Wednesday, 15 February 2017

FSTR (8 - 16 August 2016), Day 9 - History Lessons

LTF getting a piece of WW2 history

Moulmein Close for Lor Mee and Prawn Noodles
Good Feng Shui
Resistance is futile
Chickens at Mount Erskine Chinese Cemetery
Dusky Langur at Mount Erskine Chinese Cemetery
Having takeaway Nasi Kandar from Toon Leong Coffee Shop, Jalan Transfer.
Resting place of Sir Francis Light, founder of Penang
Some graves at the Northam Road Protestant Cemetery
Somewhere here lies the grave of Thomas Leonowens, the husband of Anna from the biographical drama film, "Anna and the King"

This morning, Mike collected us again for our second round of gastronomical adventure. This time, he came with a borrowed Foldie with intent to throw in a free bicycle tour as well. Little did we realize, he had a morbid interest in history....

We toured mainly George Town and Tanjung Tokong as we were short of time. The Johoreans had to leave after lunch, taking a 6 pm Airasia flight back to JB which was rescheduled from an earlier slot of 5 pm before the trip even began! It had not dawned on them yet, but Airasia had more tricks up their sleeves!!!

The morning started well with prawn noodles and lor mee from Moulmein Close. Then, Mike took us to the World War 2 pill box on Mount Erkskine. It shared the same good feng shui with the other Chinese graves; water in front, hills behind and luxuriant plants around! Strategically located on top of the hill with a great view of the sea, it was the perfect look out for impending enemies.

We circled the burial grounds, passing by homes and homes of the dead! Where the living live, we weaved through their wastes; rubbish, cow dungs and dog poo! On one narrow lane, an old bull stood his ground, staring and not budging while we gingerly took our leave.

We weren't so lucky when we entered the gateway, leading to another part of the cemetery. While we escaped being gored earlier, a pack of geese honked and chased after us. These feathered creatures were not humoured with our trespassing, perhaps thinking we were necromancers with evil intent!

At the open hall for burial rituals, we took a rest to soak in the tranquility of the whole place. We spotted some shy monkeys in the trees and a hen guarding over her chicks. Very few cars passed through giving rise to the rightful thesaurus of "resting place of the dead"!

Our tour continued with durian on the streets of Tanjung Tokong. Here, we paid our respect to the King of Fruits and the Queen to Mike's heart for we bumped into Mike's mom at the same durian stall!!! Sprightly and elegant at over 80, Claudine can only wish she will grow old and graceful like her!

Heading back to George Town, KC was almost run over by a motorcycle bent on making a left turn. Thankfully, both braked on time or we will never be able to enjoy a treat of Assam Laksa and Siam Laksa at one of Mike's favourite haunts.

Well, he was certainly bent on spooking us, for the next visit up his sleeves was the Northam Road Protestant Cemetery!!! We visited the graves of Sir Francis Light, the founder of Penang Island and other famous personalities connected with the early growth of the island. 

Enjoying our tea and coffee with kaya toasts done over charcoal fire at Toh Soon Cafe, we all passed the "walk of fire" tests. Akin to the Taoist purification rituals, we walked past the charcoal stove in the narrow coffee shop operated on an alleyway. We left totally unscathed!

Returning to Tido, the Johoreans rushed through their priorities. While VT and Claudine packed their bikes, Sue wanted her bike cleaned before packing. A quick run to the Dhoby shop to check on Claudine's lost Pearl Izumi glove came back empty handed! Everyone including Sue, managed a good lunch at Khoon Pastry House. They served the best Hainanese Chicken Chop in the world!

Finally boarding Boon See's van hire, they left for the airport, only to receive a free McDonald's meal compliments of AirAsia for a 4 hour delay. They did their time at the airport, watching fellow Malaysians coming together to cheer for their homegrown pair of Tan Wee Kiong and Goh V Shem in badminton men's double, defeating China in the semifinals Olympic Games Rio 2016.


Life is full of surprises :

• While the Johoreans bought the same returning flight tickets, VT and Claudine boarded a flight that landed in Senai 10 minutes earlier than Sue. The former had changed their flights during the delay hoping to get back earlier as VT had an early morning flight to catch the very next day! 
• The "lost" Pearl Izumi glove was finally found the next day! It crawled up the sleeves of Alvin's jersey during laundry! 

 • A text to the Singapore group for forgotten Arabian dates at Tido found not only the dates but VT's bike shorts and a black handbag left by a former occupant!!!!
• The Singaporeans had an extra day with Mike in Penang. They boarded a night bus for Singapore but had to ride home from the Malaysian CIQ! Since they were the last passengers on the bus, the driver refused to take them any further!!!