Saturday, April 2, 2011

Reflections of Malaysia - March 2011

Now that we have returned to Australia from our 24 day holiday I would like to post some photographs to reflect some memorable events. But first I would like to explain some impressions as observed by Anne and Neil. I have already stated that the Malay people are one of the most friendly people on earth and we were luckily invited by local people who gave us their sincere hospitality. I cannot thank enough of Shirley Ong, Emmerline, Bee Bee, Tenny and Jenny who welcomed us and shared their enjoyment of guiding and allowing us to visit their venues. Our amah of the 1980's gave us a Malaysian dinner when we visit them one hot afternoon on Penang. Outside our circle of friends there were almost no altercations with the local people only for a couple of minor incidences when KL taxi drivers try to rip us of with inflated fares.

The worst of Malaysia is the heat. At this time of the year the monsoon season was starting to kick in and was felt by many of us. It is an energy draining heat making all perspire even when sitting down. Some couldn't acclimatise during our entire holiday. The food, to most, is one of the best in the world. It has been documented and televised on many occassions that Penang is the food capital of the world. Undeniably we enjoyed the many varieties of dishes that Hokkien, Nyonya, Indian and Malay cuisine can offer. As for drinks one couldn't go past a glass of fresh lime juice or guava or watermelon or carrot juices. We even enjoyed a mixture of Western and local food buffet at one of Penang's famous hotels - the E&O. As for transport it is cheap and the condition of the road are excellent in most places however the Malaysian drivers remain aggresive and need to take stock of the increasing demand for road vehicles. As stated there were 200,000 new cars registered in 2010. This roads are choked and there are little or no police patrols on all expressways or outstationed roads. I believe the recruitment of new police is a major concern for Malaysia.

I did see some poverty in Malaysia, nevertheless, this has improved since the 1980's. I see that Sydney has more beggers than KL - in fact just walk along Hyde Park, The Domain and any of the streets that surround Central and Redfern Railway Stations, especially at night and one could see the worst side of Sydney.

As for our holiday it was great and we will visit the country again in the future. The exchange rate was the best since the early 1970's. Shop sales was one of the best enjoyment for the women folk and the plazas that abound in the major cities is amazing.

This is a priceless capture - Myrtle enduring fish therapy along Jalan Bukit Bintang Kuala Lumpur. The fish are cleaning the dead skin from Myrtle's feet.

Breakfast at Sri Ananda Bawang, Tanjong Bungah Penang. Note the carrot juices and rotis. Many meals were enjoyed here located just a few hundred metres from our Copthorne Hotel.

The entire length of Langkawi's Sky Bridge. Walking along this feature is banned during thunderstorms and strong winds - I wonder why?

Monkeys are everywhere in Malaysia and one could be fined heavily for feeding them. Some are viscious but most will keep their distance from humans whernever possible. When they become aggressive they bare their teeth and make threatening gestures. This photo of a monkey with young was taken by Kay when ascending the steps at Batu Caves

Not so long ago trishaws were the main transport in George Town Penang for locals and tourists. Now they are few in number and focused for the tourists only such as Neil and Tom. Taken outside the Boon Wah material shop Jalan Campbell Penang. Interestingly, the lady folk were inside selecting dress materials by the metres when this was taken on a hot morning.

Genting Highlands near KL is located in the heavens. Almost every day after lunch the mist settles in and obscures the buildings. The temperature drops and the population stay indoors. The colourful buildings in this photo are hotels that cater for patrons who will be attending shows and the only casino in Malaysia.

This is the National Monument in KL. It represents seven nationalities who were involved in the Malaysian Emergency during the period 1950's to 1980's. The soldiers depict an Australian digger, a New Zealand soldier, a British soldier, a Malay soldier, a Chinese soldier (fighting for the British), Fijian soldier and a Singaporean soldier. 

View of KL from the Menara Tower. Note the Klang River flowing throug the centre.

Myrtle loved having her picture taken. This one is titled "Myrtle On The Rocks"

Neil and Anne on top of the Boh Tea plantation hillside, Cameron Highhlands.

An excellent test for all of us to think about!! Located in the Youth Park, Penang

Monday, March 28, 2011

Malaysia - The Last Post

As you have probably already read Heather last post stating that we are now finishing our holiday in KL. Tomorrow we travel to KL International Airport for an overnight stay and then off to AUS on Tuesday. Today five of us travelled to the old city of Malacca and toured the old Portuguese and Dutch remnants. Anne and I have not been to this historic place before however Kay has on one of her cruise trips. It was very hot and humid and walking through the city was extremely uncomfortable. Nevertheless what we experienced made the journey worthwhile.

My reflections of Malaysia and our holiday in a nutshell. As everyone may know that we have lived in Malaysia for nearly six years and visited this country in 1998, 2007 and 2009. What I have seen of Malaysia is a modern society. Malaysians are very friendly, they smile at most people and their hospitality is almost second to none. We as Australians could take some lessons on how their society works and we could perhaps may go back to of how Australian's once lived back in those old days. They respect their elders, try to help those in need and more importantly they work with each other as a team. There is one impediment within their nature which requires some work - they are aggressive drivers on the road - this has not changed over the years we have lived withn them. I heard yesterday that 200.000 new cars were registered in 2010. With that high number no wonder that KL has gridlock problems and traffic snarls are a constant nuisance.

The holiday as a whole, some of the group had some difficulty with the heat. Not saying 32 deg is hot but the humidity does zap the energy out quickly. All ladies had one mission in mind, that is, shop shop and shop. The exchange rate is so good for us and the urge to buy items is so compelling. For those menfolk back in Oz waiting for your ladies just wait until you see overloaded suitcases. For stories of our trip, well just wait until we return.

Before I sign off last night we were contacted by Tenny and Jenny and invited to go to the Lakes Garden in KL's Botanical Gardens.  This is an exclusive club and we met Tenny's cousin Anthony.  A very interesting person we found out. However, what we did was danced. To prove this there are several photos attached to this post. Many thanks to T & J and Anthony for their true Malaysian hospitality.

As this is my last post we all hope that all readers of this blog found our journey interesting. Please continue to place any comments as we would like to reflect on these when we hit our mother soil. Terima Kaseh - Neil

1. The Pavilion - one of the many Plaza's in KL - also has expensive Gucchi shops.

2. Anne and Anthony doing the Jive.

3. Tenny and Heather.

4. Tenny again with Myrtle.

5. Our good hosts - Tenny and Jenny

6. Old Portuguese fort, Malacca

7. Dawn, Anne and Myrtle in Malacca.

8. In Malacca

9. This is the only shop that makes Chinese "bounded" shoes in the world. Women who wear these 3" long shoes need to bound their feet in conjunction with bending and breaking their foot bones to enable their feet to fit into these shoes.

10. The dreaded and smelly durian - now in season across Malaysia. They are banned in hotels and public vehicles.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Back in KL

We are back in KL having some therapy for Myrtle. She has had a period of time where we have all been concerned about her, but you will be pleased to know that she is back to her old self. it has taken no amount of ringets might I add. just keep toping up the credit card Vernon and we will bring her back safely!

I have found a beautiful dress for our 20th anniversary dance but I will need to loose a little more weight so guys, the dance card is back in circulation starting with David Walton. I will have to book a New Vogue Waltz with you to check Narelle and Michael's teaching. I have a few others in mind but can't book Vernon as Myrtle says she will have to keep him home every night for a month to counteract all the UN-truths we have told him about her. things like her snoring etc......I didn't think anyone had mentioned that yet but I may have missed it in the other blog entries!

There are many thngs about this trip that will be revealed over time but for now suffice to say, I do have lots of bribes coming to me and I will call them in if necessary, since I make all my faults public, no one has anything on me. yes I do snore, I have been cranky and I do get the shits......See you all knew all that, that is just the normal Heather.

Kathy, I am not returning to Darcy, I WILL be the Outreach nurse I have decided. I will trot up occasionally and see you but I offered Chris my body amongst other things, which he graciously declined, to get me out of there. So I recon I have a leg in for the position. I did bring two shirts, BOTH the same so that is why I always have the same one on AND I did wash them. trust you to notice, I thought I had got away with it until you pointed it out! I have had a few new pants made over here for work so you had better have a new pair of dacks before I get back next week. I have lost some weight, got new trousers and will be rested so I could end up with the CNC position if I play my cards right!

We will be home late Tuesday night if they let us on the plane as we all have overweight bags from all the food! we had to buy new clothes as we have lost weight! So I will see you all at the dance on Wednesday night. No excuses!!!!!!!

Until then


Genting Highlands 2

Here are some photos of Genting Highlands and Batu Caves. We are in KL now and handed back our trusty steed to the rental people. Thankfully no incidents, scratches or any other unwelcome occurences happened during our rental period. Please appreciate that Malaysian traffic is full of impetuous drivers and crazy bike riders. The ladies seemed to have an insatiable desire to shop, regardless of interesting sites we visit. The exchange rate from Oz money to ringett is extremely good and everything that we face to pay money is cheap. As an example diesel fuel is only 60c AUD a litre. A glass of lime juice is 66c AUD. A taxi ride around KL would not cost more than $5 AUD.

I'll try to have one more post before we leave for Australia - some reflection shots or our trip and possible our forthcoming Malacca visit. Must go now and try to round up the sister sorority before their shopping excursion - again!!! TIC  Neil

The "Sister Sorority" at Batu Caves

Batu Caves

Monkey business at Batu Caves

Looking towards KL from Batu Caves

Inside the caves

Gondola ride inside the Genting Highlands theme park

Elvis's car smash inside the Genting Highlands theme park

More shopping - Genting Highlands

More more more more more more shopping at GHs

Friday, March 25, 2011

Genting Highlands 1

 Hi again Everyone,
thanks for the message Col and Greg. I think you have saved us and Neil will put up some more photos before we get home. We are further down the peninsular today, close to KL. The altitude is amongst the clouds and the air is clear and a little chilly. very beautiful. we did have to go to some more shops for Myrtle this afternoon after we arrived as she was suffering from withdrawals from no shopping. Sorry Vernon! She spent some more money and is feeling much better. We kept her company and I was lucky to find a few more things for Alysha.

This hotel is very nice and as I lie on my bed typing this the birds are singing outside even though it is dark, that is how well they have organized my stay. We returned via some beautiful areas of jungle and saw lots of palm plantations. They have replaced rubber production with palm oil production. Acre a and acres of them. The trucks loaded to overflowing belt along the roads at breakneck speed with no regard for other traffic, cows or the locals. amazingly there seems to be very few accidents.

We return to KL tomorrow and I hope to visit the bird park there to see a few more of the birds from Malaysia. I do have a great List but very few photos as the little buggers will not sit still for me to take their photos or they are too far away and when I sneak up on them they get antsie about it and fly off!

I am looking forward to coming back and seeing you all doing the New Vogue Waltz, plus whatever other little surprises Narelle and Michael have given you. I am sure it was great having a change from old cranky pants!!!

see you soon,

Taman Negara 4

We are in Genting Highlands at this moment and enjoying, again, the cooler climate up in the higher altitude. Many thanks to Col and Greg for placing a comment to our posts. Any news from Oz is very welcome. I have placed some more photos of our Orang Asli (aborigines) visit and experience with this post and a couple of Genting Highlands sites - hope you enjoy. Neil

The boat ride to the Orang Asli village, Taman Negara

Our orang asli blowgun exert - Taman Negara

Heather - teddy bear killer 1

Dawn - teddy bear killer 2

Anne - teddy bear killer 3

Kay - teddy bear killer 4

Myrtle - teddy bear killer 5

Neil - who missed the target altogether

The innocent target.

Inside the Genting Highlands theme park.

In front of our Awana Hotel, Genting Highlands.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Warning From Neil

Neil has asked me tell you all that no comments lately has meant that he will not post any photos until we gat some feedback. This means that you will need to read his previous post about how to put up comments. it is explained within that post and is quite simple.

We are a bit out of touch with most of you as only David Walton and my friend Kathy have left a message for us. It is now almost two and a half weeks that have gone past, that is two Wednesday's and two Saturday night dancing visits to the club. tell us that you miss us or we might have to stay.


Taman Nagara 3

Heather again, Our last day here was quiet to start and then we visited a small settlement of local aborigines. Yes they are called that here also. It consisted of five or seven huts made with one room and a raised verandah. Each hut was roofed with palm leaves, sides made from either tarps, or bark. Inside there was a plethora of rubbish, outside there was rubbish everywhere, and the children looked very bored, poorly fed and one lady was caring a extremely small new born baby. So very sad to see. I was left with the feeling that they were only there as they got income from being on display. They had practices very similar to our aborigines who live in the traditional manner. it was very easy to see that the theory of our aborigines travelled from this area 40,000 years ago does make sence as they do have obvious similarities.

The weather has been nice, not so humid, not so much rain and no mosquitoes to speak of. I have also been very lucky with bird watching. I saw a beautiful bee eater today, two flocks of hornbills flying, a new little bul bul species, and a few other insect eaters that I had not noticed before at the other places. I have a loverly long list of birds that I have been able to identify. Not many lizards though which is a little disappointing.

the flora has also been surprising, so much variation in foliage. the trees do form some of the most beautiful patterns of greens with variation in the shapes and size in leaves. The bamboo is also very interesting in size and shape. it appears is all the forest areas, and is in many areas as decoration.Not many flowers at all.

We are on the last few days and tomorrow morning we go to the Genting Highlands for one night then back to KL before we fly home. We do have to pick up all Myrtles shoes from the shoemaker before we leave and buy three new suitcases to carry them home. by the way Vernon, Myrtle sends a message to say she has a BeeBop for you and that will make up for all the shoes she has bought!!!!!I know that will make it all perfect for you.

Our suitcases are all full, we are tired and waiting to sleep in our own beds so by next Wednesday we will be back ready to dance and get all the weight off that we have gained from all the food that has been eaten!!!!

see you soon,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Taman Negara 2

Hi there. We are in Taman Negara smack in the middle of Malaysia – a hot monsoonal location in the world’s oldest rainforest. The draw card is the Canopy Walk which at 550 metres long is the world’s longest tree top walk. The walk is 40 feet above the jungle floor and the rope system is precariously suspended between several tall trees. It’s scary, hot and an experience to walk. The rain forest below is dark and just standing in one spot make you perspire due to the high humidity. So why did we do it? Because it’s there! Some of us took every step with care and treated the floor like rice paper. Tomorrow we may decide to visit an Orang Asli village nearby. These people are the original people and are also known as aborigines. They use blow guns as weapons and live in “long” houses in the middle of the jungle. As you can see in the photos the river is brown because of the constant silt that comes from the surrounding mountains.

Now I would like to explain Heather’s previous burst regarding Neil’s driving exploits travelling from the Cameron Highlands to Taman Negara. Let me say that the road was extremely good and towards the end of our journey the road surface was pot-holed – difficult to see and unavoidable, nevertheless the end result was not uncomfortable and only Heather’s solitary remark was “If I wanted to be bounced I would do a Jive!” Also for those who would like to know about Dawn’s well being – she has not received the dreaded flu bug and currently healthy.

We are nearing the end of our holiday and all spirits are great. Each of us are now understanding each other’s way of life and more importantly we are still on speaking terms – contrary to some perception back in Oz Land. In fact I believe that all of us treat each other as great friends and will have good stories to tell when we return to Australia.

Our next stop is Genting Highlands, near KL, and only one week to go. Neil

Floating restuarants at Kuala Tahan, Taman Negara

The boat ride to the Canopy Walk

I'm okay! - Myrtle

I'm pretending I like this! - Anne

This is easy! - Dawn

I'm putting on my best smile! - Kay

I'm going to toss that idiot behind me over into the jungle if he rocks the ropes one more time! - Heather

The worst part of the Canopy Walk - the ascent into the trees

Anne in front of the Rain Forest Resort, Taman Negara