The Blue Mansion

This morning we visit the Blue Mansion; home of a Chinese gentleman who as a child, did not speak until he was eight years old. When he began to talk, he informed his father he would be a wealthy businessman (or so the myth goes). He married into a wealthy Indonesian family, and from that he had the platform from which to prosper.

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A rickshaw (pre-bicycle era) adorns the front porch. Now they are called trishaws because of the three wheels.

Butterflies and lizards

Today we went over to the Penang Butterfly Farm which was near the Penang National Park. The butterfly park was nice and we got to see all sorts of insects including a live Atlas moth that was probably 10 inches across. Below is a Malaysian leaf insect that mimics a leaf with nasty mold growing on it. It rests quite still during the day so it does not attract any birds.

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Afterwards we went for a hike in the park, and took the canopy tour, which was brief and we did not see anything up in the canopy, but it was fun.

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On the way back, we spotted a monitor lizard on the beach. This was no chameleon, or even iquana-sized reptile. It was 6 feet long and not particularly afraid of any of the people. It was munching on a dead fish on the shore.

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In the evening, we went out shopping, and in the mall, there was a 3d painting on the floor where you could snap a photo.

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Malacca – Old and New

We left Malacca days ago, but I am finally writing. It is quite the Malaysian town, and quite historic with its 500 year history. After getting UNESCO world heritage status, the visitors began coming. Now, the local advertisers have begun to exploit the opportunities, and the place is getting a surreal combination of old and new. Take for example the Mr. Potato (aka Pringles) signage as you enter the historic area. Asia is full of such contrasts.

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Malaysia Mosque

Islam is the national religion, though they tolerate other religions in Malaysia. very well, actually. Anyway, on the way to the Kuala Lumpur airport, I asked the driver to go by the national mosque in Putra Maya which is where the state offices and prime minister are located. Here is a photo of this spectacular building.

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Here is a photo of the prime minister’s building, like the White House.

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Kuala Lumpur – Food

The mixture of cultures in Malaysia makes for incredible cuisine, with foods, spices, and techniques combining in very interesting ways. Here are some images of the sort of dining opportunities. We went over to Jalan Alor, a restaurant row in an area between Chinatown and the Petronas towers. It’s a giant street food fest, which makes for great atmosphere as the area is alive with people enjoying the varieties of foods. The “restaurants” (if you want to call them that) are really outdoor hawker stalls with seating/tables. Some are large and some are not.

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This evening (which was two nights ago, but I was too tired to blog) we had satay so to speak. Vegetables and meats on sticks with sauces. Here’s an image of the hawker stall from which we chose our food.

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We had a plentiful variety of sticks which are color-coded by price. We had green beans, baby bok choy, corn on the cob, broccoli, chicken, and a whole lobster. We had been walking for hours, so we were pretty hungry. The total cost was about $12 each, though we probably ate a bit too much. The peanut sauce and hot chili sauce was great. The chicken, corn, and lobster were all grilled while the veggies were boiled in chicken broth.

We had come there a couple of nights before, and had straits Chinese at one of the other restaurants. This time the dishes were vegetarian except some grilled pork, which are below. These were good, but not as good, in my opinion, as the satay which was excellent.

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