I forget to mention another interesting story told to us by Commander Anderson yesterday. The Shop House adjoining the Old Hakka Miners club has been acquired by Ipoh World and is in the process of being renovated. It has an interesting history. The Hakka miners only ate meat (as witnessed by the old menu in the club). Dishes such as pigs trotter in vinegar (Commander Andersons favourite) steamed pork belly etc.
A Hakka man decided as only meat dishes (and Dancing Girls) were being served at the club that miners needed some herbs to make them healthier. He leased the shop house and in a giant wok (still there today) he began brewing herbal mixes and selling them from the shop. He became so successful with outlets all over The Old Town that he bought the Shop House. He continued to hand brew the herbal mixes and proceeded to take them to Penang, Malacca and Singapore. His mode of transport was a bicycle with saddle bags full of herbs! They don’t breed them like that anymore!
A word of warning for those of us westerners who eschew a healthy sun tan. Almost all cosmetic products have added whitener (Michael Jackson would have loved it here!). So far we have managed to steer clear of them.
Off to check out Hospital Fatima and the new express bus terminal. We decided against catching a bus to The Cameroon Highlands from the City Bus Station as all the buses looked a tad tired and were equipped with sick bags (the drivers have spare ones in case you fill yours!) and no air conditioning!
Made several phone calls to hard lines in Oz this morning. 8 minutes cost 1.6RM less than 60 cent Oz at the current exchange rate of 2.8RM to the Oz dollar. Just shows how the Ozzie Telco’s are screwing the Oz populace.
Just booked bus tickets to Butterworth for 22nd March at nearby Sri Maju bus terminus (privately owned bus line and large air conditioned buses, ideal for overweight white travellers). We will then take the ferry across to Georgetown.
Rash at reception gave us instructions and we walked there and back. On the way back we bought 3 small Paw Paws, a medium pineapple, 2 Fuji apples, 2 pears and a large bunch of bananas. All told weighed 5kg. Cost us 16RM or A$ 5.70! Erica is chopping up fruit for lunch. 35°C outside.
The French Hotel staff are wonderful and after our public bus terminal visit yesterday they recommended a taxi and driver to take us to the Cameroon Highlands in the morning. 400RM a bit costly but will enable us to visit things that suit us not the masses. Cost of bus and tours was over 160RM on public transport so we really only expended another 240RM.
Have been investigating real estate in Ipoh. It appears a Shop house would cost about 700,000 RM or around A$250,000. Terraced condominiums in gated security communities on the outskirts of Ipoh start at 500,000 RM (about A$180,000) up to around 680,000RM (about A$250,000) for 280 square metre luxury ones.
They are building high rise apartments around the city that are around 15 stories but I have no price information. The town is in the grip of change and now is the time to see it before it moves into the 21st century. Off to the Hawkers Street food market tonight.
Hawker’s food market was great. Had Indian dish with raw potato, cucumber matches and fried bits covered in a curry sauce? Tasted great! Next a Roast pork Won Ton Mee which consisted of a soup with pork won tons and a noodle dish with roast pork and cubes of crackly. Very Yummy. Could not help ourselves and had Chicken satay cooked over charcoal. Could have kept eating but walked back to hotel instead. Total cost for food was 15RM about A$5.30.
Booked our hotel in GeorgeTown in Penang for 6 nights from 22nd March to 27th. Coming back then to Ipoh and our room at The French Hotel!