Saturday, November 5, 2011

Nostalgic Penang - Day 4

(This post was published 3 1/2 years late)

Saturday, 29 March 2008

While I was in studying at USM, I seldom went out. The fear of getting lost was too overpowering. I hardly explored the city, and was unfamiliar with the streets of Georgetown. On this visit, I was determined to explore the city, to make up for what I did not do 13 years ago.

I was out before the sun came out, and decided to explore Jalan Chulia. Ling was still sleeping. From Oriental Hotel to Weld Quay and back took about one hour.

Quick would be ferrying us around again today. We were going to Taman Lip Sin, at Sungai Dua, just outside USM. We used to go there regularly for Curry Mee. The area was sparsely populated and there were not so many building then. Now, there is hardly any space left for more building.

Super Tanker has taken over as the premier destination for hawker food. We went there for our brunch. I had my bowl of Curry Mee. This time, I mixed all the chilly sauce into the soup and rediscovered how delicious the Curry Mee was again. After the Curry Mee, I had the Penang Char Koay Teow (fried flat rice noodle).

After brunch, we explored the adjacent market. From there, Quick drove us to Air Itam, to visit Kek Lok Si temple. I saw the bank and the vacant land beside it. It looked so familiar. Where was the shop at the corner lot which I remembered housed the Bak Kut Teh stall where we used to come for dinner, with many choices of ingredients for the Bak Kut Teh? Has the shop gone bust? There was a shop selling Bak Kut Teh but it was not at a corner lot.

Soon, we arrived at Air Itam. Quick dropped Ling and I there, so that we could walk up the flight of steps to Kek Lok Si temple while he drove his family up in his Toyota Unser. In just about five minutes, we reached the ground of Kek Lok Si temple.

From Kek Lok Si temple, we decided to go to the Botanical Garden. I remembered there were lots of monkeys around. But, Quick did not drive us to the Botanical Garden proper itself, rather, we went to a vacant piece of land outside the Garden. There were a lot of monkeys around too.

From there, we went to Prangin Mall. With so many new malls and shopping complex going up, Komtar has been abandoned. It was the destination to go during my time. At that time, there were only Komtar, Sunshine Square and Gama, and pretty Ah Nee was working at the gold smith shop on the top floor of Gama.

There was a food court at Prangin Mall, where we all took some food. Again, it was Tua Pau (big bun) for me, and this one was large. But it was only average in taste. Ling has his Asam Laksa. We ordered fried popiah (spring roll) too.

We returned to the hotel, where Quick and his family took a rest. I was restless. At about 6:00 p.m., I asked Ling whether he wanted to go out for a walk to explore the streets. He agreed. This time, we walked along Lebuh Muntri, Lorong Stewart and Lebuh Cina until we reached Penang Ferry terminal.

We went out again at about 8:00 p.m. for our dinner at the night market in front of Sunway Hotel. This place was so crowded that you could hardly find an empty seat.

Tonight, Chong would be coming again. He would be bringing along Eng to meet both Quick and I. I had asked Chong to bring Eng along because I had hardly any contact with Eng, though Chong, Quick and I still communicate by email now and then. Finally, we would all meet again for the long awaited reunion. They finally arrived at about 10:00 p.m.

We decided to go out for a light supper and exchange news, to Red Garden food court along Lebuh Leith. It was almost mid-night when we left.

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