Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Penang Rawks

Admittedly, on the entertainment front, Alor Setar is so so stale. Mercifully, Penang is able to fill the vacuum, and it is little wonder that all of us have a soft spot for the pearly island and its capital George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage City. In George Town, the dilapidated second-hand bookshops on the first floor of Chowrasta Market is one of Papa’s regular haunts. After several visits, the book dealer knows exactly Papa’s reading genre, and he often sets aside hard-to-find travel and lifestyle magazines to enrich Papa’s eclectic magazine collection.
Mama, on the other hand, loves to frequent Kenko to partake in reflexology and fish spa therapy. While both of them indulge in their simple pleasures, my siblings and I take the opportunity to spoil ourselves by watching the latest 3D movies at the Golden Screen Cinema, Gurney Plaza. The pamperings are invariably packed with a walk about the food trail and the heritage trail to savour Penang's glorious street foods and ogle at the old buildings, unravaged by time and the Barbarians.

In the later part of 2009, Penang's magnetic pull is bolstered by another irresistable attraction. The Hard Rock Hotel in Batu Ferringhi (formerly Casuarina Beach Resort), the third in Asia after Bali and Pattaya, is a highly sought after place to escape to.

The hotel is adorned with mosaics, statues and memorabilia associated with the Fab Four. They are all over the place; on the wall, on the roof top, in the teens club and even inside the guestrooms.

The Penang Hard Rock Hotel seems to translate the 1Malaysia concept to a tee, as reflected in the staff mix and the muhibbah local guests. The foreign visitors are also diverse and serbanika.

At night, when the poolside and beachfront are deserted, guests decamp to the Ferringhi night market, a walking distance from the hotel, for a bout of shopping. Here one can find DVDs of all time movie classics such as Breakfast at Tiffany's sell for a mere RM4. Rockers who find the pasar malam ambience tiresome make a beeline and converge to the hotel’s lounge lobby to listen to a lissom and energetic warga emas belting out Mick Jagger’s I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, with lips pouting, head banging and all, accompanied by sing along choruses from the appreciative young-at-heart audience. While we still can’t get enough of HRH, for our next trip to the revitalised Penang, Papa is already persuading us to try a new "fun" venue, next to the Methodist Boys School. Haiyaa.

And finally, for the record, here are my family members previous encounters with the Fab Four and Hard Rock, taken almost a decade ago in London.


Naz said...

Ini yang buat I nak balik pulak ni! ;D
Beautiful shots, btw.

GUiKP said...

Balik jangan tak balik Naz. Taste la d place. The children can gedik and kekwat to their hearts' content.

Kak Teh said...

GUiKP,i left Penang so long ago and during the recent trip tak sempat nak pi. I like penang,i think i sort of grew up during mhy one year there.

GUiKP said...

I teringin nak bawak you and AG jalan-jalan cari makan dan bertemasya di Penang. Habag la bila nak mai belah utagha lagi.

Al-Manar said...

'On the entertainment front Alor Setar is so stale' is your openning. Then I notice the beautuful picturs of Hard Rock Hotel and all. Have pity on those living where I am. Where do I go to, Pulau Wan Man or Pulau Redang? The latter is promised to be the five star staff. If Hard Rock Hotel is not one of them, Pulau Redang will be mightier than Penang, and you will then envy Pakcik!

GUiKP said...

Sounds like Pulau Redang will be turned into a private island, and an exclusive playground, for the super rich, not unlike Pangkor Laut. The wealthy people are not filthy, and do not pose a risk to the environment. Sorry, don't buy that.

We have never been to Redang or Perhentian. Papa once stayed in Marang and Pulau Kapas during his bachelor days. The semutar-clad folks played dam at the warung kopi using tudung botol and the ferry plying Marang-Kapas had this notice displayed, to remind visitors the do and don't: DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING EXCEPT PHOTOGRAPHS AND DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING EXCEPT FOOTPRINTS.

Yes it was unspoiled charm then.

I'm pleased to see that they are still nice spots available to the public along the Tanjung Bungah-Ferringhi- Teluk Bahang stretch. For day trips, we always come to these places to let the younger children main ombak while we enjoy the laksa and rojak buah. From where we are, we can see the graceful Gunung Jerai. I hope these people's playgrounds are not taken away by the environmentally-friendly elites (big yawn).