Monday, 16 January 2017

Ipoh! Ipoh! Hooray!

Saturday 8 January 2017

After breakfast we set about making sure we were ready to go. Timbo had been collecting the free bottled water from the hotels, which made our bags heavier, but it also meant we had loads to drink if we were thirsty.

The check out went smoothly, we got a taxi to the station and arrived in plenty of time. For the new  ETS trains there is a special waiting area with hard seats. Some younger people offered their seats to Timbo but he politely turned them down. Sitting is not always worth it for a few minutes, and it let us walk about a bit. After all, we were going to be on the train, about two and half hours.

When we were called there was a mad scramble. Timbo decided to take the lift with about twenty other people. We got to the platform and everybody was scurrying like ants even though there was about ten to fifteen minutes before departure.

We found our assigned carriage and assigned seat. This was a silver service and that means we stop at more stations, but we also arrive in Ipoh at a decent hour and it fits in nicely with check out and check in at each end if the journey.

When we were booking we wondered why one half of all the carriages seemed to be fully booked. All became clear. Rows from 1 to about 10 face in one direction and the remainder in the other. Most people want to travel facing forward.

Timbo was concerned how cold the train would be. This is because when he and Special K went on the train from Jakarta to Yogyakarta in June 1026 the air con was so cold Timbo wished he had brought his winter coat, hat, scarf, and thermal underwear. Thankfully the KTM is not too bad, just about bearable for a human and very much humanable for a Bärli.

When we got to Ipoh we had to go to a little counter to ask for a taxi, we paid the lady there, and a taxi driver came to collect us. We got to the hotel, checked in. The room was Spartan, Timbo said. This is not quite like the Hyatt, I thought.

The Spartan Suite
Next it was time to put things into the safe. Timbo could not unlock the safe. It had been locked, it seemed by the previous person. We had to get somebody to open it. Timbo was feeling quite tired still, exhausted by this horrid cold. So he had another nap. We woke up to realise it was getting darker and we needed somewhere to eat, preferably near the hotel. An internet search brought up a Belgian restaurant! Timbo said, this has to be seen to be believed.

Now I do not know how familiar you are with Ipoh, but zebra crossings and traffic lights seem to be a bit of a luxury. They seem to be all congregated together in the space of a few streets. SO to cross the road takes courage or sheer stupidity. A bit of each got us across the sort of mainish road outside the hotel. The road we walked along also revealed another novelty. Pavements are replaced by car parking slots along this street.

We made it to the restaurant and Timbo chatted wit the waiter, and wondered why a Belgian restaurant should be here in the middle of Malaysia. A Belgian guy went to Penang, opened a Belgian restaurant there, got bored, came to Ipoh, opened the restaurant. Guess what? Got bored and went off somewhere else. Before he left, the new owner asked him to train the local chefs how to make the food as they wanted it to remain a Belgian restaurant.

I will not say it will set the world on fire, but if you are in Malaysia and have a craving for pork, this is one place pork is on the menu. The other people in the restaurant seemed to be Chinese locals. I rather enjoyed myself, so too did Timbo. We do not know if this is genuine Belgian cuisine or not, but it made a pleasant change. As Timbo was still nursing his cold he did not try any of the Belgian beers, but he would have liked to have had a go.

Me and my pudding
Back to the hotel and bed.

Monday 9 January 2017

Breakfast was as Spartan as the room for the western palate. There were no other westerners at breakfast. After we had eaten and Timbo dosing himself up on medication, we left the hotel with a rough idea where we were going. It was simply a case of following our noses, bunged up or otherwise.

Street signs suddenly throw up European names
Spooky entrance
We made it to the Ipoh Padang, Timbo insisted on taking a photo of me there, so I reluctantly agreed.

Me at the Ipoh Padang
Ye Olde Tudorbethan Restaurant
Birch Memorial Clock Tower
From there on it was just go where we wanted, keeping in the shade where we could. 
The magnificent railway station
We went beyond the usual confine of the Concubine Lane area and strayed into Ipoh’s Little India.

Choose your matching sari for your elopement motorbike.
While we were there we saw a wonderful printing shop. The man chatted with Timbo and showed him some old printing presses he has, one of them about a century old and one about as old as Timbo.

The printing shop
It was getting much, much hotter and we were both sagging. Timbo because of his cold and me because of my fur. Ipoh was really hot. We had a nice ice cream (‘ais krim’ in Malay, in case you need to know) that revived us and, stopping off only at a 7-11 near the hotel for urgent supplies, we got back to hotel and napped. W also had to go back because the battery was low in the camera and Timbo had forgotten to bring the spare he carries with him. Silly old Timbo!

We had decided to try a place called “plan b” we saw in the old town area. So we walked fairly briskly there, that was possible as it had turned cooler now the sun was almost setting. It took about twenty minutes. Again the food will not set the world on fire, but two courses and mineral water for only about 70 ringgit or £12.50, that is not at all bad.

A much slower walk back to the hotel, full tummies do not make brisk exercise a good idea, and bed.

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Today at breakfast there was a mature while couple who sounded British in the hotel. We never saw them again! Had Timbo been well we could have organised a trip or two whilst here, but a last minute attempt was fruitless. Next time, do not get ill, Timbo!

We popped out again, following a slightly different route into the old part of Ipoh and took more photos, this time with sufficient battery power!

Recycling, Ipoh Style (1 of 2)
Recycling, Ipoh Style (2 of 2)
(Informal) Portrait of a Bärli as a Young Cub
Selamat Hari Krismas & Tahun Baru 2017!
Wm Jacks & Co., (M) Sdn Bhd
Considering Timbo was not very well only a week ago, I was impressed how well he handled the extreme heat in Ipoh. When we checked the internet later in the day, we found out January is the hottest month of the year here.

Golly! No wonder I felt warm under my fur.

We were not the only ones who found it tiring
Timbo got some more medication just in case he needs it, but I say his cold is almost gone.

Back in the room and packing up suitcases better for tomorrow.

As it was our last night Timbo wanted to find somewhere nice. On the internet there was a restaurant that had good recommendations overall but not somewhere we knew. We went out but could not find it. It was supposed to be only 200 metres away but where it was supposed to be on the map was waste land. So we went to a nearby Vietnamese restaurant instead. It was OK, but at less than 50 ringgit (under £10.00) there are no complaints.

Back to the hotel and a solid sleep was wanted.

No comments:

Post a Comment