Month: April 2018

Best of Penang – (Countdown: 15)

Living in Penang is a nicer than you expect as a visitor.  Here are some of the best things about living here.

  • If you live around Pulau Tikus / Gurney area you can walk almost anywhere you want to go – and there are footpaths
  • Grab is a very cheap way to get around when you don’t want to or can’t walk
  • It’s always t-shirt and flip flop weather
  • The people are friendly
  • The people are honest
  • The government leaves you alone
  • The police leave you alone
  • Motorists are not cash cows for the government
  • Parking is relatively cheap – RM1 per hour is a bit expensive
  • The cost of living is reasonable – especially some utilities like water and gas; and the cinema
  • Tropical fruit
  • Chip magazine, a Malaysian IT magazine, has become quite a good read
  • Almost any brand of smartphone is available
  • The airport is quite close and has some international flights
  • Some countries have consulates here
  • There are lots of festivals during the year
  • There are lots of different activities you can join in


Gurney Wharf Project progress photos No. 22, April, 2018 – (Countdown: 16)

I think progress is rather good.  Now the land has been created and filled in about as far as Pemenang Street – about two-thirds the way along Gurney Drive, with the exception of a channel of water between Gurney Drive and the new land.  On other parts they have dumped big piles of rocks – for the retaining wall? and big piles of sand or soil.

The plan shows that the area yet to be done is quite a bit wider and requires more in-filling. Still, it seems to be going well.  Here are a few photos:

looking out from Bali Hai

Looking towards Tanjung Bungah

looking out

looking towards George Town

Opposite Pemenang Road – more or less as far aas they have come

Opposite Pemenang Road – more or less as far aa they have come


Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – what’s growing in March / April 2018 – (Countdown: 17)

So, what have I learnt after seven years of seaside tropical garden pot gardening?  I would need to read all my blogs on this topic to recall.  Here are a few things, though.

  • So far I haven’t found anyone or anything that can offer good advice.
  • Get some plants from your neighbours if you can – if they grow next door you can probably grow them.
  • The plants that grow quite easily for me in pots and with sea air are:
    • Torch Ginger
    • Pandan
    • Hibiscus
    • Bougainvillea
    • Mock Orange
    • Duranta
    • Lemongrass
    • Lime tree
    • Blue pea
    • Papaya
    • Basil
    • Passion fruit
    • Canna lily
    • Mother-in-law tongue
    • Pumpkin
    • Neem
    • Curry plant
    • Aloe Vera
    • Plumbago
    • Roselle
    • Ginger
    • Tumeric
  • The plants I have had little luck with include:
    • Tomatoes – they grow from the compost, but at best supply one fruit, and then wilt and die. The one tomato is delicious, though.  Packets of seeds I have bought never did any better.
    • Rosemary – we kept plants for quite a whil, but some black bugs kept on attacking it, and it eventually succumbed
    • Root vegetables like carrots, potatoes
  • Some plants are only happy growing at ground level – others don’t mind balconies higher up etc.
  • Some plants seem to follow the northern hemisphere planting seasons
  • Composting works, so you can grow organically
  • Deliberately putting seeds into the compost is a good way to get them to germinate.  Particularly pumpkins and passion fruit.
  • Some plants don’t mind being transplanted, but some do. Papaya are better to seed where you want them to grow, for example.

We expected it to rain while we were away, but it didn’t so some plants suffered a lot and required heavy pruning and a lot of watering to help them recover. One of the lime trees was the most affected, and had to be the most heavily pruned. One basil plant died.  Others have all recovered.

Here are some of our plants:



mini-eggplant tree

crepe ginger

lemon grass

kobu lime

rosemary and grape, which grew out of the compost

basil and mother-in-law’s tongue


aloe vera

plumbago – pruned a lot due to dryness of weather


I don’t knw the name of this one


grape vine

various plants in lane

various plants in lane – citrus, mock orange, crepe ginger…


crepe ginger, curry plant…

papaya and citrus

lemon grass

small papaya

Bougainvillea and others

aloe vera

I don’t knw the name of this one, but it’s easy to grow and survies not watering well


lemon grass

I don’t knw the name of this one




young crepe ginger

crepe ginger

mostly mock orange

Canna Lily

lime tree

pumpkin vine

mung beans trying to germinate passion fruit

aloe vera




mock orange

lime tree


Footpath progress along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah / Northam Road and a bike path – (Countdown: 19)

This section, from outside Citibank to Gurney Drive appears to me to more or less finished, apart from beautification – which they also appear gradually to be doing.  And early this morning I spotted an MBPP employee sweeping tree leaves etc. off the new path near Northam Hawker Centre.

These are previously shown photos of the last section to be done.


same section from the opposite side

during the work

during the work

And the following are photos I took this morning:

Outside Northam Mansion

from the other side

And, as I suspected – this probably becomes part of the bicycle path that will  join with the George Town to Airport bicycle path.  These markings are shown on the path from the beginning of the road to as far as Citibank.

With this post this brings this topic to an end.