Thursday, February 12, 2009
Tour of the City
Come take a tour around our place! There are some great pics of the city taken by my wonderful hubby to give you an idea of what it looks like where we live. (Also, he got to borrow his friend's motorcycle to ride around the city and take these, so it's not like he was going to say no to that.) The picture above shows the bottom of the hill on the way up to our house. It's a residential area but you essentially drive through jungle to get there. Yeah, I know. We think it's cool, too.
First up, we have a couple views of the Lake Gardens, a quiet wilderness in the middle of the city with walking paths, a man-made waterfall, a little trash in the water (not quite so nice) but mostly a clean, peaceful place.
(the picture below is looking back over the lake toward the city)
It lies across the road from the largest & nicest hotel in town, The Royale Bintang, which used to be a Hilton before the big boys in the Hilton Corporation realized, "Wait, why do we have a hotel in SEREMBAN of all places?!??? Nobody comes here!" and it changed hands a few times before becoming The Royale Bintang. We went there for a Christmas Day buffet with some friends (THANKS, MIOW LIN!!!) and recently learned that their bakery sells cakes at HALF-off after 7:30pm so you can guess where I like to go right before bedtime...nothing like getting a couple of kids sugared up before you send them off to dreamland.
They also have a fabulous spa where I got a wonderful, sleep-inducing, 45 minute pedicure on Christmas that cost me $15US. (Literally, I fell asleep for a few minutes while my feet soaked...they gave me a scented eye-cover, put on some soothing nature-type music, and the breeze blowing through the open-air structure put me right out.)
So, back to our tour...Michael also took some shots of the center of town, so to speak. There are really three MAIN roads in town, crisscrossed by quaint side streets of varying sizes. This is just one of those main roads (I can't be more specific since I wasn't actually present for the picture taking.)
And here is one of the (larger) side streets. We still have yet to explore all of downtown. Each shop is shoved up next to its neighbor like they are jockeying for space, linebackers standing in a row with their shoulders jammed into each other. A noodle shop is squeezed between a stationery store and a bakery. A hair salon (they're called "saloons" here...still cracks me up whenever I see a sign) will share a wall with a kitchen curio shop, which will be squeezed next to a curry joint, which will be shoved up against a dentist office, which will be leaning up next to a fabric store. And every street is so different. We could spend days just wandering around town, taking pictures of each shop or road stall or restaurant because there is so much COLOR and flavor.
Speaking of flavor...
This is one of our favorite seafood places...we just call it "The Crab Place" because there is no better place in town for crabs. I know, it doesn't look like the kind of place you'd get dressed up and go on a date...which is only partly right. We don't get dressed up. (It's too dang hot, anyway.) It's certainly a far cry from a place with reservations, or hostesses, or doors, for that matter, but after almost 2 years here I think I've grown accustomed to the "local flavor" of things. So when I look at this picture I don't think "dirty" or "salmonella" or "drug house" anymore. I just wonder if they have lime juice or bok choy or prawns (or satay, if John is with us...that boy can pack away the satay...)
OK, that's enough tour for now. We have more photos we may post later, but first I need to catch up on Chinese New Year festivities and traditions (mmmmmm...cured pork...) from 2009, the Year of the Ox. So hopefully I'll get those posted soon.
Happy Valentine's Day to everyone this weekend! I hope you get yummy crab, or whatever your equivalent is in your little part of the world!