Saturday, February 09, 2008

A drive across the border

Tonight, two rare occurrences (for this holiday) have converged: we don't have anyone to visit, and I have reliable Internet access. The result: two posts in one day. Whee!

Pictures from the 31st of January and the 1st of February, 2008.

On the last day of January, we went across the border and visited a town in East Malaysia for some shopping.

But first, a brief stop to fill up the car with petrol. My cousin's husband, who is from the UK, says that he feels like weeping when he sees how cheap fuel is here. I feel a little teary myself when we go past this petrol station.

Premium unleaded is under AUD$0.50 a litre. Sigh.

The drive is filled with contrasting images.

Should I stay ...

... or should I go?

We visited a Chinese medicine/herbalist/health food shop in a shopping centre, where I picked up some very reasonably priced Japanese green tea, and my parents bought some essence of chicken.

Chicken essence is a popular, dark, salty drink sold in glass jars that is very popular in South East Asia. I think it tastes awful but it is believed to have almost miraculous properties, especially around exam time. That's when parents force it down their children's throats so that they can concentrate better on their studies. I think one jar is equivalent to one chicken. Or something. Beurgh. I'd rather eat the chicken. In fact, isn't fish better for the brain? Why not just give us some Omega-3 capsules?

A sample of what we saw on the shelves.

The following two items are a common sight in Chinese medicine shops.

Sharks' fins for soup.

And yes, I do believe that those are bits of Bambi's bits. This is the first time I've seen these, actually.

This cafe has a slightly amusing name.

Well, I thought it was funny.

We brought back some of my favourite kuih (sweet snacks) to munch on.

Left: kuih sapit. Right: kuih jala. Both have a sweet, nutty taste and crunchy texture. The one on the left is a little more milky in taste.

This is called ham chim peng in Cantonese (I think). It's like a savoury doughnut. The darker bits in the spiral are five spice powder and some salt. My mother sliced it in half before she realised that I wanted to take a photo of it.


We accompanied my aunt to a furniture store that had, amongst other things, these ridiculously rather ornate shelves.

I firmly believe that Grecian columns belong outdoors but I may be in the minority here. And the shelf on the left looks like it came from Narnia. But not in a good way.

I can't put my finger on it, but this table makes me want to do pelvic floor exercises.

And finally, a little treat.

Shredded dried squid cooked with sugar and salt is a tasty snack, but what grabbed my interest was the writing on the packet.

On the top right it says, "Come from the Japanese and the deep sea squid", which is an Engrish gem in itself, but on the top left is where the true genius lies.

"Have it, you'll have the world give you endless pleasure."

... which is, of course, what I wish for all my readers.

Gong xi fa cai, xin nian kuai le! Happy Chinese New Year!


Anonymous said...

cool, i had to ask a biomed major about the conversion but it seems the gas where you are is about the same as here. i'm not sure about malaysian conversions, though...

i love engrish. it's my dream to see it in person one day. ^_^

Blandwagon said...

I like the ruins of the Great Bookcase of the Acropolis. Where else would the ancient Greeks keep their DVD boxed sets and copies of hard-bound Bryce Courtenay novels?

Anonymous said...

Hi Spunky! Good to see you back on the Blog again. Sad that you aren't home now that I have returned from my adventures. Love the food pics, I have some good ones from Vietnam and Cambodia to show you! Like whole roasted dog! My brother ate that quite happily, and rat and durian! Well have fun in your travels and I look forward to seeing you soon. Chuc Mung Na Moi (happy New Year in Vietnamese). Jaymez

Juliness said...

I am with you on the furniture!

Interestingly enough, Phil and I got invited to our first New Year party this weekend and had a wonderful time. I am looking forward to a nice long life as a result of all the noodles I consumed.

PS My friend did dress her children (darling twins!) in the traditional costumes and they were awfully cute. :-)