Friday, August 15, 2008

Penang Night 1

We waited and waited and waited for the Olympics opening on our hotel room TV. I had called earlier and the operator assured me that the Games' opening would be on. Although the hotel had Astro, they didn't subscribe to the sports channels so we had to rely on the national TV stations, Channels 1, 2 and 7. When the whole world was watching the opening, we were watching Malaysian news. 4 billion people in the world watching and 30 million Malaysian population and our national TV stations did not carry the opening ceremony live. It wasn't until 29 minutes later that TV 1 started the live telecast.

To all those who criticize China, just remember that the country was starving 40 years ago and they opened their doors to the world only 30 years ago whereas the 'greatest' democratic country in the world still had racial segregation policies 40 years ago. China has come a long long way for a communist country and it is trying to change for the better. No easy feat when you are looking at a population of 1 billion spread over a large continent, who were mostly denied an education during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. Look at where North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam are now. Heck, look at where we are now, after 50 years of independence. Sent a man to the moon on a bought ticket. As for the achievements in the Olympics, you may say China has population advantage but hey so does India and Indonesia. In the end, besides talent, it's hard work and determination that gets you the medals.

When the boring marching in of the nations came on, we went to Gurney Dr for dinner. 1/4 of the stalls were closed because people stayed home to watch the opening of the Games.


Skewered meat and veg to be cooked in boiling soup and dipped in a selection of sauces. Used to love this, but the thought of people dunking their half-eaten 'kebabs' back into the soup for further cooking puts me off.


This stall sells dried and soaked cuttlefish with kangkong topped with a peanut sauce, Ming's fav.


This guy is fanning skewered meat called 'satay'. Love it.


Looks like snake skin but is really charcoal-toasted dried squid. Too thin and crispy. Asians tend to eat not only for taste, but also for texture (explains our love for bland food like jellyfish and tendons etc) and fun (melon seeds, unshelled nuts etc).


Assam laksa (RM3/US$0.94) from stall no. 79 (the one closer to G Hotel). It was good, but not as good as stall no. 74 (not so sure about the no):


A pancake called apom. Quite good. RM2/US$0.60 for 5 minis.


Large bowl of mixed veg stuffed with fish paste, RM12/US$3.80. Soup was clearly laced with plenty of msg.

Oh this char kuey teow was bad! The noodles had gone sour.

After this, we found a durian stall right at the entrance of Gurney Food Court. The durians were being sold at 3 for RM10/US$3! We couldn't eat that many and the seller gave us a small durian to sample (it was very thick-fleshed and delicious but Ming by now prefers red prawn durians to any durian) but I insisted on paying so she reluctantly asked for RM2.

It was still early (around 10:30 pm), and Ming wanted more red prawn durians so we took a cab into the city but there weren't any durian stalls anywhere. We then asked to go to Jalan Campbell for almond milk tea and yew char kuey, but the taxi driver insisted the stall was now at Kimberley St. When we got there, the stall had just run out of those items so we settled for the soya milk and soya jelly from a stall famous for it.

When we got back to the hotel, China's gold medalists were carrying the Olympics flag around the track. Then just as the ceremony ended and the fireworks started, TV 1 cut the telecast off and a boring announcer started to re-cap the highlights of the opening. How stupid is that?


Precious Pea said...

No wonder people were so upset over the national tv station. Well..i guess Astro would be the one laughing off real hard at them.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

pea: i heard it was the same in Indonesia, with news n commercials interrupting the telecast. and thnx for ur comment, which broke the no comment status of this post :D

Agnes aka Ric3y said...

I'm seeing more laksa!!! :D~~ is that luk-luk?????? o_o

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