Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tourist for a weekend

My oldest son, James, is with me for a holiday at the moment. He’s been living overseas for most of the last few years, so this time with him is very special. We hired Fernandez (friendly and knowledgeable taxi driver) to do ‘the tour’ around the island. It’s a must for every visitor to Penang. I think you could drive around the island comfortably, without stopping, in about 2+ hours. We took 8 hours on Saturday and 6 hours on Sunday!
I won’t fill this post with everywhere we went – just a few places.

The spice farm. This pic doesn’t actually show any spices – they’re not that interesting to photograph. But I liked the variety of mortars and pestles displayed, and you can see some lemon grass and limes and torch ginger in there. We enjoyed the most delicious nutmeg drink here. My knowledge of the uses of nutmeg has grown – it’s delicious candied for a snack too.
We walked in the National Park and are both keen to go back for a day of walking, and visited the batik factory. The Butterfly Farm was delightful, not only for the beautiful butterflies, but also for the lovely flowers growing there (butterfly food), and the insects.

Don’t you love the bright red ‘lipstick’ on this one?

Some flowers - notice the butterflies on the flowers in the lower pic.

And check out the ‘man face’ beetles, looking like faces from a totem pole.
Ahh the tropical fruit farm ... I adore tropical fruits.

I’ve developed a taste for the fairly bland dragon fruit – I love the texture.
But my favourite must be langsats, a fruit that is native to western Malaysia, but one I’ll be trying to grow when I get home. To me it tastes a bit like a lychee only creamier and better.

In this pic you’ll see the langsats are the small ovoid brown fruit on a stem surrounded by bananas. Mangosteens are the larger reddish brown fruit and they, too, are to die for. Also in my fruit bowl you’ll see ripe and unripe mangos and a papaya (pawpaw) beside the bowl. My breakfast these days is a fresh fruit salad with a little orange juice squeezed over it.
We spent some time admiring the beautiful Buddhist temples. Kek Loc Si was begun in 1890 and is one of the largest in Southeast Asia.

You’ll see many classical photos of this beautiful temple and the amazing Buddhas and the huge bronze statue of goddess Kuan Yin, so I thought I’d put up something different - my photo of the dragons on the roof that must surely be to protect the goddess.
Next post will be back to the fantastic food we’re eating, which seems to be the majority of photos I’ve taken!!

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