry, but I seem to have misplaced my Oxford's Dictionary of Acronyms. And thanks for bothering to intro urself! Most people think I'm psychic.
Well, it was too bad you didn't enjoy your experience there all that much :p ... tho' you made me feel a lot better about mine xD (not that I need to)
I dig your writing style too, jayjayne. I'll be dropping by your blog regularly from now on.

Your reply is HERE