Posts Tagged With: Penang

Monkey business in Malaysia

Still floating on my cloud-o-joy from the previous day, I reconnected with Brian. He’s the energetic owner of the Green Forest Cafe.

20121030-203757.jpg

I had mentioned my craving for more mental stimulation and active movement. Before I knew it, he closed up shop and set the day ahead full of fun surprises.

Activity #1
A beautiful walk up one of Penang’s hill that brought jungle, ponds, monkeys, trees, orchids, and more!

20121030-203922.jpg

20121030-203931.jpg

20121030-203940.jpg

20121030-203945.jpg

20121030-204006.jpg

20121030-204020.jpg

20121030-204137.jpg

20121030-204144.jpg

A fun sitting pose after finding a great spot for the handstand picture… and a great head stand from Brian too! Did I mention it’s his 43rd birthday today? Happy birthday friend!

20121030-204638.jpg

20121030-204651.jpg

20121030-204737.jpg

Activity #2
We headed to an outdoor public park that provides a range of free options for all ages.

20121030-204246.jpg

20121030-204252.jpg

20121030-204315.jpg

20121030-204323.jpg

20121030-204335.jpg

A skate park next to a set of graffiti walls. Seriously! Instead of discouraging local artist, they provide a clean canvas and a viewing site.

20121030-204408.jpg

20121030-204423.jpg

20121030-204428.jpg

20121030-204440.jpg

These are rocks imbedded into the ground that you walk laps on for foot reflexology. With the different shapes, sizes and sharpness, each stone stimulates points on the bottom of your feet that are supposed to activate nerve points to naturally break up acid build up and rid of body ailments.

20121030-204926.jpg

20121030-204933.jpg

20121030-204940.jpg

20121030-204947.jpg

20121030-204956.jpg

Activity #3
Aerobics in the park! Free instruction for the community to come out and get their heart rate up. This should be offered in every city! The music ranged from authentic Indian beats to North American country, Bon Jovi to gangster rap and my personal favorite of the day… Old school R&B funk!

20121030-205044.jpg

20121030-205057.jpg

20121030-205106.jpg

Towards the end, the instructor called Brian and I up to the stage to lead the cool down. I didn’t realize I was with a “popular one”, the crowd loved him!

20121030-205156.jpg

20121030-205205.jpg

Activity #4
After all the muscle and mind excitement we head for dinner and a show. This center provides vegetarian meals including rice, egg, tofu, curry sauces, vegetables, pancake breads, and more. Mango milk tea or water with your meal and the only price they ask is a contribution that you feel is necessary.

20121030-205300.jpg

20121030-205310.jpg

20121030-205316.jpg

The show? A set of traditional music, dance and performance by the locals. If you can imagine the brilliant sounds that mirror the colors and facial expressions of these magnificent people… I’m sure you can understand why tears would often peak from my eyes.

20121030-205355.jpg

20121030-205405.jpg

20121030-205430.jpg

20121030-205440.jpg

20121030-205447.jpg

20121030-205454.jpg

Three favorite special effects photos of the day! The first is a pond in the jungle followed by a monkey on a telephone wire. The third is looking back at Brian’s cafe from a balcony.

20121030-205644.jpg

20121030-205653.jpg

20121030-205708.jpg

This sign was at the park. Simply posted and well put.

20121030-205829.jpg

Categories: Edibles!, Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Volunteering in Malaysia!

I met Marcel while sipping a health shake from “The Green Forest”. (For more details of that magnificent morning, please see “A ray a green light in Malaysia” from the Edibles page).
He’s the smiling customer sitting at the bar in the blue shirt.

20121029-170035.jpg

During our breakfast conversation my volunteering came up and he said with a spark behind his eyes, “Next time you’re in Malaysia, let me know because I’m very active in the community and I could put you to work”. I responded with “Well then, what are the plans for today?”

After a quick discussion he gave me a meeting point and time. I instantly felt my mind and body fill of joyful excitement!

I met him at our spot and he tossed me a helmet, my first ride on the back of a motor scooter! A little unsure but thrilled for the experience I hopped on, let’s see where this goes. Ps, so much fun!

20121029-170130.jpg

20121029-170141.jpg

20121029-170148.jpg

He took me to a local shelter which was a safe place for street walkers, drug addicts, HIV patient’s, and others in challenging situations.

20121029-170216.jpg

20121029-170225.jpg

20121029-170235.jpg

20121029-170241.jpg

20121029-170255.jpg

Turns out they needed some hair services too! Although the following pictures are just me giving haircuts, I wanted to post each face as they all warmed my heart with their sincere gratitude.

20121029-170322.jpg

20121029-170335.jpg

20121029-170343.jpg

20121029-170354.jpg

20121029-170401.jpg

20121029-170411.jpg

20121029-170420.jpg

20121029-170425.jpg

20121029-170440.jpg

20121029-170446.jpg

20121029-170501.jpg

20121029-170513.jpg

20121029-170528.jpg

20121029-170535.jpg

20121029-170541.jpg

20121029-170549.jpg

After I had wrapped up the salon work, they invited me back to the area where the nurses and care takers gather. Without questioning, dinner was served with a portion of milk tea and more smiles. I really couldn’t tell you who was more thankful for this days events, them or me.

20121029-170653.jpg

20121029-170700.jpg

I’m not sure if it was the cloud I was floating on from the volunteering or the kind energy from Marcel, but I felt like my entire being was at peace for this moment. A safe ride back to my hotel and a hug of hope that we could work together again someday.

20121029-170740.jpg

As Marcel pulled away, I realized my “Thank you” seemed like an understatement for the amount of uplifting bliss that he brought to my time here in Malaysia.

So I send my gratitude once more… Till next time!

Categories: Edibles!, Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Penang part 1

I was craving some “lost in a city solo” time so I thanked Kuldips family for the incredible week and priceless local experience as they dropped me off at the central bus stop. I heard that the island of Penang was one of the most culturally diverse states here in Malaysia. Sounds perfect!

A few hours in this bus and after crossing one of the longest bridges in Malaysia, I arrive at my new destination.

20121027-142101.jpg

Cool effect pic from one of the bridges!

20121027-142349.jpg

I had done my research as far as the hostel location, however I was unclear on which inner-city bus to snag to get there or if a $40 RM cab was worth it. I asked a friendly employee who referred me to a kind gentleman that was escorting an elderly woman (his mom) next to a youthful boy (his nephew). He was so helpful by drawing a map, verbalizing detailed directions and making sure I knew where I was going, then he says “You know what, I’m going that way, would you like a ride?”
(Family, take a deep breath… He didn’t offer any candy).

I felt safe and it was either him or a random taxi guy, so off we went. I kept the map in my lap so he knew that I was aware of exactly where we were going. Upon arrival he thanked me for the great conversation and gave me the spare change from his car and said, “Please use this to call me from a public phone if you need anything at all, God bless.”

What a way to start my adventure in Penang! A quick shot of my room, with the balcony, private bath and a sign that isn’t necessarily “comforting”. But for less than $20 USD I get a glimpse of what it’s like to have own place for a minute… I’m like a teenager with parents out of town for the weekend, almost tempted to jump on the bed in my pj’s!

20121027-142443.jpg

20121027-142453.jpg

20121027-142512.jpg

I ordered a cup of hot water for some tea and this super cool thermos of boiling water came to my room, love it!

20121027-142624.jpg

Right away, I put down all of my things and go for a wander. I’ve been slacking in the “fashion from a backpack” section, so here’s a classic mirror shot of my comfortable outfit to hit the road in.

20121027-161808.jpg

In the actual order that I took these photos, here was my walk:

20121027-154645.jpg

20121027-154914.jpg

20121027-154928.jpg

20121027-154939.jpg

20121027-154950.jpg

20121027-154957.jpg

20121027-155003.jpg

20121027-155012.jpg

20121027-155023.jpg

20121027-155048.jpg

20121027-155144.jpg

20121027-155152.jpg

20121027-155200.jpg

20121027-155216.jpg

20121027-155229.jpg

20121027-155330.jpg

20121027-155342.jpg

20121027-155350.jpg

20121027-155406.jpg

20121027-155415.jpg

A couple of creative pics before the rain came…

20121027-155649.jpg

20121027-155938.jpg

20121027-160017.jpg

20121027-160037.jpg

I made it to the night market just in time before the streets got a proper soaking.

20121027-160202.jpg

20121027-160229.jpg

20121027-160314.jpg

20121027-160333.jpg

20121027-160402.jpg

20121027-160420.jpg

20121027-160430.jpg

This friendly guy caught me admiring his fresh fish stand.

20121027-160540.jpg

20121027-160546.jpg

20121027-160555.jpg

These are two random posters that made me smile. They’re promoting a japanese beer to Malaysians by hyping it as the #1 seller in the U.S.

20121027-162349.jpg

Are there curry fries everywhere?

20121027-162603.jpg

…and dessert for the walk home, fresh cut watermelon!

20121027-164557.jpg

Categories: Accommodations, Edibles!, Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

A ray of green light in Malaysia!

Hopefully it’s clear from my writing that I like to focus on the positive that surrounds my existence. From the vibrant people to exotic places, new food to priceless adventure, I hardly have anything to complain about.
So acknowledging that, please read the following post knowing that I mean it with love and great intention.

Something here in Malaysia that I’ve had a hard time adapting to is the eating habits. If you’ve been following my journey for awhile, you’ve seen my creative way to stay healthy by purchasing my own fresh food and choosing wisely with portion control if I indulge in local treats. The food here has a tempting aroma, the right price and a variety that lines the streets everywhere you go. The struggle I have, is the way it’s all prepared. Fresh greens and herbs? Yes! However it’s usually over cooked and covered in oil. Of course there’s fresh fish… deep fried. Rice noodles, egg noddles, flat noodles… accompanied with pork, chicken, fish paste, and more oil. Below is an example plate of fish, greens and grains. Doesn’t that sound like it should be full of nutrients, vitamins and goodies for your body? It was, until they prepared it. I also asked for a serving of “one person”.

20121023-101634.jpg

Here is a popular stand at the local night market. On a stick you can find a variety of tofu, vegetables, fish and other meats all prepared and ready to be cooked. When I say “cooked” I wish I was talking about grilled or steamed, but here is the deep fry station. You dip the stick in the oil and then finish it off with the sauce of your choice.

20121023-105847.jpg

20121023-105930.jpg

Time to turn this post around and introduce you to the ray of sunshine I stumbled upon…
As I walked down to the local market to pick up some fruit, I was taken back by the green walls and white teeth of smiles. What’s this?! A wellness cafe not only serving up aloe, tea and vitamin dense shakes but happy people chatting about a healthy world. Take a look around!

20121023-111302.jpg

20121023-111317.jpg

20121023-111353.jpg

20121023-111413.jpg

20121023-111450.jpg

The gentleman sitting at the bar is a native here and is beyond familiar with the local lifestyle. Marcel, a new partner in the world of health, found this little green heaven just in time after being diagnosed as a diabetic.

20121023-115442.jpg

Ironically I just saw on a local news report that over 60% of Malaysians aged 18 and up, had a BMI over 25. (A BMI of more than 25 means the person is overweight). Following that they explained that although North America has a higher rate obesity, Malaysia has a higher rate of diabetes.

20121023-114440.jpg

Meet Brian. He has a contagious love for nutrition and extreme desire to open the minds of the local people to a new way of living… Healthy!

20121023-110507.jpg

His enthusiasm towards health and his passion for life was nothing short of positive motivation! As I enjoyed my smoothy, he pleasantly shared his story from beginning to present and the journey that lead him here.

20121023-112020.jpg

20121023-112035.jpg

20121023-112100.jpg

20121023-112109.jpg

I don’t want to exaggerate numbers or dwell on percentages, I feel the point should be focused on necessary knowledge to create change. That my friends, is why I was so uplifted by this room full of kind hearts and energetic minds. Thank you Green Forest for the much needed and refreshing conversation. This also includes the scrumptious start this beautiful day!

20121023-115732.jpg

If you have any interest in contacting this ray of sunshine, please email me and I will connect you directly!

Categories: Edibles! | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.