Bukit Genting Panoramic View

Good thing I brought my tripod along when we went up Bukit Genting. A single frame shot will not do justice to the scenery from up there. Even these stitched images do not tell the complete picture. Let me share what we saw atop the hill. Be warned: These are big files with very large dimensions.

Genting Plains

Teluk Kumbar

Tsunami File: Southwest Of Penang

This entry is one week late. I have been trying to blog in chronological order. I was totally exhausted after those few days in Gurney Drive and one full day visiting the tsunami hit areas of Pulau Betong and Teluk Kumbar. I tire easily and I am not getting as much rest as my body is screaming out for. I need to post those images before I leave for Kuala Lumpur. Wuan does not have broadband. It is a pain to upload a whole album of photos via dialup.

1306: There was nothing sweeter than home but we will not be able to enjoy the comforts yet. We came back just to drop off our luggage. Despite our cousin assuring us that she and her family were safe and well, Peter and I wanted to go see for ourselves that they indeed were.

1434: Peter stopped at the rest stop at the peak of Jalan Tun Sardon on the way to Balik Pulau. Wuan have not seen the panorama of Balik Pulau and Genting from there. It was hazy and the view was not exceptional. This unclear air had pervaded since the time we were at Gurney Drive. The blatant opening burning made it worse.

1449: We stopped at Balik Pulau town for lunch. Peter parked his car right in front of this house which still retained its antique door and facade. This is one of the few houses left in this town that is not renovated and converted into a business premise.

1451: Wuan had been hankering for her favourite laksa here for a long time. Unfortunately the stall was closed. She likes the Siam laksa cooked by the swanky aunty managing this stall. On the other hand, I abhor the place because it is usually swarmed with the biggest flies I have ever seen. I believe this laksa stall is popular with tourists because of all the publicity it has been getting in the press.

1510: We had asam laksa instead. This stall has been selling laksa here for as long as I can remember; and that is a very long time. Although I have to stop eating laksa now because of the fish (I am cutting down on eating sardines) and shrimp paste, I still will indulge in it once in a very long while. I like mine sour; Wuan like hers lemak.

1542: When we reached the Pulau Betong village, vehicles from the Civil Defence, a fire engine from the Paya Terubong Volunteer Fire Fighting Squad and two garbage trucks from the MPPP were parked there. The MPPP crew were busy loading the discarded furniture, mattresses and other objects damaged by the tidal waves into the truck. I waited in the car while Wuan went to take some photos. We then went to our cousin’s house which was quite far behind and was not affected at all.

1631: After leaving out cousin’s house, Peter drove us around the area for us to take in the idyllic vistas of stilted kampong houses, coconut palms and the leisurely pace of kampong life. This is the type of life I would like to live – the infrequent noise of traffic, the sweet melodies of nature, greenery all around and to be able to breathe unpolluted air. These kampong folks have it all.

1642: On our way back, Peter decided to make a detour and took us up to Bukit Genting. The view up there was still as scenic as when I first saw it except for the haze. Wuan had a merry time shooting the flowers and anything else that caught her attention. We had an early dinner there. I am not partial to Thai food and those that we ordered did not tantalize my taste buds one bit.

1856: We made one last stop at Teluk Kumbar to check on a relative of Peter’s wife. Apart from the pile of silt-laden belongings at the garbage dump, there were little suggestions that this place was inundated by the tsunami as well. We were told that truckloads of refuse had been carted off by the MPPP and the area thoroughly cleaned up and fogged.

2003: We reached home, tired but contented that Penang is alive and bustling again. At the same time, we silently mourned for the loss of life here and elsewhere and prayed that those that survived the onslaught of the tsunami will receive aid soon. We were only bystanders to this cataclysmic tragedy and can never fully grasp the grief of those who lost loved ones and all they ever owned. Humans are very adaptable creatures. We shall rise up again from the ruins and build a better world. This is evident by the outpouring of donations of cash and kind from all over the world. We shall persist. We shall overcome. We always had. We certainly can now.

* More photos are in the Gallery.

Gurney Getaway – Day 4 (December 30, 2004)

Sunrise at Gurney Drive
Sunrise at Gurney Drive.

0707: Wuan caught a few of these remarkable shots of the sunrise while I was still deep asleep. She is definitely a very morning person. All the sunrise shots for this trip were taken by her. She excitedly woke me up just to show me what she had captured. When I looked out the window, the sky was already bright and clear.

Bak Kut Teh at Gurney Drive
Bak kut teh at Zealand Cafe in Gurney Drive.

0856: On the previous mornings, Wuan and I had noticed that the morning crowd usually gathered in the coffee shops selling bak kut teh. This is a popular herbal soup cooked with pork ribs, pork and almost all the innards of a pig. It is served with either white rice or yam rice, crullers (ewe char koay) and bean cake (tau kua). It is true that we Chinese eat almost anything four-legged except tables and chairs. We thought it must be good since there were always sizeable crowds in the shops. However it was not as tasty as we had expected. We must have appeared odd photographing our food before eating it.

Feet of the reclining Buddha at Wat Chayamangkalaram
Feet of the reclining Buddha at Wat Chayamangkalaram in Penang.

0941: We went back to the Siamese temple to take a few shots that we missed for our own personal album. It was already crowded with tourists, mostly Japanese and mainland Chinese. Tsunami or no tsunami, Penang was still full of tourists. This photo is of the reclining Buddha with the motif of a wheel on the sole of his foot. I gathered that the eight spokes of the wheel represent the Noble Eightfold Path (Attha Sila) of Buddhism.

Gurney Drive Penang
Gurney Drive, Penang.

1205: It was time to leave. This had been one uneasy holiday. And I did what most tourists have done more often than me – visit the two Buddhist temples. I believe I have been there as a kid but I do not have any recollection. Now I can be certain that I have been there, thanks to Wuan. Everywhere we went in Gurney Drive, we overheard people talking about the tsunami, the earthquake and the rising death toll. Would we go come back again some time in the near future? Perhaps, just to see the Gurney Drive that I know before it is lost forever to the waves of development.

* More photos in the Gallery.