About being an expat

Walking in Penang for the non-suicidal – Walk 4 – Short walk along Sungai Pinang shore

A short walk along the shore.  Or a pleasant bicycle ride. The main feature is the view of the sea and bridge on your left, and there is also a Chinese temple at the end of the walk.  Hardly anyone is around, so it is quite peaceful. It is quite hot, though, so earlier in the morning, or in the evening may be preferable – or otherwise wear a hat.  You can buy drinks in the area.

Google maps is not up to date on this area.  It’s easy to get there by car by taking the Sungai Pinang turnoff from the coastal highway and turning towards the sea – left if you are heading south, and right if you are heading north.  Or alight from a bus and walk to the sea end of Sungai Pinang Road.

map of walk

I am starting this map from the north and heading towards the south. Right now you are on Sungai Pinang 8 Road.

Start of the walk

As you can see the footpath / bicycle path is very nicely done and maintained.  You just walk straight ahead.

view of bridge and Jerejak Island

After walking for a few minutes you come across a monument.


This comes with a plaque attached.


Across the road is a Burger King if you are thirsty.  Otherwise continue straight ahead until you come to a structure where the path turns right – as there is a canal immediately ahead.

unsure what this is

So, you turn right and continue up to the road.

head in this direction

On the way I saw this handsome beast.

he seems very docile

You cross the canal


and then turn left down toward the shore again.

heading back towards the shore

Once at the shore you turn right for the final stretch

final stretch

and in a few more minutes you come across a Chinese temple,

Chinese temple

and then the end of the path.

end of the road

There you find a nice rock.


Reading from the top down it says on the rock in Chinese, more or less, “Four Seas Dragon King”. You can peek through the rear wall at the temple, but the rear gate is locked.

temple from behind

This is the end of the walk.  If you want to see the temple you have to go around the front, which is quite a few minutes walk. This is the view from the front.

view of front of temple

Ich schreibe meinen Blog über Penang auf schrecklichen Deutsch – my German life in Penang

Neue Version – meine Lehrerin hat es korrigiert.

Es macht mir viel Spaß, Deutsch zu lernen. Eigentlich macht es mir viel Spaß, für mich Fremdsprachen zu lernen. Jetzt lerne ich Deutsch, und deshalb muss ich üben.

Ich möchte über mein deutsches Leben in Penang schreiben.

1. Zuerst versuche ich, zwei Stunden  jeden Tag Deutsch zu lernen.

2. Zweitens fahre ich samstags zur Malaysian German Society, um Unterricht zu nehmen. Vor dem Unterricht üben ein Kommilitone und ich eine Stunde, Deutsch zu sprechen.


3. Drittens lese ich ein bisschen deutsche Zeitschriften und sehe deutsche Filme ohne Untertitel.

4. Viertens mache ich zu Hause Sauerkraut und das essen wir mit Wurst, Kartoffeln und Bier. Wir kaufen die Wurst bei Tesco.


5. Fünftens essen wir manchmal in deutschen Restaurants. Im Moment gibt es viele deutsche Restaurants in Penang, aber ich esse am liebsten bei Ingolffs.

platter for two at Ingolfs - oops, in English

6. Sechstens trinke ich Bier auf dem Oktoberfest, das man hier im Oktober feiert. Es gibt verschiedene Oktoberfeste in Penang, aber das berühmteste Oktoberfest ist bei MGS. Letztes Jahr waren auch Oktoberfeste in E & O Hotel und anderen Hotels.

MGS Oktoberfest

viele Leute - MGS Oktoberfest, 2008

E & O Oktoberfest 2011

E & O 2011

And, in English, what I am trying to say in German:

It’s fun learning German. Actually I like learning foreign languages. Right now I am studying German, and I have to practice. So I want to talk about the  German part of my life in Penang.

  1. I try to study German for two hours a day
  2. On Saturdays I go to the Malaysian German Society for my German lesson. For one hour before the lesson I practice speaking German with one of my fellow students.
  3. I read German magazines a little, and watch German films without subtitles.
  4. I make sauerkraut at home and eat it with sausages and potatoes and beer. We buy the sausages at Tesco.
  5. We sometimes eat out at German restaurants.  There are many now in Penang, but I prefer Ingolfs.
  6. I drink beer at the Oktoberfest, which is held here in October. There are many Oktoberfests in Penang, but the most famous one is at MGS. Last year there were Oktoberfest celebrations at the E & O Hotel and other hotels.


Für mich ist es viel Spaß Deutsch lernen. Eigentlich, ist es viel Spaß für mich Fremdsprachen zu lernen.  Jetzt lerne ich Deutsch, und deshalb müss ich üben.   Ich will über mein deutsche Leben in Penang schrieben.

1. Zuerst, versuche ich zwei Stunden  jeden Tag Deutsch lernen.

2. Zweite, fahre ich am Samstags zu Malaysian German Society um meiner Lektion zu nehmen. Für eine Stunde bevor die Lektion, übe ich mit meinem Kommilitone Deutsch zu sprechen.

3. Dritte, lese ich ein bißchen deutsche Zeitschrifte, und sehe ich deutsche Filme ohne Untertitel.

4. Vierte, mache ich Sauerkraut zu Hause, und essen wir mit Wurst, Kartoffeln und Bier. Wir kaufen die Wurst bei Tesco.

5. Fünfte, essen wir manchmal in deutschen Restaurants. In moment gibt es viele deutsche Restaurants in Penang, aber ich esse lieber bei Ingolffs.

6. Sechste, trinke ich Bier in dem Oktoberfest, dem in Oktober hier feieren. Es gibt verschiedene Oktoberfesten in Penang, aber das berühmtesten Oktoberfest is am MGS. Letztes Jahr waren auch Oktoberfesten in E & O Hotel, und anderes Hotels.

Japanese note / 日本のノート; 盆踊り

Checking my blog statistics I was very surprised to note that I had such a large number of visitors today. And the majority were from Japan.


I don’t know why. I haven’t written about Japan, or in Japanese. I did write about Korean food, though.

So, I will mention a couple of things concerning Japanese. Tomorrow, Sunday 25th March there is a Japanese theme at the monthly Upper Penang Road market.

A lot of Japanese do live in Penang.  More Japanese took up the MM2H visa than any other nationality last year. And many live here on tourist visas for part of the year, and live in Japan for the rest of the year.

Otherwise, my favourite Japanese restaurant here is Miraku, in the G Hotel on Gurney drive. Miraku details. But for all you can eat salmon sashimi, then the E&O lunch buffet is probably impossible to beat.

And my favourite Japanese event of the year is the Bon-Odori festival, held around mid- July.

A couple of photos from last year’s event.

Bon Odori


Walking in Penang for the non-suicidal – Walk 3 – Kek Lok Si

This is a walk up to Kek Lok Si (Temple of Supreme Bliss).   It the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia, apparently. We started from the bottom at 11.30AM, browsed at everything on the way up, and were back where we started at 2.30PM.  Mind you, it only took about 15 minutes to get from the top to the bottom, including a short wait for the inclinator.  You can, however, drive all the way to the top, and park there.  But then, it’s not a walk, is it?

This temple is really popular at night time during Chinese New Year.  Really, really popular.  It’s beautifully illuminated, and worth seeing despite the crowds, traffic, and impossible parking,  at this time if you can.  Well, we did that, once. But for this walk we chose a weekday morning, with only a few tourists and a few locals around. (In fact, it was the day of the spring equinox, when spiritual powers are much stronger.) Rain threatened, but there is plenty of shelter so we didn’t bother with umbrellas.

You can drive there in perhaps 15 minutes from George Town, and park legally on the roadside on Jalan Pasar if you can, or in one of the car parks – the latter being quite expensive.


Or you can catch the 203 bus from the Jetty, alighting once you see the RHB Bank on your left.

RHB Bank

It feels quite rural here.

Air Hitam

Turn left up Jalan Balik Pulau, and on the bend in the road, on the left you will see a covered walkway, which you follow to the top.

Take this walkway to the left of the shop

There are many shops on the way…


half of them selling t-shirts…


If you look down to your right you will see a place where they seem to be making Buddhas.

making Buddhas

So, first you come to Liberation Pond.

Liberation Pond

You can feed the turtles here. RM1 for some green vegetable they seem very happy to receive.

lots of turtles

Here are more photos of a few of the scenes you will see on your way up.


Walkway up.

walkway up

a Buddha

more Buddhas

You come across some wishing ribbons. For a RM1 donation you can choose what you want to wish, write your name on it, and then put the ribbon on a “tree” behind.

wishing ribbons

As you are facing this temple, go to the right to head towards the pagoda. You’re getting closer to the pagoda now.

approaching the pagoda

It cost you RM2 to enter the pagoda grounds.


The gardens and plants are well maintained.


You can climb up several flights of steps to near the top.

it's not too strenuous

There are some nice tiles on the walls – here is one example.

one of the wall tiles

You need to retrace your steps a little past the wishing ribbons, through another shop to the inclinator. This costs RM2 one way. You can walk instead, but they told me it is 2 KM.  I find that very hard to believe.

the inclinator car

It is quite steep, however.

up we go...

There is a nice view up there.


And nice gardens.



And then the star in the distance.

pavilion and goddess, inside

And the goddess.

Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy

Returning is simply a matter or retracing your steps to the bottom.

It’s foggy in Penang today

It all starts with a note in the letterbox in the morning.

notice from MPPP

A neighbour kindly translates.  The local council will carry out one of its periodical “fogging” operations.  They will come sometime today and spray vast amounts of insecticide to kill mosquitoes, and thus hopefully reduce or eliminate malaria and dengue fever.

The first thing you hear is some strange sound.  Like a deep roaring annoying engine.  And you go and look outside to see an encroaching fog.

the fog comes

The smell is not too bad – but you imagine that it’s toxic, so you race around and close all the windows.

Dengue busters

They will come in and spray your garden, too.

Take that, mosquitoes

Despite closing the windows the spray seeps in.

visibility reduces

and they disappear into the fog

zero visibility

N.B. I like to wash the plants down a while later, as I think they don’t really like the spray.

From Penang to Singapore by train

If you want to know about train journeys, it’s hard to do better than looking at The Man in Seat Sixty-One.

This is a short account of my trip to Singapore by train in October 2011. The train trip went smoothly, and was interesting.  I am glad I did it. I am not sure I would do it again, though.

I booked seats through the Malaysian Railway’s (KTM site)- basic but functional. The prices were very reasonable. And anyone, Malaysian or foreign, over 60 years old gets a (50% discount) on all classes. I had to make two bookings for the return trip: Penang – Kuala Lumpur return, & Kuala Lumpur to Singapore return.

The train departs from Butterworth, on the mainland, the station being close to the ferry terminal. From home to the ferry was a few minutes by taxi.  Then you follow people to the ferry, as there is no real signage.

The “waiting room” for the ferry to Butterworth.

It seems the ferry goes every 10 minutes or so.  It’s free to Butterworth.

Continue reading on my new site: http://tropicalexpat.com/from-penang-to-singapore-by-train-2/

Roller blades to Reiki – my spiritual journey

A few years ago I was living and working in central London, and enjoying most of what London had to offer.

Every (week) day I walked to work across Hyde Park, and had to cross Park Lane at the traffic lights at Upper Brook Street.  These lights are very long, so I used to ask for the timing to be right each day so that I arrived at just the right time for me to cross all the way to the other side.  And this is what happened – perfect timing to cross almost every time.  And I said, “thank you” after. But if I forgot to ask, a long wait. I didn’t realise it, but I was asking my guardian angel.  This is a topic of another blog.  But a small start towards spirituality.

Walking across Hyde Park

Being bored with jogging, I bought some roller blades and while practicing in Hyde Park one morning had a spectacular accident, and landed on my hip. I was limping around and walking with a stick, and it wasn’t getting better.

Physiotherapy helped, but after many consultations with doctors, and many x-rays and cat scans the best they could suggest was a hip replacement. But these only last 15 years, so I would have to have several operations throughout my life.

At this time I discovered acupuncture, and it was the first treatment that really helped and gave me hope. But it was expensive to continue for too long.

Soon after I moved to Malaysia, hoping the tropical climate would help.  The type of acupuncture I was receiving was not available in Penang. Then I heard a gentleman called Lee Crock talking on a podcast about an electrical device he sold called an energy cleaner.

energy cleaner

I corresponded with him a couple of times, and he said I could do the same with my hands as with his machine, but the advantage of his machine is that it requires no effort – and it can be used while sleeping, too.  I tried the procedure with my hands, and it worked, so I bought the machine and used it for a few months several hours a day – and still do now, several years later, while sleeping.  I still use the procedure with my hands sometimes. I recently learnt he passed away, about two years ago,  in 2010, and his web page no longer exists.  Anyway, I gradually got better, and returned to normal.  I could walk properly, and even run.

So, now I had found that I can use my hands to heal, and also a small electrical device.

Then a friend told me of some Reiki classes I could take locally, so I took several classes in 2010, practiced,  and became a Reiki master.  This is using universal energy for healing, and I use it on myself and on friends.  Mostly I use it remotely – it doesn’t matter where your subject is – with you, or 10,000 miles away.  Now I use it every morning, before I start the day.

Listening to another podcast while making a trip by car in Malaysia I first heard Dolores Cannon talking about past life regression therapy.Podcastsweb page The purpose of life is to experience – and while alive to help others.  You have perhaps 600 to 800 lives, until you have experienced all and have learnt what is necessary, and worked out the karma you have accumulated, and then you ascend, and no longer need to do this.   If you did not live a good life, then you will have more karma to work off in following lives.  Reincarnation is part of Buddhism and Hinduism, and was part of the doctrine of early Christianity, it is said, and in some groups it was still espoused a millennium later. See p14 for reference to reincarnation.

Dying is not a scary thing. There is no hell. You don’t suffer when you die, but go to a nice place accompanied by someone you know, see people and pets who have passed away that you’d like to see, and pass time very pleasantly.You review your life and what you learned.  At some stage you need to go into another life, and before doing so make a “soul contract” on how you will pass the next life, and when you will die etc.  Your soul goes into a body at birth, at which time the “veil” comes down and you cannot recall past lives, your contract, or anything.  But you have free will, and you don’t know your soul contract, so you may or may not more or less fulfill  the contract during the life.

There is karma you have to work through. And in some lives you will be a good person, and in others a bad person.  You will have lives where you are rich, others where you are poor, etc.  This gives a different slant on life. If someone is evil or does you wrong it is not up to you to punish them – they will have to work off the karma by doing good either in this life or a future life(s).  If you envy someone something, you can think it’s just their turn to experience having that appearance, talent, wealth or whatever it is.

What regression therapy does is use hypnosis to learn about significant past lives that are causing a problem in this life for a person, and then having the unconscious mind understand and eliminate the bad effects, and having the unconscious heal the person.  It can heal almost anything except
schizophrenia, and can’t so easily be used for children.

So I did a course with Dolores last year.  I have degrees in psychology, and have done hypnosis in the past, so it fits in nicely with my background.

So now I continue with meditation, Reiki, and regression therapy… And all this really started with an accident in Hyde Park one morning.