Trip Start Dec 12, 2012
16Trip End Jan 03, 2013
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Where I stayed
We actually came to an Asian country to kind of avoid Xmas. But these Malaysians go overboard for the festivities…and the shopping. Completely bonkers for all the tacky tinsel, trees and of course, any excuse to go to a shopping mall.
Strangely for the first time this morning since we checked into Noordin there are no cheesy, jazzy Xmas carols playing. Maybe someone finally complained. It really was like a Micheal Buble and Harry Connick duet , 'Endless Xmas' – the special torture edition.
But we’re not doing Xmas, we’re merely giving it lip service
Or maybe we're just culturally ignorant tourist heathens. Whatever. It's Xmas.
Besides, the history of a country doesn't only begin with colonisation by capitalist merchants. Surely there's much more history to Penang than the recent selfish successes of some Chinese traders and British colonialists? With these thoughts in mind, we're not greatly impressed. We think we saw more of the 'real' Malaysia back in Sarawak, but what do we know? We're just ignorant white people.
So of course with Malaysian social unity in mind, we do what do good Malaysians do at Xmas. It appears they all go shopping, so we comply. We wander over mindlessly, except for a moment of alert crossing the death defying roads, to the humungous mega mall complex that sits under Komtar tower and we wander around semi-aimlessly.
We find nothing worth buying, which either means we’re not sufficiently ‘Gruen-ed’ or we, as rich Australians, already have too much stuff. I suspect the latter.
We find the games arcade and watch the locals kick the virtual crap out of each other on Tekken and perform crazy dance routines with a cartoon caricature dance leader. It’s quite a local spectacle and there is a small crowd watching the oddly cool K-poppish young groovers do their thing.
We’re off to Chin’s Stylish Chinese restaurant for dinner and we’ve invited our new compatriots in fine dining, Kate and Ross, so we need to inform them we’re now a party of four. However, numerous calls to their direct line fail to get a response. Bearing in mind it took J-she numerous emails and obscure phone calls to numerous numbers, one of whom appeared to be the cleaner or kitchenhand, to eventually make the initial booking.
When we went down to the clan jetties earlier we dropped up to Chins to confirm our booking in person and they had no record of us whatsoever.
We ring Chin’s again and again right through the afternoon with no success. We think a failure to answer your phone is not very stylish.
Eventually Baby, our ever present and beguiling concierge at Noordin, rings a partner establishment, and with a few rolls of her eyes and funny looks she secures our new booking for four. Not well recommended by Baby this mob.
We all style our way down to Chin’s and into the gorgeous jettyside restaurant. The place does indeed look very stylish. It’s and impressive and quirky establishment with art, murals and beautiful hand painted plates at each seating. As soon as we arrive they remove the plates and it’s all downhill from there.
The dining experience is more than adequate but hilariously beset by bad English and haphazard wine service at ridiculous prices. Still it was an experience, just not quite as stylish as we had imagined.
We young gents of the town saunter off into the night with our ladies on arm (ok, a slightly romanticised version) and find our way to China House late in the evening, deep in the heritage area. The groovest, happening place for cool young Penang cats. It’s deep and cavernous and runs right through from one street to the next
We’re feeling pretty groovy so we freestyle right on in for a nightcap…or two.
We attempt to order whiskys from one of the caverns and the waiter informs us this stuff is where their groovy cat customers store their whisky for private consumption. Um, no it’s not, here’s the price list here for each of these whiskys on the shelf. He checks with management and to his surprise , yes indeed, the whisky is for sale.
I expose Ross to the pure, but dangerous delights of good quality straight whisky as he regales me with the joy of music scores from B-grade horror movies. It’s a peculiar but interesting hobby, I’m intrigued. I’ve even seen some of the movies he’s referring to, not that I can remember any of the music. J-she and the ever hilarious and gregarious Kate retire upstairs to check out the art gallery.
We slide and shimmy, all cool cat style, out the door after last drinks and stop off at the late night bar, alternatively known as the 7-Eleven takeaway.
A few very late night drinks with our hot toes dipped in the Noordin pool and some quiet shit talking as the drinks and time take their hold over us.
Still no Durian, Chins not Stylish, Freestylin’ in Penang