Month: November 2012

“Escape” to a new theme park in Penang

There is a newly opened theme park in Penang.  I haven’t been, and I probably won’t, or at least in the forseeable future, but it might interest you, especially if you have children to entertain.

This is the website –

Tim, at Penang Travel Tips, has done a good writeup on Escape, so I refer you to his site if you are interested. His site is a good source of information on Penang.


Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – cape gooseberry

Another of the few successes I have had is growing cape gooseberry.

How to grow:
find the plant
pick the mature pod
get the seeds from the pod

Plant seeds in potting mix and transplant into a larger pot or the ground when the seedlings are an inch or two high.

The plant doesn’t like to be pruned.

a ripe cape gooseberry

the plant is growing from the pot at the top

Just waiting for the fruit to mature – when the pod turns yellow and the outer part, dry.

Buying wine in Penang

Four years ago you could buy a reasonable bottle of table wine from Australia, Chile, South Africa or the US for about RM30 at Cold Storage, or elsewhere.  European or NZ wine tended to start at higher prices.

Now, the price seems closer to RM40, with only a few wines lower than that.  That’s rather high, especially compared to food prices.  But if you buy the specials you can still get something for a little over RM30.

The best value I have found is at Sunshine Supermarket, 1 Jalan Mayang Pasir, 11950, Bayan Lepas, but it’s not at all close to where I live.  But be careful what you buy, as some wines are imported in bulk to Malaysia and bottled here, with added chemicals. You can save a few ringitt on wine here, with proper selection.

A little further north, at Queensbay Mall, Jusco Supermarket often has a few reasonably priced wines.  Sometimes you need to be a member to get the best price, and whether that is worth it would be up to you to calculate.

Tesco, near the Penang Bridge, and at Tanjung Bunguh, have a relatively small selection, although recently sometimes have wine at a competitive price.

Cold Storage at Gurney Plaza and Island Plaza, Tanjung Tokong are quite good for a selection of reasonably priced wines, generally, and sometimes have specials.

The Wine Shop, Lintang Burmah, used to sell cases of the same wine the E & O Hotel served for their free flow buffet nights, one red and one white, for a good price.  I hear they are still doing this – if you buy a doze,n one bottle costs around RM28. (December 2012). Generally, the specialty wine shops tend to have more expensive wines, though.

Overall, I tend to think Cold Storage is where you can most reliably get the best value wine.

1 Litre Lindemans Cabernet Merlot 2011 bought at Cold Storage in Gurney Plaza; also bought in Cold Storage KLCC; November 2012.

If there is somewhere you recommend, please let me know.

My next notebook computer

My PC is almost six years old. It’s time to get another, and I had been waiting for PC’s with Windows 8, which is just out. It supports touch screens, which I am so used to now, after using smart phones and tablets a lot. Sometimes I almost jab at my notebook screen, but stop myself before I do, as realisation hits that it is not indeed a touchscreen.

At present I am considering the following specification:
CPU:                             Intel® Core™ i7 or i5
RAM:                            6GB minimum
Ethernet card:            10, 100, 1000mbps
WLAN card:                802.11 b/g/n
Hard Disk or SSD:     500GB +
Touch screen
Graphics card
Good screen resolution
USB3 ports
HDMI port
SD Card reader
DVD writer or Blue Ray writer
Reasonable sound
Windows 8 operating system
2 year + warranty


The Asus N56VZ series is pretty close, and I like Asus, but doesn’t entirely match my specs.  Perhaps I can ask for slight modifications.

In Malaysia my notebook PC overheats

In Malaysia we’ve found our notebook PC’s suffer from the heat.  They freeze ,crash, or the keyboard goes haywire. Or all three. They sell stands with a built-in fan, on which to sit notebooks, , but they are not effective.  The best is to use a mini fan, or even full size fan, pointed at the computer, while elevating the notebook.

Mini fan and notebook slightly elevated by plastic on right, so airflow from fan goes underneath, and onto keyboard.

I bought the mini fan from Swiss Com in First Avenue IT area.  That is, near Komtar and Prangin Mall.  Perhaps it cost around RM40, but added two years to the life of my notebook.

E and O membership update II

Information comes in dribs and drabs, so, further to my previous blogs on the topic,
E and O membership and update, I will give you the latest I heard from staff, then checked with other staff. I’m afraid this is the way it often happens in Malaysia.

Latest Echo

What I now hear is that E & O had contracted with a company to provide the The Heritage membership.  And now E & O has discontinued this contract, so this coming 12 months is the final year for such memberships, which will expire in November 2013. Thereafter E & O itself will provide a membership scheme, with benefits at this stage unknown, but will probably include The Lone Pine (in Batu Ferringhi) and possibly the E & O restaurant in KL.

And that is the latest information I have as at 2PM, November 23rd, 2012. If and when I hear more I will publish further updates.