Popping up to Penang


I’ve learnt that when chums visit you have to stop lolling around on the sofa and go off and do a bit of sightseeing.  So when Caroline came to stay, once we’d exhausted the possibilities KL has to offer, we popped up to Penang for a couple of days.

We found the most wonderful cake shop in the whole world –

and this was only half of their selection!

In Singapore celebrities get orchids named after them, but in Penang internationally renowned cake-eaters are honoured in a much more fitting way  –


We went to see the beautiful Blue Mansion which was built in the Nineteenth Century by Cheong Fatt Tze – popularly referred to in his time as the Rockefeller of the East –

We were told that he started life as a dirt-poor Chinese immigrant, working as a water carrier, but was fortunate enough to marry the boss’s daughter, and his father-in-law then bankrolled his business ventures.  This sounded about as likely as a Downton Abbey storyline to me – especially since the guide told us that Cheong’s only interest in his own daughters was the alliances he could make by marrying them off to his associates.

But he did own a house that was recognised as being Feng Shui Perfect by the experts.  They came and did a feng shui survey of the property, using this …

… which is a feng shui compass.  Seeing how archaic it looks, and thinking that it must be similar to reading runes or consulting the oracle at Delphi, I googled it to see how people would have used it – only to learn that there is a feng shui compass app that you can download onto your phone …  not quite so archaic, after all.

Travelling with an artist, I have learnt to wait patiently while artistic photographs are taken, both indoors –

and outdoors –

and to admire all sorts of artistic creations, including …

… a cappuccino in the shape of a rabbit.

And to have beautiful batik creations drying on the clothes rack –


I did try to join in, by sketching a self-portrait on the tablecloth with the kiddies’ crayons –

– but it didn’t get the recognition I felt it deserved.

Oh well, I shall go back to the cake-eating, as that’s what I really do best.