Yes, folks. There is a Part 5. The concluding one in this whole Cherating series. A reader (eh hem) and close pal asked me this when I met him last week. What’s in Part 5, he asks? Well, the food part. But of course. Food features heavily in my life. I suppose it’s natural considering how I grew up surrounded by great cooks (my grandma comes to mind as well as my2nd aunt) and fabulous food.
What cruise, you must be asking? Well, so did I when I first heard that there were cruises in Cherating. That’s also why it’s always good to talk to the locals…in this case, the local wasn’t exactly local – she was a total Mat Salleh. Remember Amelia of Amies Cafe? Amelia was surprisingly engaging and told us we shouldn’t miss the mangrove river cruise up Sg Cherating…
Batik lessons weren’t really on our agenda when we were in Cherating. It just happened that we wanted to get some batik souvenirs – t-shirts, sarongs, scarves – and we saw that it costs just RM30 to paint your own batik shirt.
Being on holiday meant that one usually does nutty things. We got around talking and decided that we would take on the challenge to paint ourselves a shirt each. Despite that the last time I painted something was when I was in Form 3. And got C3 for my Lukisan paper during SRP.
Although we had wanted to learn from this grumpy guy at Limbong Art (Pantai Cherating lama), we were perhaps ‘saved’ when we dropped by a cheery Western cafe for a lunch of burgers.
When we woke up the next day, the sun was out in full force and we only had one intention – to check out the Turtle Sanctuary about 10 minutes away from where we stayed. It was also next to Club Med Cherating and us being the proverbial nosey-parkers decided to drop by and see what the big deal was about Club Med. But we were in for a disappointment. More of that later. You’ll see why.
The Turtle Sanctuary is a Government-run entity and we weren’t really hoping for magic. We just hoped to see some turtles. Anyone can drop in to this non-airconditioned Malay house made to look like a mini museum with info on turtles because it is free. The place seemed rather empty that Tues morning. And the blazing sun didn’t help any.
This post is way backdated because I had meant to write about my trip to the East Coast, Cherating specifically the moment I came home to Penang. But my life, with all its swirls and turns and bumps, has a way of running away with its friends called time and opportunity. So that’s why it is, let’s see, almost 3 weeks late.
It’s not that I’ve not been to Cherating. I had.
When I was 19 years old and won a Fido Dido 7-UP Competition for teens. I think it was more of a ‘brainwash teens into gulping down 7-UP’ kind of competition because I got to invite 3 friends to a getaway in Cherating. I took along my youngest sis and my best friend and her younger sis. I forgot what Cherating was like. It was a 3-day, 2-night getaway in this obscure little hotel with some hyped-up organisers who looked like big little kids themselves.
Chicken rice is very Malaysian. Everyone eats chicken rice (except of course if you are vegetarian) when:
1) they do not know what to order for lunch/dinner
2) they want something substantial (and in Malaysian terms, that means filling and what can be more filling than having rice?)
3) they want to compare chicken rice from different places
4) they help other people ‘tar-pau’ lunch/dinner and the person cannot decide what to have
5) they want some comfort food
I’ve been very much into recycling ever since I was 15 and picked up a magazine on how to reduce and recycle waste. But I never got into the whole act properly until I stayed on my own, and bought my own groceries and stuff. I ended up with glass bottles, plastic containers, tin cans, junk paper, oil canisters and lots more.
Do I throw them away? Do I keep them and turn my storeroom into a junkyard of sorts?
What about used cooking oil? Can I just pour them down the drain and hope it won’t pollute the waterways?
And so, with more questions than answers, I joined an online recycling group. But the group is relatively silent on most days, and I sometimes feel as if the moderator and I are the only living creatures there.
Until I met Don Theseira and Mylene Ooi who are both not only passionate recyclers but famous as well (they’ve been profiled in the December 2002 issue of Reader’s Digest and invited all over the country to give talks on recycling and composting). I mean, really passionate. It resonates in their talk. I met them for the first time yesterday when they presented a talk on recycling at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Pulau Tikus, Penang.
I’ve never been very much impressed with Korean food. Aside kimchi, I cannot for the life of me remember what else is authentically Korean. Plus, I don’t take beef.
So it seemed that Korean food wasn’t much to rave about until I had to figure out a place to bring my 23-year-old cousin on her birthday.
Why I settled on Sarang Bahng, a Korean restaurant nestled near the famous (though I cannot figure why) Siriwan Thai restaurant at Krystal Point, Bayan Baru, Penang is also beyond me. Maybe I heard reviews that it was palatable. Plus I wanted to surprise my cousin too. She’s a funky young woman with eccentric tastes so I believed she would be game to try some kimchi.
Time has a way of zipping by these days so I am absolutely sorry if I have not been as frequent as I should in updating my blog. I’ve got a bunch of entries ready but I’ve got to upload some photos too (which really means I’ve to resize them! Not FUN!). Tried a Korean restaurant a few days ago and had my fill of Japanese sashimi just yesterday.
On a personal note, my emotions have not been what they seem to be. My Grandma is not herself these days and we’re all quite worried. Grandma is 82 years old this year and we had planned on celebrating her birthday in style as befitting her grand dame status. Yet she’s rather unwell, to put it mildly. Oh no. It’s not like she’s ill or anything. She isn’t.
She’s just… not herself.
Not as active as before. Mentally, she’s quite alert. But she doesn’t want to get out of bed, citing lethargy and tiredness.
She doesn’t even come downstairs anymore (she loves walking up and down the double-storey semi-detached house of hers).
She eats very little, like a bird.
No one can figure out what is wrong. The doctor came and went, and gave her a nice, thorough check-up. She’s okay.
But we know she’s NOT okay.
Not since Qing Ming. And the spookiest thing is that she mentioned she saw “someone” follow her home after she visited Grandpa’s grave!
Chinese superstitions or not, the elderly and the very young (babies) are not advised to go for Qing Ming. They may “see” or “feel” energies of the graves and then, either fall sick or cry incessantly.
I just hope she’ll be okay enough to cut her birthday cake.
This year, Qing Ming Jie fell on April 5th. I look forward to the day because it’s a time to remember my late grandfather and great-grandparents. It’s also that one time each year where four generations in my family gather for a hike.