Visiting Malacca or Melaka

I recently took what might be my last trip to Malacca. I’ve visited there eight times (I think), and I’ve enjoyed it each time. It’s a great place to take in some history, learn about the Portuguese, Dutch, British and how they elbowed their way into the spice trade. They’ve done a fantastic job developing the river area in the old section, plus you get to visit the vibrant and fun Jonker Street. Here’s a few shots from my trip. Yes, I bought some gula Melaka.

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Malacca River. Great for night time walks or a river cruise.

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Dutch built church in Dutch square. You can attend a service on Sunday morning.

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Here’s my crazy students touring the replica Portuguese ship.

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Up close.

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The tomb of famous Malay folk legend Hang Jebat.

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A typical Malacca building.

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From the rooftop of Hangout Hotel. Jonker Street in full mode.

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St. Paul’s church, built by the Portuguese in 1511. This is a statue of St. Francis Xavier, who was interred her for a time.

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Inside St. Paul’s.

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Malacca city from St. Paul’s hill. The lone standing gate of the old fort, Afamosa, is in the foreground.

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Beautiful Views from Back Home in Pennsylvania

I’ve shared many posts about the beautiful island of Penang where I currently live. And many have been announcing its accolades over the past few years because of its cultural heritage and terrific food.

Well, now I stumbled across a BBC article about an often overlooked million acres of outdoor ideal-ness called the Allegheny forest in north western Pennsylvania. I can attest to how special this area is. The article talks about route 62 from Warren to Franklin, PA, which I have driven dozens of times in my life, as being one of the most scenic routes in the eastern United States. I have to agree. The route hugs the Allegheny river most of the time and weaves through charming towns and beautiful country valleys.

About 15 years ago, I drove two of my Vietnamese friends through the forest, heading to Warren on a summer’s evening. We counted, if I recall correctly, 24 deer and numerous other small animal sightings during the one hour trip through the forest. They were amazed. I was amazed I didn’t have an accident.

I remember the family trips we took to Titusville to see Drake’s well, the first commercial oil well in the world. I remember walking the trails in Cook’s Forest, and standing on the dam at Kinzua.

If you like the outdoors, hiking, camping, exploring land which has changed little since the time of America’s founding, you should really spend some time in the Allegheny Forest.

Here’s the original article. Check out the beautiful BBC: The US One Million Acre Secret

 

Happy Merdeka, Malaysia!

Fifty-nine years ago today, Malaysia declared its independence from Great Britain. I remember the 50th anniversary like it was yesterday. Where did those nine years go?

But I thank Malaysia for all the wonderful memories during these past eleven years. It’s a truly unique and amazing place. Its diversity sets it apart, which makes all the fusion food second to none!

It’s been my home, so I’m happy to celebrate the day with the thirty million citizens of this unique country. Here are a few photos of my home away from home.

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Dutch Square - Stadthuys Ethnographic Museum on the right. Christ Church in the background.

Dutch Square – Stadthuys Ethnographic Museum on the right. Christ Church in the background.

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Accolades for Penang: My Home

I’m not one to share a lot of articles on this blog, but this one was too good to pass up because it speaks about where I have lived for the past nine years – the Pearl of the Orient – Penang!

2014 was certainly a banner year for Penang as the articles will highlight. It won 8 different prestigious awards or accolades that should make anyone sit up and take notice. I shall highlight two of them here. First, the food. Yes, it is that good. The variety, the flavors, the uniqueness. Wow! Nyonya – Chinese Malay fusion is stunningly delicious. The street food. Noodles. Curry. The Indian. The Thai. The Malay. I could eat a different food every night and be in flavor heaven. And the price is right! A plate of the famous char koay teoh noodles will cost you about 4 Malaysian Ringgit (approximately $1.20 US)

Secondly, I will mention #6 on the list – The Hard Rock Hotel. It’s kind of like my second home in Penang. I spend a lot of time there on the lounge chairs typing away on my laptop. Great place to write. And when I get hot, I jump in the awesome pool!

Penang is one awesome place. I hope you have a chance to visit some day.

Now on to the article: http://says.com/my/lifestyle/8-awards-in-one-year-no-wonder-penangkias-are-a-proud-bunch