Walking in Penang for the non-suicidal – Walk 10 – the coast near Straits Quays

Do this walk earlier in the morning, as by 9.30AM to 10AM it will be quite hot.  This really goes for about any walk in Penang, though.


Park,  and walk from the orange marker to the blue marker at the bottom



Tesco in the background



park and start walking from Straits Green




I walked to Straits Green



but watch where you walk – uncovered drains




Straits Green car park



a toilet block is there



apparently they don’t want me to bring my goat



walk through the car park and into the park and turn to the right to find the path



here’s the path



looking to the left you can see the sea



there is a beach



to continue just walk through here


looking back to the beach from the path





the new island they are making


gate to Straits Quays


gate to Straits Quays


Straits Quays

I would suggest detouring through Straits Quays to take advantage of the air conditiong, the toilet if you wish, and also a drink or coffee.


inside Straits Quays






now past Straits Quays and continuing on







just turned right off the path for a minute to see the contruction of more houses


you pass houses with pools



George Town in the background





view of another street on the right




and then you reach the end – where the blue marker on the map is

And that’s it – you walk back again.  To save time, once you get to Straits Quays it may be a little quicker to walk to the carpark via the road.  But not much different.

after rain passion fruit often flowers

Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – what’s growing in September 2016

It’s been raining quite a lot again, almost every day.  Some days quite heavily.  Probably as a result we haven’t suffered from haze from Indonesia. Usually October is wet, so it could turn out to be a very rainy year.  And quite cool.  In the car the air-con is set to 27, and the heater often comes on instead, so I have to reduce the temperature.  At home the air-cons do very little.

Anyway, nothing much has changed at all.   And thus there’s nothing much to say. So this will be short.

grey and rainy

grey and rainy


grey and rainy weather

more grey and rainy weather – you can see the raindrops on the leaves



pumpkin vines grew, but didn’t produce any big pumpkins


after rain passion fruit often flowers

after rain passion fruit often flowers


baby passion fruit vines now bigger and growing

baby passion fruit vines now bigger and growing. They are starting to climb.


passion fruit

passion fruit



passion fruit – probably 25 green ones on the vines – but so little sunshine that they don’t really ripen




bureaucracy lives on

Recently I renewed my passport. So slowly I am telling those companies that want to know the passport number what the new one is.

Today I phoned one such company to inform them of the new number, seeing as they didn’t provide an email address. They go through the whole “we have to ensure your identity” thing only to tell me that they can’t change it over the phone – I have to fax or post in a form. If they’d told me that in the first place it would have saved everyone a lot of time – they email the form, I fax or post it back. They would neither confirm nor deny they already had my email address – so I had to tell them again.  Next time I should ask first if I can change it on the phone and save all the rest of the nonsense.

I tried to book a flight to KL on Malaysian Airlines.  HSBC had kindly blocked my credit card without bothering to tell me, because I tried to spend the outrageous sum of USD$39 on a service in the US.  Had they called or texted me, it could have saved a lot of bother.  Anyway, I couldn’t book the MAS flight with the card online, so I called MAS to book.  But they don’t sell the cheapest tickets over the phone.  So I had to book online. I called HSBC and found out my card had been blocked.  I could use it two minutes after they’d unblocked it, to book my MAS flight.  And now I keep on getting MAS emails about my unfinished booking, and if I want to complete it – even though I actually have a booking now on the same flight.

While you are making the booking and before you pay you have a chance to reserve a seat or simply move straight on to payment.  What they don’t tell you is that they charge you extra to reserve a seat.  So you click on the reserve a seat button, choose one, and then you find out the charge. For a 45 minute flight I didn’t bother.

You can’t check in until 48 hours before.  But MAS send you an email about 48 hours before with a link, you click on it and put in your booking reference to check in. At this stage you are allocated a seat, but you can change it without any fee.  You can print out the boarding pass, and / or have it sent to your phone.  With the latter you get a web link, which on clicking gives you the pass with QR code on your phone.  The check in was simple, fast and easy.

We’ve had accounts with CIMB for years.  But now, to open a new account they want thumb prints!!  I hate that.  Never used to. A bank requirement, not the government, they told me. And using ink.  They give you toilet paper to wipe off the ink. Very classy.  And it doesn’t work.  So I have to go to the bathroom to use detergent.  Which only partially worked.  Finally Mrs TropicaExpat gave me some hand cream which more or less got it off.  And before, CIMB was quite relaxed. Now they seem to have fees for everything, and they are not insignificant. For some reason, the fees are based on USD.  It’s not what it used to be there.

Oh well.  I’m told banks will no longer exist in 10 years time as the blockchain and peer to peer apps will take over and be much cheaper, instantaneous, and with miniscule fees.  I’ve installed such apps on my phone, but have yet to use them.

That’s enough stress for one day.   Or if I believed the spell checker, enough saree – which makes me feel a bit better, as images of sarees flit through my mind.  But at least the CIMB octapus is cute.


CIMB octopus



Berlin Buddy Bears

Today I went to the Esplanade in Penang to see the Berlin Buddy Bears.  For more information see here:


They are here in Penang until October 30th.

It has rained so much for the past few days that the ground is sodden in many places, so either rain boots or flip flops and shorts are preferable.  Parking, is, of course, not easy.





There are seven groups of 21 bears each in a circle , plus the odd bear elsewhere, making around 150 bears.  Almost every bear represents a country, and there is only one bear per country.



















All the bears are good, so here are a few photos of my favourites.


Australia – by Ken Done




Cuba, of course















Berlin – one of the few that don’t represent a country



Berlin – behind



Berlin – close up






And then a few bears I photographed in Berlin, October three years ago





It’s so much fun seeing the bears I want to go back again.







it’s so cool

It’s cool – as in cool – not hot.

Google Now tells me it’s 29 degrees in George Town now, at 4.30pm. But it’s so cool outside I think it’s probably 25. It’s so pleasant. It’s been raining on and off all day, but fairly lightly.  October is usually the coolest month of the year.  Inside with the a-c on is warmer. These past few days the a-c have been confused, as they’ve been wondering what they are supposed to be doing.

the free daily

this morning out and about in Malaysia

In the past an early visit to Tesco (they are open 0800 to 0100) for grocery shopping found much stock lacking, particularly in the fruit and vegetable section.  Thus we haven’t been shopping early.  At 8.30 this morning they actually were a pleasure to shop at.  Plenty of stock, no queues to weigh vegetables, no queues at the checkouts, and very few fellow shoppers  to dodge.  Oh, and easy to park, (in their woefully designed parking area.)

When we were at Tesco a couple of weeks ago we were accidentally overcharged, and we didn’t notice it until we got home.  Being RM24 it was not worth the petrol and time to make a special trip, but on showing the receipt today, Tesco refunded the amount with no fuss whatsoever.

I will normally walk down from Tesco to Straits Quays for Starbucks coffee, but as I didn’t have much time this morning, and only McDonalds was open, I bought a large coffee there, for RM4.20  Then I noticed that (until 11am) there are free refills.  In which case a small coffee for RM3.55 would have made sense.  I won’t eat their “food”, but I noticed that for RM5.50 you got coffee and a breakfast wrap, and for a little more, other choices. Chicken is so cheap in Malaysia that perhaps their chicken products are not made from floor scrapings, but nevertheless, I stuck to the not very good coffee.

Driving to Tesco at that early hour I was quite disappointed to find the traffic quite heavy, even though I was going in the opposite direction to George Town. Can’t wait for the new roads to be constructed and Penang’s ordinary streets returning to quiet peaceful places.

Anyway, while at McDonalds I read the local free newspaper, the Sun, and found a few interesting things.

the free daily

the free daily


I fell for it - I thought they meant water getting into the submarines

I fell for it – I thought they meant water getting into the submarines


This story has spread well. Can we also opt out of illegal and legal government surveillance?

This story has spread well. Can we also opt out of illegal and legal government surveillance?  After a previous terrorist attack France instituted total electronic surveillance of citizens.  This didn’t stop further attacks.  Which means that total surveillance should be dropped because it doesn’t work, and privacy should be restored.  Or that they knew about the attacks and let them go ahead.  Which means they are corrupt, and shouldn’t be doing the total surveillance on their citizens anyway.


KL seems bad, Penang not so bad, probably because of all the rain recently

KL seems bad, Penang not so bad, probably because of all the rain recently.


I liked this ad

I liked this ad

torch ginger

Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – what’s growing in August 2016

It’s been raining quite a lot again, almost every day.

New pumpkin vines are growing more and more, and as it’s passion fruit growing season now, they are doing so.

In fact, there are over 15 passion fruit maturing on the vines, and I picked the first one the other day

first ripe passion fruit of the season

first ripe passion fruit of the season

"cold storage" passion fruit plant

“Cold Storage” passion fruit plant

many passion fruit are growing

many passion fruit are growing

torch ginger

torch ginger – you can eat the shoot coming out on the left – just pick and eat

torch ginger

torch ginger


rosemary growing well from cutting


parsley – not happy with sun, but a bit happier with lots of rain


basil – growing well from cuttings

mock orange seeds are ripe

mock orange seeds are ripe – birds come to eat them

mock orange seeds are ripe

mock orange seeds are ripe

mini pumpkin

mini pumpkin

first full size pumpkins growing

first full size pumpkin growing


limes are growing well

And that’s all that’s new this month.