Monday, September 16, 2013

Back to Penang After a Long Vacation

I haven't posted here for quite a while for a variety of reasons. Because of the extreme heat and humidity in the past few months I became quite lazy and didn't have the energy to write anything or even think. Then I returned home for a month long vacation.  So I am back to Penang and hopefully rejuvenated.

While back home in Upstate New York and Boston I thoroughly enjoyed eating a wide variety of food that I cannot find here. Penang has a variety of South Asian food and Chinese food, but lacks food from European and North and South American cultures. We had a chance to have some great barbecues, steaks, Alaskan King crab legs, Cajun food, Japanese, Italian, Mexican and Thai. Actually the Thai and Japanese food was just as good as we can find in Penang. We even had Malaysian food thanks to Kevin cooking Curry chicken for the family. But most of all, as usual, the highlight of the food treats was Boston lobster. We had our fill of lobster, cooked the right way, without being chopped up and smothered by sauces that hide the real lobster flavor. Best of all our lobsters, which would have cost RM 300  or $100 each, only cost $4.00 each and were plentiful. We had 6 people and 20 lobsters. We couldn't finish them all so we had them for lunch the next day.

One highlight of our vacation was a trip to Niagara Falls and the jet boat ride through the whirlpools near the falls. It was wet and fun,

Leaving for Penang at the end of our vacation I thought that the different varieties of food was the thing that I missed most, but I was wrong. One thing that I took for granted at home was the use of "real" napkins wherever I ate. Usually here, if you do get something to wipe your hands it is flimsy tissues. Also while home I forgot all about carrying packets of tissues when I go to the bathroom. But the biggest thing I miss is clean public bathrooms with real toilet paper!  I was welcomed back to Malaysia with a hurried visit to the bathroom at the Kuala Lumpur airport. There was one stall available, which I HAD to use. There was about an inch of dirty water on the floor and the toilet seat was covered in dirty, wet food prints! As I was leaving I heard an airport patron leaving one of the stalls swearing, as he had soaking wet pants from the wet floor. I said "welcome to Malaysia".

I had almost forgotten this incident when I visited Island Plaza this afternoon. Once again I had to make a hurried visit to a public bathroom as I was shopping at Cold Storage. I realized that I had not yet gotten back into the habit of carrying tissue with me, but due to urgent necessity I had to take the chance. Naturally there wasn't any toilet paper in the bathroom, but thankfully Guardian was close by where I purchased some tissues and returned to the bathroom. My luck again it was occupied. I had to wait. When I finally got in, things were back to normal - dirty, filthy wet toilet seats and a mass of water on the floor. Welcome back.

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