Durian

IT’S DURIAN SEASON.

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I’m sure most of you have at least heard of this legendary fruit. Durian is a big deal where I am from. Some of the best durians are reputed to come from Penang island.

There are actually many cultivars of durian, and they all have really funky sounding names worthy of small time thugs.

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It is impossible to properly describe the odour and flavour of a durian without actually encountering one in the flesh. I have heard many descriptions ranging from mango and papaya to rotten onions soaked in turpentine. Very colourful, but not very useful.

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I went to the market this morning with my aunts to pick some durian. It was super fascinating to watch the sellers pick and cut durian.

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Sometimes a durian borer appears in the durian, which is quickly fed to the seller’s prize-winning Arowana as durian borer sashimi.

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My relationship with durian is complicated. I think I used to kind of like it as a kid, and then while on vacation in Pangkor Island I got food poisoning from durian ice cream.

icecream

hospital

No durian for the next two-thirds of my life.

I then became the designated bee swatter at every subsequent durian party.

makan

My reintroduction to durian happened 3 years ago at someone’s durian party.

 

It didn’t taste bad. The texture was like… if ice cream grew on trees… it tasted sweet, and I kind of liked it a little bit.offer

 

eatlah

lick

 

What do you guys know about durian? Share your thoughts in the comments! Check out a recent painting that I made of durian on my facebook page!

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First Summer Adventure

A while back I blogged about my amazing experience flying and getting bumped up to business class.

Recently, I *may* have made fun of a completely insane flight schedule here while I was looking for flight tickets, which I did not take up.

This time flying from Toronto to Penang , I decided to fly with China Airlines because of the short layover and direct flight.

The day started off normally. I had to lug a couple of massive suitcases over to the airport, which wasn’t so bad because my friend helped me.

depart

My flight wasn’t till 10pm but I got the airport at 4pm because I was a super keener. So I listened to a few podcasts before being able to check in.

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The flight was about 4.5 hours to Vancouver. By the time I got to Vancouver I was so tired from all the packing and moving that I was looking forward to sleeping on the plane for the next 13 hours.

I decided to change into something more comfortable for the 13 hour flight.

changing

While I was waiting at the gate, I heard the ground staff call my name. They mentioned that WestJet allowed for 10kg in your carry-on while China Airlines only allowed for 7kg. Since my carry-on was over that limit, they had to check it in.

checkin

I was so out of it I said “yeah, sure whatever” because I thought that I would only be away from my carry-on for a little while and I would rough it out. Technically they shouldn’t have taken my carry-on, you are allowed one personal item (in this case my backpack) and one carry-on.

So we got on the plane and I was seated next to this mega wizened lady. I fell asleep in my seat before we even took off…

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I woke up 2 hours later to find out that we were still on the ground.

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The plane engine was busted and they had to ship parts… from Taipei. So our flight was delayed for almost 24 hours.

We were told that due to limited airport hotel rooms available, those from Vancouver had to be sent home by cab to await the rescheduled departure time.

They put me in this room that was usually reserved for those with special needs. I had a king sized bed and massive everything. Showers, bathroom… everything was about three times the usual size.

king

Keep in mind that they had taken my carry-on with all my clothes and toiletries so I had no change of clothes.

I had a meal voucher at the hotel restaurant but everything there was so expensive. I mean who pays $18 for 3 pancakes and $8 for juice? Apparently me.

makan

Since I had a whole day in Vancouver to do whatever I wanted, I decided to look for Japadogs.

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I also spent my day sitting at the beautiful waterfront eating Japadogs and staring at boats.

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When I got back to the airport I lined up for my new boarding pass and was given a coupon for inflight purchases and another meal voucher.

I was so tired from this ridiculous delay that I think I slept for about 8 of the 13 hours.

When we landed in Taipei they gave us chocolate to apologize for the delay. Those with connecting flights were ushered off into the business class lounge to rest.

chocolate

Since I obviously missed my connecting flight to Penang, they put me on a flight to Kuala Lumpur and then on MAS to Penang.

Now the entire point of my flying with China Airlines was because I wanted to avoid having to go to Kuala Lumpur… but nope, the stars determined that I had to fly to KL.

So I spent the next few hours at the China Airlines lounge in Taipei eating dumplings trying to sleep without actually falling asleep.

lounge

My flight to Kuala Lumpur was pleasant. I actually watched a couple of Chinese movies, but by the time I got to KLIA I was pretty much busted. I rolled past immigration with my ninja turtle backpack over to the gate, only to find out that they had switched the gate.

I managed to catch a ride on one of those airport buggy things to the second gate.

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Only to find out that they changed the gate AGAIN.

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Needless to say that when I got to Penang my internal battery was so drained I was ready to pass out.

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China Airlines, providing me with the first adventure of summer.
Please check out my Facebook for more drawings of things! Whether you like this page or don’t, you should hit the “Like” button and comment! I look forward to it.

Weather

Weather is a pretty universal subject matter to talk about. In Malaysia, the conversation usually goes something like this:

hot

And this year the floods are pretty devastating.

flood

I lived for a while in Edmonton. Things can get pretty crazy in Alberta.

bus_snow

But probably not as crazy as Yellowknife.
aurora

It once SNOWED in August in Edmonton.  While we were having a barbeque, it was madness.

summer

So far, Toronto weather had been quite mild compared to Edmonton and yet every other person seems to own much thicker jackets. Like Canada Goose or Moose Knuckles. My standard Columbia jacket does pretty well here.

goose

 

It’s a bit strange because there is literally no snow on the ground at this time of the year. Where is the Canadian experience, I ask you.

Right now people are probably up to their shoulders in snow in Alberta. I kind of miss it in a weird way.

shovel

What is the weather like where you live? I would love to hear about it! I have super cool viewers from Bangladesh, Denmark, Turkey, Netherlands, Greece, Congo, Panama, Argentina, Qatar etc. I’ve never been to any of these places and I’m interested to visit them one day when I have the chance. Share your thoughts! And like my facebook page too, please and thanks!

Drawing from Life Stories: Ronnie

Penang is full of colonial buildings and ever since the UNESCO World Heritage Site listing, boutique establishments have been popping up like mushrooms after the rain.

heritage_house

 

I’ve been going around the old Georgetown area to draw buildings since high school, you know, before it was cool. *hipster moment*then

Actually, it was pretty cool already, but after the listing things went into overdrive and everyone started doing it.

now

One of the first buildings I ever drew was St George’s Church in Farquhar Street mainly because parking was convenient, and there was always shade. Shade is very important especially in this corner of the world.

I went there to paint on Sundays. Obviously since it was a church, there was Sunday service.

I met a little boy named Ronnie who was about 9. He was a curious kid, and would drop by and watch me after church.ronnie

He has a younger sister and brother who tag along wherever he goes.

I learned that he lived with his grandparents in the kopitiam (Chinese style coffee shop for you non-South East Asian folks) across the church. I don’t really know much else about him, but he seemed like a good kid with very heavy responsibilities for his age.

Ronnie was very well behaved. He looked after his younger siblings and dressed them in awesome clothes.

drawing

Ronnie is probably in high school by now. I hope he and his siblings are doing well.

highschool

RONNIE. YOU GO RONNIE.

If you like this you should check me out on the book face. I mean facebook.

The Great Room Cleanup

The other day I had this strange philosophical moment. I had a thought, a cluttered room is a cluttered mind. Haha, I don’t know why all of a sudden this came to my head,  not sure if distracted… or genuinely want to clear out the space, but regardless, I decided to do a major cleanup of my cave.

While I was cleaning my place, I stumbled across a bunch of random things that were quite delightful. I’ve done the bathroom and kitchen, and have progressed to the bedroom… part 1. So far I have found:

  1.  Random piece of hot pressed watercolour paper.
  2.  1 Free cookie coupon from Cookies by George
  3.  Hand sanitizer.

TREASURE HUNNTTTT.

I also came across some old sketchbooks from last year when I was really into buildings and stuff, (I drew a bunch of buildings in the inner Georgetown heritage sites and made friends with cats) and also some drawings I made while I was on vacation in Bali, Indonesia.

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Tanah Lot! It’s a really pretty place. People flock here to be a tourist, watch the sun rise/set. You know, standard tourist things.

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Some lady on Jimbaran Beach, also in Bali.

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Me… drawing limau kasturi and some flowers. I do not recall where the plants came from. Tropical plants right? They just sprout up all over the place.

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A block of pre-war houses on Armenian Street, Penang. It was over here that I made friends with a calico cat.

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Cheah Kongsi inner courtyard. I sat here to hide from the sun… Penang humidity levels are pretty intense.

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Nagore Shrine. I really enjoyed drawing this one. I got to drink ginger milk tea.

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The view of some houses from St George’s Church, also Penang.

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Some ah pek having his lunch in a coffee shop.

After I stopped working, I also did some paintings of a coffee shop on Stewart Lane as well as the infamous Lorong Selamat Char Koay Teow auntie.

stewartlane

Stewart Lane! I think the pigeons are the best part of the painting.

I sold this painting at Tesoro. *v* THANK YOU PERSON WHO BOUGHT THIS. Even though I didn’t really get any money out of it , but at least I was able to sell for a good price. All proceeds were donated to our Grad Show fund!

lorongselamat

Lorong Selamat!

For those who are new to the Penang street food scene, Char Koay Teow is a kind of fried flat rice noodle dish which is really popular here, Lorong Selamat (literally means… Selamat Lane) is where of the most famous CKT stalls are. The old lady who makes this is quite notorious for… her temper, she has gotten onto Internet flame wars before, lol. but dayuuummm she makes a fine CKT. *v*

I also got chased out of her shop because there were customers from Singapore coming over and I was “taking up space” by sitting there and drawing her. Even though I bought her crazy expensive char koay teow every time I visited.

That’s it for now! I might find more gems as I continue on my room cleaning adventures.