When using

The Central to Mid-levels Escalator System, whatever you do, don't wail against the flow.

Also, it occasionally (and adorably) refers to itself as a "travelator."

And then this surprise came out

While in Mong Kok

Go for dim sum at a Michelin 2-star in a 5-star hotel two blocks away from the fleabag you're staying at.

A neon blur

Was how I wanted to experience HK. 

So far so good.

My hotel sort of wasn't where I thought it was, and then it was actually a different hotel, all of which had to be discovered through hand gestures and the universal sign for sleep (plus the words Wing Wah, as it turns out building names are much more useful than addresses), since there was no doorway on the street I expected to find it on.

I am staying in Mong Kok, a working class district that is one of the most densely populated areas of Hong Kong, and the heartland of the triad gangs.

Theoretical wifi

Webus is the wifi available on the bus system, but I have been having a helluva time getting it to work. Luckily, a kind young man has been helping me make sense of my map vs the bus map.

Also, on the flight here, I sat beside a Penangite who lives in Windsor... on Partington!



My first night in Penang, I had dinner with two guys who brought me to the New Lane hawker stalls. We had char koay teow and char koay kak. I failed to take pics.

My last day in Penang, I had the (in)famous teow from the Lorong Selanat lady. She was not wearing her usual goggles.

It was very very good, but at 10RM, I'd say you don't need to seek it out specifically.

For dinner, I finally managed to fun the kak guy I had been looking for (in all the wrong places). I got the large for, I think, 5RM. That I would recommend.

It's cocktail hour at the E & O

And everything is all right.


Religion and char koay teow

In Ipoh, for dinner, I wound up ordering char koay teow from a Malay (Muslim) hawker stall, which they recommended as their specialty. It looked like this:

Now, your standard ckt (this one happens to be one of the most famous in town) looks more like this:

The former was served in a brown soupy sauce that was heavy on the cockles. 

Cockles are typical, as are bean sprouts, flat rice noodles, shrimp, and eggs. 

But... the standard version is fried. In lard. And usually served with bacon or some other pork product.

None of which I considered before ordering my Ipoh char koay teow. 

Later, Souther, Hotter

For the record (and not to rub it in or anything) it has been stinking hot the entire time I have been here.

I even had a heat rash for the first ten days.

The old E & O

That's the Eastern and Oriental, if you don't know.
Pool, ocean, mountains.

I discovered it by accident, looking for ocean access one day, and dropped in for a tour (and to use the ladies, natch). It is a glorious old hotel, though I am staying in the new section, because how can you pass up a balcony like that?

Did I mention the bathtub? And the black and white checkered marble floor?

In addition to the ladies prayer room

I have run into a number of other quirks of being in a majority Muslim country.

Spare prayer rug.

That's the qibla in the ceiling, so you know which way to face (towards Mecca) when the call to prayer sounds.

And then there's this, but that's just a particularity of Malaysia.


Ipoh train station

New theory

Malaysia gained its independence in 1957.

This is where the automotive industry was at that same year:

Think that might explain why cities here are chopped up by highways and almost unnavigable on foot? (Last night, Googlemaps wanted me to hop a guardrail and dart across two onramps and two off ramps to get where I wanted to go.)

Forget KL, which is is nothing but highways proper - little Ipoh is bisected by at least two major 5-lane one-way arterials.

And somehow it's still easier to walk anywhere but Penang (where I have had it confirmed on good authority that the drivers really do gun for you).

Clearly a huge pipocalypse party

Will be happening here.

Book your tickets now.


Nasi kerabu

Which was named for me by two charming Malaysian foodies, who then proceeded to buy me dinner.


I would stay in the park and enjoy them a little longer, but there is lightening to the south and the Malay food of Kampung Baru calls.


The lights have just gone off

On one of the Petronas towers (at least the tiny tip I can see from here).

I know this because, having been captivated by the view of the towers from the remote area I stayed in last night for some reason, I am now obsessed. I wanted to enjoy a drink somewhere I could enjoy the view of the shimmering silvery spires, and the desk clerk here at my new hotel in a hip area offered me the use of the roof if it would do.

We checked it out, and as you can see, the view leaves something to be desired. So after some awesome curry mee

I went on a recon mission to see whether the bar with the reputed best view of the towers was really all it's cracked up to be.

It's not.

Not only is it (on Saturday night, anyway) an oontz oontz dance club, but the view is way too close.

So instead, I am up here on the roof.

Not at the fancy dance club, not down at the street party. Just up here in the blossoming rain gazing out at laundry and roof trees and the lights of one tower.


Not for eating

At KL's Chinatown wet market.

Nap time

For the construction crew.


I don't know I you can really see from the picture

But that entire string of signs there (stretching beyond the frame) is advertising gudeg restaurants.

Gudeg is the Jogja specialty I had once and was not wowed by, but I will come to this stretch of road next time and give it another shot.

For the record, it's made of unripe jackfruit that is boiled for hours with spices and coconut milk, and served with rice and (in my case) chicken or cow skin, egg and tofu. Mine also had something utterly bizarre that I could neither identify nor understand the word for.

I just did a search for gudeg + jelly like, and have found that that it might be sambal krecek. Which I couldn't figure out until I googled krecek by itself. There's your cattle skin for you! 

One terrifying thing that I will not miss

Is this:

It's not apple juice, as I had originally thought, extremely confused. These stands are really everywhere, and yet no one seems to be drinking apple juice. So why so many stands?

When I saw a motorcycle getting a fill up, I understood.

A slightly more sophisticated analysis

Of a a missing sense of direction in the Southern Hemisphere.

It is simplistic to ascribe the entirety of one's sense of direction to sunshine and shadows, though that certainly plays a role. My new theory applies that principle, but with the stipulation that one must have lost one's bearings (e.g., by taking the subway and regaining the surface (and therefore sunlight and shadows) from a different angle).

I did not get lost in Jogja, and in fact have the city (at least a large portion of the area encircled by the inner ring road) mapped out quite nicely.