Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Return from America

It's been a long time since I have posted here, as I have been visiting friends and family in the US. This was Kevin's first visit to the US, so I was like a tour guide in my own country. We were in upstate New York (Watertown and The 1000 Islands Region) and in Boston. We returned last week, but we were overwhelmed by jet lag.

It was great to be with family and friends again and have Kevin meet everyone. Besides being with everybody, it was great to have some of the foods that I have missed while living in Malaysia. Eating real Italian food again was so great. So much better than the stuff they call Italian food here. We had rigatoni, manicotti, eggplant Parmesan, stuffed shells along with spaghetti and meatballs, sweet sausage, pork chops and pepperoni. We couldn't even find spaghetti bolognese on the menu. Thank God! We also had cannoli at the best Italian pastry shop in Boston's Italian North End.

My friend Angie, who is Greek, invited us over to her house for a wonderful Greek meal, which included Greek lasagna, appetizers and wonderful Greek pastries. I have never seen a Greek restaurant in Penang, so I really enjoyed having Angie's Greek food again. Beside having a lot of Italian food and Greek food, we had Mexican, Vietnamese, Cajun, Japanese, Chinese, Tex-Mex and traditional Texas BBQ. There were so many other ethnic cuisines to have, but there just was not enough time. We cannot find many of these foods in Penang, so we ate it while we had the chance. It was also nice to have real napkins when you ate out, instead of flimsy tissues or nothing at all.We also had a lot of home cooked meals thanks to my sister-in-law Debbie, my friends Donna and Linda. So much to eat, so little time.

Other than eat we went sight seeing, whale watching (we saw 1 whale and about 30 dolphins), fishing and of course a lot of shopping. Brand name goods are about 1/3 of the cost here in Malaysia, so we stocked up on many articles of clothing. Kevin had to buy another suitcase to fit all of his shopping items. He bought way more than I did. We both took many photos and Kevin plans to turn his photos into a book. The time spent back home was too short and we were both sad to leave everyone.

We got home after a 27 hour flight, with the longest leg of the flight having a spoiled brat who cried for 11 hours straight. When we got home we slept for 15 hours straight. I think we are both fully recovered from jet lag now.

We were welcomed back by torrential rains, heat and humidity, as usual.  Walking around the neighborhood I see nothing has changed. Not only have to 2 open manholes not been fixed after 2 months, but 2 more are missing across the street. I guess public safety is not a priority in Penang. My sinuses are acting up quite a bit and the pollution is still here. But that's one of the joys of living in Malaysia. Nothing as changed, but it is nice being back with friends here again.


  1. One of the reasons I chose not to live in Penang is the very bad pedestrian situation. Everywhere I went (other than the, what 5 block?, Gunsey Drive walk along the water) was pedestrian unfriendly. I saw at least 25 huge holes in the sidewalk with huge drops (and it was obvious fixing them was not something anyone had cared about for years). Also crossing the street in many places was very difficult (cross walks are very rare). And many places just don't have sidewalks at all.

    I chose Johor Bahru instead. It is much more pedestrian friendly. Though I have seen 2 or 3 big sidewalk holes and there are places without sidewalks (but there are many more sidewalks). Traffic is much less hectic too - much less.

    I still think Penang is very nice, but I think people are missing out, not looking at Johor Bahru. It is very nice and Singapore is right at your door. Both have lots of great food at good prices. Penang does have more very nice condos, but Johor Bahru has good options too (just fewer).

    Long flights are the worst - there are screaming kids every time. They need airline flights that are age limited (like those retirement communities) :-)

  2. Great post!!! And great food too!!!! Nice pics too. Closest 'decent' Italian for me here is Michaelangelo's in Gurney Plaza (opp. Starbucks). Greek, mmmm, not had pork affelia for looooong time, great washed down with buckets of retsina!!

  3. Thanks for the great replies. I will have to check out Michaelangelo's and also look at Johor Bahru. I love the idea of child free flights.

  4. I found this blog by accident, could not resist to ask you - are you from watertown of MA?

    I am a Malaysian who moved to Boston about 14 years ago, very surprised to find that you, a Bostonion moved to Penang for retirement! I miss Malaysia a lot and have been going home every year. I hope you enjoy your life in Penang, I always dream of returning/retiring in Malaysia when I grow older.

  5. Thanks Fiona. I am originally from Watertown, NY, but lived in Boston (Roslindale section) for many years. I hope your dream comes true.

  6. Thanks for your reply. I wonder if there are a lot of foreigners like you living in Penang? I heard from friends there are many Japanese retiring there.

  7. Yes Fiona there are many foreigners here. There are many Japanese here and very many British and Australians, but very few Americans.

  8. Thanks for the info. I understand the British and Australians since we were under British for many decades, but Japanese? Next time I go home for visit I should fly to Penang and find out more myself.

    When I lived in KL in the 90s, there were many Americans working there, and my home town (Sarawak) is a popular vacation destination for British and Australian, I guess these days it must be different...

  9. I received a comment from Craig, but for some reason it disappeared so I am posting in manually.

    "Try tarbush at Batu ferrenghi (middle eastern) or there is a vietnamese at e-gate near the old town."

    I have tried Tarbush and liked it very much. I was very disappointed in the Vietnamese restaurant, however.