TRAVEL Malaysia: Exploring Penang Island

I remember feeling so excited when I boarded my plane in Singapore at eight in the evening back in September. I had prepared quite an itinerary and intended to follow it no matter what. I recall thinking to myself after the trip that I was glad I chose Penang Island for my first ever solo out of town trip.

I reached Penang International Airport a little past nine. The airport was okay, it was small, similar to the one in Clark or Naga. It was a little deserted I guess because it was a little late already.

My first purchase was a SIM card pack. If I remember correctly, it costed me 10 MYR and it came with 1GB data, which was more than enough for my 2-day stay as I only needed the mobile data for navigation. It was a good investment, really, as I was able to visit so many attractions without me getting lost.

After buying the SIM card, I went outside the airport and waited for Bus No. 401E which would take me to Weld Quay. I paid only 2.70 MYR for the ride which took me to my destination in 45 minutes.

If you’re not as cheap as I am, you can flag a cab. Grab is also thriving. But if I were you, I’d choose the bus not only because it’s whole lot cheaper but it’s also safe and the seats are comfortable and spacious.

I reached Weld Quay at around 10:15 pm and walked for ten minutes and, voila, there’s my hotel! I’m going to write about my Container Hotel experience on my next blog post.

I went to sleep after taking a shower to prepare for my Day 1 in Penang Island!

I woke up at five in the morning haha Iknowriiight I was so excited and couldn’t wait for the day to start only to find out that it was still dark outside. Not wanting to go back to sleep, I explored the inside of the hotel and found this cozy library on the 2nd floor of the building. Definitely my thing though I dint have the time to explore the books..

Finally, the sun came out at 7 am but first things first.. I saw this street art just across the hotel and you know what happened next. I remember it was drizzling that morning but it didn’t dampen my spirit. I can’t recall why I was laughing in this photo but I know for sure that I was happy and contented though very much alone. Alone but happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

After the nth shot, the drizzle stopped and I took off to Weld Quay and boarded the CAT bus.

This is a free hop on shuttle bus which takes you to 19 points of interests within the city. It weaves thru the heritage site and to the Komtar commercial district.

After exploring Komtar and taking photos of the Hindu temples and Times Square, I waited for the Penang Hop On Hop Off double decker bus at Stop 6.

I will write about my HOHO experience on one of my next blogs.

I reached Stop # 13 Kelawei in 30 minutes. I chose this as my first stop because of the temples. There are two attractions in Kelawei– the Burmese Buddhist Temple and Wat Chaiyamangalaram (Thai Buddhist Temple).

Both had enormous Buddha statues inside their main temples, one was standing, the other reclined.

Here are the photos I took of the Burmese Temple.

I thought the lady looked so elegant so I took her photo with the enormous Buddha.

The Thai temple was so much bigger. I think there were like three temples inside the complex.

Not to be outdone, the temple’s got it’s own version of a ginormous Buddha– and a reclining one at that!

Please bear with me as I am in the temple-hopping stage at this point in my life. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Next stop was Kek Lok Si. It’s this huge temple complex perched on top of a hill and is said to be the largest Buddhist temple in all of Malaysia.

Rows and rows of buddhas around the temple..

Turtle pond at the base of the temple..

After Kek Lok Si, I skipped the rest of the stops on the city route and moved on to the beach route. When switching to the beach route, one will need to drop at the intersecting stop in Gurney Drive. From Gurney Drive, I asked to be dropped off at Holiday Inn to visit Batu Ferringhi beach. From there, I had to ask a local on how to get to the beach without passing through the luxury hotels.

Batu Ferringhi is charming in its own way. It’s not as lovely as the white sand beaches that we got here in the Philippines well firstly because the sand wasn’t white. It would be fairer to compare it to Laiya beach in Batangas.

But like all other beaches, the view was great and there were all sorts of water activities such as jet skiing and parasailing. I would’ve had a go but I brought no spare clothes and I also thought it’d be a little awkward if I went parasailing alone.

So I whiled away my time under a tree near the beach and found company on this cute little fellow.

I know he looks annoyed on the photos but isn’t he a cutie? ๐Ÿ˜ I remember feeling so lonely but Mr. Grey made me forget about my loneliness. Yep, he’s the legit Mr. Grey (not that psycho in the movies haha) This kitty is the reason why I missed the 5pm HOHO bus and it was worth it. He was like any other kitty, he purred a lot when I stroked his neck and chain. He also kept on rubbing his soft body against mine. How I badly wanted to take him back home with me ๐Ÿ˜ข.

Every time I look at these photos, I feel a pang of pain huhu I badly miss him! (I know right, crazy cat lady alert ๐Ÿšจ )

I will surely visit Batu Ferringhi again in the near future and I’d be sure to give Mr. Grey more than just a pat. Yes, I’ma hug him like crazy!

I almost didn’t want to say goodbye but it was time for me to leave to catch the 5pm bus so I had to let Mr. Grey go with a heavy heart. ๐Ÿ˜ญ

I headed back to the direction of the road only to watch the HOHO bus pass me by. On my way to the bus stop, I saw these tiny monkeys walking/clinging on the cables. It was such a wow moment. I mean, how often do you get to see stray monkeys on inhabited places? The one which crossed the road thru the cable even stared me in the eye probably realizing that I was lurking.๐Ÿ™Š

The next bus won’t be until 6pm so I decided to walk a little farther to kill time until I reached the next stop, Hard Rock hotel.

I discovered that there was a nearby dirt road leading to the beach so I decided to check it out and I’m glad I did because I got to ride on a horse by the beach! Just my luck! Haha.

The owner of this horse told me that his horse liked me because he was nuzzling me on my neck! I bet that’s how the horse gets to convince tourists like me to ride his back! Kidding!

Here’s the view I got while riding on the horse:

I wished I didn’t have to leave sooner but I also couldn’t wait to reach my next destination before nightfall. You’ll see why on the next photos.

So from Hard Rock, I asked to be dropped at Straits Quay. From there, I walked for about 15 minutes and stopped by this place where streetfood were sold and I meet these two lovely Amirah’s! I forgot the name of the third girl, silly me.

They fed me an assortment of goodies, i forgot what they were called but they’re really good!

Afterwards, I had to bid them farewell and headed on to my next stop– the Penang Secret Avatar Garden! Before I got to see the garden, I had to pass by the Thai Pak Koong temple. Near the temple was a topiary garden. There were also lots of animal stone sculptures surrounding the topiaries.

This was past seven in the evening and it was nearing sunset so I rushed to the shore and was just in time to capture this moment!

And what better way to cap off all of my adventures for the day than to behold the beauty of the Avatar Garden!

So that’s how I spent my Day One at Penang Island! Day Two was exploring the heritage site in George Town, which I wrote about on my previous blog post.

I will talk about my Container Hotel Penang experience on the next blog. Ciao!

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My Thoughts Exactly

Most people who meet me for the first time would assume that I am one of the dopest, friendliest, goofiest thing they have ever seen. Nope, that is the stuff of fiction.

I am not a sociable person. I mean, since when did cat people ever become outgoing and sociable? Except Taylor Swift, perhaps. She needs to be because of the nature of her business. The girl is not a pop star, she’s a bloody businesswoman who seems to have worked out all the kinks ( of her hair and) of the music industry.

  

Enough of Tay-tay. I have stopped stalking her both in social media and Google search. I am just tired of her entrepreneurial voracity and insatiable thirst for distinction, really. And I am stark mad that she didn’t include me in her girl squad. (You know I am kidding, right?)

So what I know about sociable people is that they are like Taylor Swift who likes to be friends with and well-liked by everyone, except that they might not like cats. (Hah. That is the last time I will talk about her, my apologies. It’s hard to get over someone I used to love.) Also, sociable people like to meet lots of people. Obviously. (They might also prefer dogs over cats.) I think they like to build their connections and have these ultra self-empowering goals, which I don’t want to find out because it’s none of my business. Or maybe they are born to be Mr and Ms Congeniality’s. Like when they were barely a year old, they smiled at the camera, at dogs and even at that suspicious brown mound on the ground that looks like cat turd. No, I am not kidding. It’s fun to be with this group of people.๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป

I don’t like large crowds and the Barbie and Ken dolls of the world. (Read: superficial.) I choose my friends (and I like to think they chose me, as well). I choose people who I perceive to be smart and real. I like folks who don’t need everyone’s validation and I don’t like people who don’t choose sides. Yep, I don’t like the Swiss. (Except Toblerone, of course. Everybody loves them.) You gotta choose, buddy. So, are you a cat, or a dog person? ๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿผ

I like being around a small circle of friends. But there are times when I like to keep to myself and, even when I am with them, I like to wander inside my thoughts, thinking that I am somewhere else doing something else. Most of the time, I imagine sitting on a rocking chair, reading a nice book, with a cat on my lap. Yep, I know it’s so Alessia Cara singing ‘Here’. 

  

(Ooops that’s not Alessia. And I’ll pass on that headdress.)

If you think I am being arrogant just by writing all of these, be reminded that you can exit my site anytime, sweetie.

Of course, there were those times when I wished I was different. Don’t we all? I wished I was friendlier, funnier, easier to be with, less complicated and more free-spirited. But I like to think that I have come to terms with my individuality and that’s something because I don’t need to try hard. Really, the easiest thing ever, is to be yourself, to let others see the real you because it’s so hard to pretend. No hesitations, no holds barred, heck, no make-up or designer clothes. And no Camera360.

The first time I meet people, some seem to want to be friends with me (or am I just assuming things here? Please enlighten me) maybe because I am being funny when I talk about real stuff however bland or skin deep. Perhaps they would assume that I am bluffing or whatever and so a few weeks or days or months after, they would begin to think that I am bloody serious. A few would like me even more once they get to know me but most just wouldn’t know how to deal with this five foot zero inch shit and so they would walk away and this little shit wouldn’t care because that’s none of it’s business.

I like real talk. Man, I am plain honest and straightforward, sometimes you will think that I am sugarcoating my words or sometimes, I am dissing you straight in the face because that’s how I roll. Okay, sometimes I do filter my words just a wee bit the way I use a few photo filters to play with the light on my photos but I would tell you exactly what I need you to understand the way I would show you the zits and blemishes on my face because that’s how I roll. I believe in speaking out to make a difference to the world (yep, the world) so don’t be bloody sensitive when I speak the truth and I know it hurts the most but let’s just get real and get it over with.

Okay. You can stop right there and let’s breath real deep together.

  
One of my work counsellors told me that I am one of the realest, bravest and strongest people she knew and she said that was good because I knew what I wanted. My principles are intact, which means that I am hard to be influenced by other people who are on the other side of my fence. She said these are the makings of a good leader.

She didn’t tell me about the other side of the pancake, though. You know, the burnt one. I know that she knows that I already know. I know I can be complicated sometimes or perhaps, most of the time. I can break things up before you can say sushi. If you know what I mean. This other side might stop me from getting what I want, or even deserve. It might not get me up through the corporate ladder, might not get me the likes and hearts in social media. But you know what? I don’t need those types of validation from others who don’t matter much in my life. No one shouldn’t.

But we have our differences and while I think that no one shouldn’t want, shouldn’t work so fcuknig hard, shouldn’t be so fcuknig desperate to receive other’s validation and acceptance, some people just don’t think the way I do and it doesn’t mean that I am right and they are wrong. It could be the other way around and, who knows, both.


*First photo is not mine, I just found it in Tumblr. Whoever owns it, please let me know so I can give proper credits.

The second one was taken from http://www.spin.com/2015/08/alessia-cara-here-vevo-dscvr-watch/

The third one is my son’s photo. Lol. Texts on photos are mine.

Cat Ladies are Not Crazy

I don’t mind getting pigeonholed into the crazy cat lady stereotype. So what if people are not amused with my cat stories and my cats. These furry felines are pretty cute, much cuter than most people I know anyway so that fact alone should suffice.

So, when exactly do you call a lady a cat lady?
I asked Herson and he said, a cat lady is a spinster who takes care of a cat/cats (not necessarily a cat hoarder) the way she would treat her own child.

I am not a spinster. Too young for that. I call my cats my babies though..

Wikipedia.com says a cat lady is a single woman who owns many pet cats. It also states that cat ladies have been associated with “romance-challenged (often career-oriented) women”.

I have Herson and the two kittens. I am not even career-oriented.

  
On the street where I live, there’s this lady who feeds all of the cats in the neighborhood. I see her do this at dusk or early in the evening, when I am on my way to work (I work nights). She looks old, perhaps in her 70’s or 80’s, wears long dresses that reach past the ankles. She beckons the cats, “Miyaw,” with her baritone voice and feeds them out of a plastic bag full of cat food that she carries on her right hand.

That, I believe, is the very definition of a cat lady. I wouldn’t be surprised if I learn that she has dozens of cats in her home.

According to Wikipedia, a cat lady may also be an animal hoarder who keeps a large number of cats without having the ability to properly house or care for them.

I only have two cats, two adorable white felines with black spots on their back. I post photos of them on my Facebook and Instagram every now and then.. Okaaaay, I sometimes post like five photos/videos a day, no, not everyday. I ask Herson if he thinks I am posting too much. He says no at first with that knowing smile on his face so I ask him again and he says yes, you post quite a lot, while assuring me that no I don’t have to stop posting just because. Does that make me a cat lady? I don’t know. He says no but I am not quite convinced. Oh, well, it’s not the worst thing in the world, what with wars going on in the Middle East and hunger and terrorism and the refugee situation in Europe and singlehood in your late 20’s and China bullying its way into my country’s disputed islands. No, it’s not the worst. And I really don’t mind.

There’s only one instance (I think) that pretty much suggests that I am a cat lady. It was when I thought of buying a car for the sole purpose of bringing my cats with me during travel, so that they won’t be left on their own. They matter that much. ๐Ÿ˜น

But please I am not a cat lady. Not yet anyway. I would never put my cats ahead of my family. I may humanize them from time to time, feed them fancy cat food and peach-mango pie, but they still are these furry, selfish creatures who don’t really give a shit about everything that’s going on with the world as long as they get enough feedings in one day. As long as they have someplace comfortable to sleep. As long as they have their humans to pet them whenever they want to. And I really don’t mind. I can be selfish too and I sure love burying my nose on my cat’s soft, warm belly whenever I want to. It’s worth the trouble of hand-scooping their poo (with a plastic bag, of course) from the litter box. Worth the abandoned fancy scratching post, the money spent on fancy cat food and litter. Worth the ruined clothes or shoes or books and cardboard boxes and broken coffee mugs.

One thing I learned about being a hands-on cat owner is that, although mostly independent, cats don’t want to shit on their litter boxes until you clean after their last dump. No kidding. It is also true that cats nearing adulthood become very picky with food, become lazy and take more naps and cuddles.

While I am writing this in bed, my Panda walks (that mega slow walk) towards me and squeezed himself between me and Herson, purring loudly like an old fridge: a clear indication that he is hungry. He starts nibbling on my little finger and rubbing his cheek on my hand. I stroke his head, his back, his spine, his fluffy fur. I touch his delicate belly and feel his heart beating. He continues to purr. This.

You know what, I really don’t mind being called a cat lady at all.

LOVE

I like the sound of raindrops outside the window, pattering on the roof. I like the cold. On days like this, I like to think that I am one of those people who think that their sole purpose in life is to find that one person, their soulmate, their one and only, their better half..
I like hearing the purr of my cat, itsโ€™ soft and warm body against my left rib cage. Outside, itโ€™s cold, the floor is cold. The cat– he likes being cuddled when itโ€™s cold. And on days like these, I donโ€™t like to sleep alone, because who does?
I like your arm circling my waist. I like the sound of your breath when you are asleep. I like the feel of your breath against my nape. I turn around and kiss your lips and you are asleep.
No matter how much I have wanted to eliminate the idea that I am a hopeless romantic, I must admit that a couple of genes are stamped with that label. Yes, I have wrote about that before, and I will write about it again. I am a hopeless romantic. I donโ€™t believe in fairy tales anymore but this I am certain of– I believe in love. Of course I do. Thatโ€™s why I am in love with you.
This is what I have always imagined my life would be– lying in bed with my cat and the man I love..