Month: April 2016

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

Up until a week ago there had been a couple of thunderstorms with heavy rain, a couple of small rain showers, but it had otherwise been overwhelming dry and hot. Now it is starting to rain a bit more frequently, and otherwise, the rain clouds have been around, but by-passed us.

OK, so  this month’s answer – pumpkins.  I have picked several, and have several more growing, adding up to about thirteen full-size pumpkins so far.   That’s actually quite a lot, and leads to a lot of steamed pumpkin, baked pumpkin, pumpkin soup and even pumpkin pie.  With some also frozen for  future meals.  As I don’t eat so much food, pumpkin is a large part of my diet right now.

one of many pumpkins growing

one of many pumpkins growing

 

pumpkin

pumpkin picked

 

very healthy looking

very healthy looking

 

I am growing two types of pumpkin - this round one is the other type

I am growing two types of pumpkin – this round one is the other type

 

five picked today

five picked today

 

going to bake a stuffed pumpkin

going to bake a stuffed pumpkin

 

stuffed pumpkin

stuffed pumpkin

 

stuffed pumpkin

stuffed pumpkin

 

pumpkin pudding before steaming - pumpkin, egg, milk

pumpkin pudding before steaming – pumpkin, egg, milk, sugar

 

steaming

steaming puddings

 

steamed

steamed – they are really delicious

 

toasted seeds - I saved some seeds for planting next season, though

toasted seeds – I also saved some seeds for planting next season, though

 

after baking

after baking

 

after baking

after baking

 

dinner

dinner with salad

 

passionfruit seedlings - some had come from compost, and the ones in the brown pot from germinating seeds

passion fruit seedlings – some had come from compost and I replanted them, and the ones in the brown pot from germinating seeds

 

another pumpkin plant has started growing - it just appeared in the garden

another pumpkin plant has started growing – it just appeared in the garden

 

I keep bumping my head on this one, so the ribbon is supposed to remind me it's there

I keep bumping my head on this one, so the ribbon is supposed to remind me it’s there

 

limes developing well

limes developing well

 

Canna Lilies coming up

Canna Lilies coming up

 

ginger is not so happy in this small pot, because they grow laterally

ginger is not so happy in this small pot, because they grow laterally.  We harvested some and made ginger juice – and it’s delicious

 

tumeric happy

tumeric happy

 

we bought some grape vines - not sure where to plant them

we bought some grape vines – not sure where to plant them

 

rosemary - only one of the three seedlings we bought survived

rosemary – only one of the three seedlings we bought survived.  Aloe Vera in background

After the passion fruit season ended I pruned the vines, and then around February / March tried germinating the seeds.  I have also pruned the mock Orange by now. So hopefully the rainy season will belatedly come, and I won’t have to water most days.  Still, most plants are pretty happy and growing nicely.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Walking in Penang for the non-suicidal – Walk 9 – Gurney Drive to Suffolk House

I  started in the middle of Gurney Drive, at Bali Hai.  This walk took about 45 minutes with a short rest around half way, but there are a few diversions on the way to see if you wish.  My pedometer app said it was 4,800 steps.  Basically stay on the “footpath” on the left of the road.

walking-route

walking-route

The route is:

Gurney Drive,

Jalan Concordia, then cross

Jalan Kelawai to

Lorong Bangkok (or go one block to the left and take Lorong Burma to the right to see the Burma and Thai temples), then turn right at the end onto

Burma Road, then left into

Jalan Cantonment – you can take the next road left, Jalan Pasar,  to see the Pulau Tikus Market, then return to Jalan Cantonment.  Later there is the Hor Kai Kong Temple on the right side of the road.  At the end cross

Jalan  Macalister straight  into Jalan Sepoy Lines. Watch the traffic! Here you can take a rest on a bench and watch the sports field or gaze at the mountains. Then go straight across a busy road into

Jalan Scotland, then take the first left into

Jalan Piggot, and follow this winding road through a rural feeling neighbourhood to turn right into

Jalan York, then immediately left into

Halaman York.  where you take the second street on your left, which is

Medan York (this is a crescent, so the first street on your left is also Medan York) Walk until you see a large car park on your right, just past the condos, and turn right into the car park, going straight for a minute or two  until you reach a park. Turn right into

the park and walk along the path until you see a bridge across the river on the left.  Cross the bridge and Suffolk House will be on your left.

Gurney Drive

Gurney Drive

Bali Hai on Gurney Drive

Bali Hai on Gurney Drive – but we walk in the other direction

Turn from Gurney Drive into Jalan Concordia

Turn from Gurney Drive into Jalan Concordia

a little shrine

a little shrine

a temple on Jalan Concordia

a temple on Jalan Concordia

You can go straight across Jalan Kelawai into Lorong Bangkok, but you can see the Thai temple here. Or you can visit the temples from the next street to the left

You can go straight across Jalan Kelawai into Lorong Bangkok, but you can see the Thai temple here. Or you can visit the temples from the next street to the left

nice houses on Lorong Bangkok

nice houses on Lorong Bangkok

 

At the end of the street are popular places to eat

At the end of the street are popular places to eat

Intersection of Jalan Burma and Jalan Cantonment

Intersection of Jalan Burma and Jalan Cantonment. Turn left here

Jalan Cantonment

Jalan Cantonment

durian stand

durian stand

on the left is Pulau Tikus Market

on the left in Jalan Pasar is Pulau Tikus Market

Jalan Cantonment

Jalan Cantonment

The temple

The Hor Kai Kong temple

big houses on this street

big houses on this street

what

be careful crossing here as there is a lot of traffic

phew, made it across

phew, made it across

you can rest on a bench here

you can rest on a bench here

the view across the sports fields to the hills

the view across the sports fields to the hills

the busiest road crossing

the busiest road crossing – ask your guardian angel for a clear road when you arrive here. I did, and as you can see it was uncharacteristically clear for enough time to safely cross

Scotland Road is busy, but you are only walking besdie it on the footpath for a couple of minutes

Scotland Road is busy, but you are only walking beside it on the footpath for a couple of minutes

then turn here into quiet Jalan Piggot

then turn here into quiet Jalan Piggot

now it's quiet

now it’s quiet and shady

keep going across the bridge

keep going across the bridge

river

river – well, it hasn’t rained much for months now

still quiet

still quiet

approaching Jalan York

approaching Jalan York

another view of the hills

another view of the hills

cut right through this carpark

cut right through this carpark

now you're in the park

now you’re in the park

see that bridge? - we cross it

see that bridge? – we cross it

and there is Suffolk House

and there is Suffolk House

Suffolk House is open 10AM to 6PM, with an entrance fee of RM20 redeemable for food and drink inside. You can pay at the guardhouse. Entrance for children under 12 or students in uniform is free.

And here is a video of the walk:

video of walk

Songkran Water Festival 2016 in Penang

This year Songkran is getting off to a slow start compared to last year.  But today’s date is the 13th, despite what the sign says.  A few photos of the temples while it is quiet.  Just three guys standing around drinking Tiger beer and a couple of kids shooting water pistols so far.

So plenty of time to come still.  Wear clothes that you don’t mind being drenched, and keep valuables in plastic bags if you don’t want them to get wet.

Songkran

Songkran

entrance to Burmese temple

entrance to Burmese temple

Lorong Burma is still quiet

Lorong Burma is still quiet

Thai temple

Thai temple

in the Thai temple

in the Thai temple

sign requesting one to take off one's shoes - and another to beware of shoe thieves - hmm

sign requesting one to take off one’s shoes – and another to beware of shoe thieves – hmm

nice shiny dragon - it looks like everything has been spruced up

nice shiny dragon – it looks like everything has been spruced up

back in Burmese temple

back in Burmese temple

Burmese temple

Burmese temple

making food

making food

the only people so far having a water fight

the only people so far having a water fight

just in case you come unarmed you can get equipped on site

just in case you come unarmed you can get equipped on site

OK. And now I’ll go back again. Hopefully it will have kicked off.

at last, a water fight

at last, a water fight

water fight

water fight

Still very quiet today, even though it’s after 11AM.

Another visit later, a bit before 3PM, and it’s still very quiet.  All the action this time is in the Thai temple, across the road from the Burmese temple.

Usually a hive of activity, the Burmese temple is very quiet this year, almost empty

Usually a hive of activity, the Burmese temple is very quiet this year, almost empty

the water fights are at the thai temple

the water fights are at the Thai temple

IMG_5841 (Copy)

IMG_5846 (Copy)

IMG_5848 (Copy)

IMG_5853 (Copy)

IMG_5852 (Copy)

IMG_5854 (Copy)

IMG_5862 (Copy)

Gurney Wharf Project progress photos No. 2, 11th April, 2016

The Gurney Wharf project started at the end of February, 2016, which so far is manifested as putting a fence along Gurney Drive.  So I will photograph progress from more or less the same standpoint – in front of Bali Hai, which is around the middle of Gurney Drive.

View from across the road from Bali Hai

View from across the road from Bali Hai

 

view to the left

view to the left

 

view to the right

view to the right

 

further to the right is where they are currently constructing the fence - a bit pas Lorong Burma

further to the right is where they are currently constructing the fence – a bit past Lorong Burma

 

The climbers planted at the end of February at Gurney Roundabout have indeed climbed, and are now blooming

The climbers planted at the end of February at Gurney Roundabout have indeed climbed, and are now blooming

 

The climbers planted at the end of February at Gurney Roundabout have indeed climbed, and are now blooming

The climbers planted at the end of February at Gurney Roundabout have indeed climbed, and are now blooming

It has been dry and hot for months, and last night we had a big storm with lots of rain.  The first rain for a week or ten days. But this time it has stayed a bit overcast.  Perhaps the season is finally changing.

Gurney Wharf Project progress photos No. 1, 5th April, 2016

The Gurney Wharf project started a little over a month ago, which so far is manifested as putting a fence along Gurney Drive.  So I will photograph progress from the same standpoint – in front of Bali Hai, which is around the middle of Gurney Drive.

View from Bali Hai today

View from Bali Hai today

 

view from footpath across the road from Bali Hai

view from footpath across the road from Bali Hai

 

looking towards Gurney roundabout

looking towards Gurney roundabout

 

looking towards George Town

looking towards George Town

 

fence construction

fence construction

Penang clinic and hospital experience

I do not have much experience with hospitals and doctors as I live a very healthy life, so I was shocked to discover a medical problem appeared.

I went to a local clinic I’d visited before – the last time was five years ago, but I rarely need a doctor.  I was told the problem would disappear naturally – and I was given some pills, which, on checking, turned out to be a natural supplement and not a drug.  Cost, RM55.

As I had an upcoming trip I thought I’d get a second opinion.  I went to Gleneagles Hospital and saw a specialist in this field.  He was very thorough in his questioning and examination.  His diagnosis was that there was no alternative to surgery, and this would require a general anaesthetic.  It was not life threatening at all, but he booked me for surgery at 6AM the next morning and I was supposed to check in immediately to a hospital ward and stay the night. Thereafter I would have to stay one or two more nights.  I was in a state of shock at this, and the suddenness, the cost, and particularly the necessity for a general anaesthetic, and meekly went along with this, so I went to hospital administration to start the procedure.  The whole thing would be over in less than a day, though, which would be good.  Then I thought that I shouldn’t make such decisions when in shock, and when in an unfamiliar environment.  So I said I’d go home and think about it, instead of immediately checking into a hospital room there.  So I paid the cost of the consultation and medicine (the same pills as from the GP) – just under RM500 – so ten times the GP cost.  The price of the operation, though, was around RM15,000 for something taking less than 30 minutes.

At home I decided to get the opinion of another specialist, and proceeded to the Adventist hospital the next morning.  This specialist, who  had the same specialty as the doctor the previous day,  was also thorough.  His diagnosis was that I should take the same pills as prescribed as the previous two doctors, and that the problem would resolve itself.  Surgery was unnecessary, and even  if it were, there were various alternatives apart from the knife.  Cost for consultation was around RM150 with medicine etc. or three times the clinic, but one-third of Gleneagles.  Waiting time at Adventist was longer, though.

This has just occurred, so I will see how it goes.  I heard from another friend recently that it the problem disappeared by itself.   I  realise that unless something is very urgent it is important to not be rushed into something, but to go away and calmly consider the best approach.  I can always go back to Gleneagles if I need to.