Month: September 2016

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.

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

 

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Tesco in the background

 

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park and start walking from Straits Green

 

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I walked to Straits Green

 

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but watch where you walk – uncovered drains

 

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Straits Green car park

 

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a toilet block is there

 

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apparently they don’t want me to bring my goat

 

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

 

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here’s the path

 

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looking to the left you can see the sea

 

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there is a beach

 

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to continue just walk through here

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looking back to the beach from the path

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the new island they are making

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gate to Straits Quays

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gate to Straits Quays

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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.

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inside Straits Quays

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now past Straits Quays and continuing on

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

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you pass houses with pools

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George Town in the background

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view of another street on the right

 

 

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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.

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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

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.

 

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passion fruit

 

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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.

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CIMB octopus

 

Berlin Buddy Bears

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

http://www.buddy-baer.com/classic-buddy-bears/events-in-cities/berlin.html

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.

Esplanade

Esplanade

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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.

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

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Australia – by Ken Done

 

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Cuba, of course

 

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Iraq

 

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Ireland

 

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Malaysia

 

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Malaysia

 

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

 

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Berlin – behind

 

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Berlin – close up

 

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

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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.