I totally succumbed. I told myself I wouldn’t but curiosity didn’t kill the cat for nothing.
I visited Queensbay Mall, Penang’s newest shopping mall two days in a row! (On a side note: whoever named it Queensbay didn’t realize how regular Aunties might mispronounce it – I overheard someone call it Keenbay. We’re Malaysians-lah!)
Penangites have a fondness for shopping but then again, Malaysians have a proclivity for shopping anytime, anywhere. That’s why we go nuts over Malaysia Mega Sales and our eyes widen at the mere mention of sale be it warehouse sale, jumble sale, charity sale, etc. Shopping and eating best define Malaysians.
When Queensbay was not Queensbay yet, the building was partially built before it was shamelessly abandoned due to the economic recession a few years back. It was an eyesore particularly as this huge and long building was so near the Bayan Lepas factory area – the place where you get many of the multinational companies such as Intel, Agilent, Motorola, Dell etc. The location of Queensbay was strategic; it sat on a narrow strip of land which fronted the Pantai Jerejak beach and now with the new Jelutong Expressway, it’s easier to spot and faster to reach!
Anyway, the many Penangites I know (and who are living around that Queensbay area) have opted to stay away until things are calmer. When the buzz dies down or something. I was scared too because I saw long lines of cars snaking their way to the mall on opening day on December 1st. Plus, a long line of cars parked OUTSIDE on the side of the road.
Vern told me something about some hantu but I reckon it’s probably some jealous businesses over at other malls who spread the rumour. Then again, people might just want to go and see for themselves if there’s really any hantu’s about. Maybe shopping hantu!
Short of making this a review (which I won’t coz it’s too trite yeah?), I can say that finally we poor, pathetic Penang people can get a quality bookstore. Borders is officially opening tomorrow (three yays for that). Popular Books is there too though I have a problem with its narrow aisles! They’re on separate ends of the mall so no direct competition.
Jusco is the main tenant and that’s really wonderful because Jusco’s in house brands (particularly its Chic Avenue clothes) are affordable. I’ve been a Jusco fan for the longest time now but I only get to shop at Jusco whenever I am back in the Klang Valley. Jusco the supermarket on the lower ground floor is also bright and cheerful. It was teeming with dozens of shoppers; it was as if this was the only supermarket in the whole of Penang – Jusco folks must be smiling from ear to ear.
Much of the mall is still being renovated and refurbished – the many contractors and workers move in to do work once the mall’s official business hours are over. Many outlets are still unopened but the ones which have opened in time are doing really good business, especially food outlets like Kenny Roasters, Auntie Anne Pretzels, McDonalds, Sushi King, Chicken Rice Shop, Manhattan Fish Market, Laksa Shack, Starbucks, Wong Kok Kitchen, Siam Express and lots more.
Oh yes, TGIF’s is in the mall too together with Haagen Daz, Purple Cane Tea House, The Body Shop and all those shops I used to wish were in Penang when I was in KL. The makan places are so packed during meal times (as if one has never tasted McD!) that one has to line up to wait for a table but the rest of the mall is spacious and one does not truly get claustrophobic (though one might initially get lost trying to find the mall entrance from the multistory car park). I guess it’s not called the longest mall in Penang for nothing.
The mall is just 10 minutes’ away from my place and I just hope they’ll include a cineplex soon to complete the whole mall experience. Parking is presently free but I see signs that it will be chargeable once all equipment is in place. Probably be just like Gurney Plaza.
Me…I am just satisfied that Borders is finally in Penang! (Plus they have really beautiful and tall Christmas trees in the foyer!)