Here I am – back in Penang again. Only seven weeks ago I was in Penang with my partner. This trip I am all alone. My significant other half has no annual leave to apply. I arrived in Penang in the early morning hour of 01:30 local time. Went through 4 airports – Hobart, Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur and Penang with an early start of 08:00 hour Australia time.
On arrival in Penang after a long enduring twenty hours flight, transit and wait time, I felt so relieved and exhausted at the same time. I guess it must be old age that is catching up with me. I never felt this tired on a long journey. Time is certainly catching up. I was watching the animated cartoon show, “Up” on the MAS inflight demand movie channel. The show reminded me of time catching up with me. There are few things that I really want to do in my life, and I must remind myself not to let time drift by without accomplishing those dreams. I am sure the same goes with most of you.
I am staying at Eastin Penang Hotel, the latest hotel to be opened in Penang on 12 November 2009. Just last weekend the hotel had a one hundred percent occupancy being ideally located for the Penang Bridge International Marathon. I was warmly welcome at the reception in the early hour of this morning. The check in process was friendly and efficient. No hassle at all. Why should be there be one would ask? As I was the only guest arriving at 1:30am local time! I was so tired that I quickly passed out in a king size bed with four large fluffy pillows. Woke up this morning at 05:30am local time, but stayed in bed for a couple of hours to adjust myself from a three hours time difference from Australia time.
I drew the curtain to look at the sunrise, slowing rising from behind Pulau Jerejak (“Jerejak Island”). The view from my room looks toward the largest nearby island of Penang Island and a distant view of the mainland and Penang Bridge. I chat with my partner briefly on google. I try not to rub it in as the weather in Penang is beautiful, warm and clear sky. Hobart is dreadful today and the last few days with windy, rain and cold temperature that hardly reach 14 degrees. And, it is Summer!
The room at MYR$198++ comes with a buffet breakfast – their opening promotional rate. The hotel is located less than five minutes walk from Penang largest shopping mall, The Queensbay Mall.
The buffet breakfast is what I will be eating for the next three morning. The selection ranges from western to local fare, with a good selection of tropical fruits, cereals, juices, cheeses and pastries. This morning I went for the Asian fare, started with a traditional Malaysian “Nasi Lemak”.
“Nasi Lemak” – fragrant coconut rice with side condiments. I plated this together with some deep fried anchovies, red skin peanuts, hard boiled eggs, sliced cucumber, sambal ikan billis (or deep fried anchovies fried in sambal chili pastes) and Ayam Masak Merah (red curry chicken). Every Malaysian loves a “Nasi Lemak”. We have this anytime of the day, mostly as breakfast or as a light afternoon snack. The two curries were very hot, which is how it should be. Not Westernised. The cucumber is to cool down the fiery palate in my mouth. The dried anchovies and peanuts are nice and crunchy.
Next, I had chicken congee to “calm” my stomach from the spicy dishes. The congee is tangy with fresh julienne ginger, salty with black bean sauce and dressed with a bit of light soy sauce, fried garlic oil and sesame oil.
Next, my third course for breakfast is a fried bun and prawn and chicken minced steamed dumplings. The fried bun is meant to have either kaya (pandan coconut spread), black bean paste, or lotus seeds paste, which was labeled on the food. But it turned out to be plain with no fillings. That was quite a disappointment. I informed one of the kitchen staff, who immediately removed the label. Kind of confusing for the guests. The dumpling should have been kept steamed in a bamboo steamer. The skin was hard and dried. But it looks beautiful plated.
Next, the fourth and last course, I swear I am almost full by then. But I got to have some tropical fruits and my all time favourite is Malaysian Papaya. It has a sweet lovely scent and flavour, unlike Paw Paw which is much stronger in flavour. I had a mixed of papaya, watermelon and honey dew.
Tomorrow, I am going to have some Western breakfast of eggs, sausages, potatoes, tomatoes. The eggs are made to order.
After such big breakfast, I had to check out the fitness facility and the sparkling brand new swimming pool and roof garden.