Attraction

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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partial eclipse of the sun in Penang

Currently we are experiencing a partial eclipse of the sun – which started around 7.26AM.

Begins: Wed, 9 Mar 2016, 07:26

Maximum: Wed, 9 Mar 2016, 08:24

Ends: Wed, 9 Mar 2016, 09:30

It was cloudy around then, which is also more or less when the sun appears over the horizon, so I couldn’t see anything. But around an hour later the clouds cleared for a while, and I could see the maximum point. Then it became cloudy again. Here are a few photos:

monitor lizards up for sunrise

monitor lizards up for sunrise on the Gurney mudflats

 

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above – 8.20AM

 

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8.24 - the maximum

8.24 – the maximum

 

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8.25

 

 

for that late autumn feeling in Penang…

If you would like a bit of that late autumn feeling in Penang, although admittedly rather too warm for autumn and it’s February, head over to the small river near Sussex House.  Cross the river on the bridge from the Sussex House car park…

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the bridge you cross

… and you can wander among the bare deciduous trees with their fallen  leaves underfoot.

desciduous trees

deciduous trees

crunchy fallen leaves

crunchy fallen leaves

desciduous trees

deciduous trees

warm "autumnish" sunshine

warm “autumnish” sunshine

warm "autumnish" sunshine

warm “autumnish” sunshine

Big things

I like big things. There are not so many in Malaysia, but in Australia you can find a great many. Including the Big Pineapple in southern Queensland.

Thus I was excited to find a Big Pineapple in Gurney Paragon last week. It’s part of some Sponge Bob attraction there. As of yesterday it was still there.

Big Pineapple front

Big Pineapple front

Big Orange?

Big Pineapple back

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Big Orange? er strawberry?

My favourite trips in Malaysia (from Penang)

Sitting here right now gazing out at the grey skies and the drizzle, I am thinking of my favourite trips in Malaysia. And of what I have yet to do and see. I won’t bother with more photos as there are plenty in the links. After six years here this is what I think.

the beach

the beach

By far and away my favourite place is the Perhentian Islands.  The beaches are lovely, the sunsets can be stunning, and the snorkelling great.

Then comes Sabah – particularly a jungle tour to cruise the river and see proboscis monkeys.

After this, Langkawi, which we have visited many times.

Next would be a couple of nights in Malacca.  I don’t think there is so much to do or see, but the very centre is nice, and staying near the river is pleasant.

Then, a train trip – the quality of the rolling stock and service is very low, but it’s still fun, especially if it is the first time.  It could be the jungle line up to Khota Bharu from Gemas by day, or simply Penang to KL.

The next would probably be a few nights in KL – staying in a first class hotel.  First Class hotels in KL used to be very good value, but perhaps less so now.  Still, as long as you don’t really intend to get around by car much, as the traffic is terrible, based in a nice hotel near the monorail allows you see to a few fun things and eat some nice food.

Then the Bird Park in Butterworthor in KL, which is bigger but I don’t like as much – to see hornbills.

I also quite like a couple of nights in Ipoh. There are a few things to see nearby,

And an early start from Ipoh to Pangkor Island allows you to spend the day there without spending a night – seeing as the hotels there are pretty bad.

Then there is Penang itself – Little India in George Town, Penang Hill – walking up is better than the funicular if you have the energy and start at dawn – before the heat, Spice Gardens…

A nice drive is also from Penang over to Kota Baru. I’ve done this by car and by bus.

And what I have yet to do – while I have circled Malaysia by train I haven’t by car – I want to see more of the east coast beaches.  Then there are a few east coast islands to see – Tioman Island etc.

What I had expected to be able to do, and can’t is to spend time in the jungle and to camp. Mosquitoes and other biting insects are the main problem, with heat and humidity secondary.  Locals think you are crazy if you want to camp, and they are right.  It is unlikely you’ll get malaria or dengue, but the more mosquito bites you get, the greater the chance.  So stay in hotels, wear long sleeves and trousers at dawn/dusk and where mosquitoes are – but generally, stay away from places where mosquitoes are.

I’ll report back when there is something to add to the list.