Kota Laksamana Seafront

We visited the Taman Kota Laksamana seafront when we were in Melaka recently. There were several people flying kites. Some of the kites had 2 strings attached to them, and had to be manueovered with 2 hands.

It was a Friday evening, and there were many people at the seafront, enjoying the seabreeze and waiting for the sunset. E likes to play with the sand. However, the sand here was very rough and there were broken pieces of glass in the sand. Not exactly conducive for walking barefooted in.

National Science Centre

Gurney Drive food court disappointment

The Gurney Drive food court has been overrated and pretty disappointing. When we were there in June 2010, we found that the food in Gurney Drive was expensive, not tasty and below our expectations as compared to the same type of food sold in KL.  

Even the Penang Kueh Teow that is sold in KL tastes much better. The wanton mee was watery and the mee was coarse. The one in KL was finer and tastier.

Clockwise: Pasembur rojak, popiah and pie tee 
We were also shocked that a plate of Pasembur Rojak costs RM7. The person selling it was so stingy that he didn't want to give me a spare polysterine plate. How much does it cost? Less that RM0.05. The pie tee was nice and crispy, but very expensive. The only interesting thing was the Banana juice, that I hadn't heard of, before this. E loved that Banana Juice. 

Suffice to say, we've have learnt our lesson, and will not visit this Gurney Drive Food Court ever again.

Wat Chayamangkalaram

Wat Chayamangkalaram is a Siamese Temple in Penang. We missed the turning into the access road leading to the temple, so I had to drive a longer route to get back to that road again. It was drizzling when we arrived. I parked outside and paid the car park attendant. Upon walking inside the temple grounds, only did I realise that there was actually free parking inside.

Looking at the statue of Goddess Kwan Yin

We left the temple just in time, as it started raining again and quickly ran to the car. It was pouring as soon as we entered the car. Phew! We skipped visiting the Dhammikarama Burmese Temple located opposite as it was raining heavily and I had to get going for my talk at Bodhi Heart Sanctuary.

Buggy Ride @ Taman Botanikal Melaka

As I was in Ayer Keroh, I went to check out the Butterfly Farm and Reptile Garden. However, I decided not to visit it so soon after visiting the Penang Butterfly Farm last month. Then I came across some banners advertising Buggy Rides at Taman Botanikal Melaka. Knowing that my children would be interested in the buggy vehicles, I headed towards the area to check them out.

My boys tested all the buggy cars and bikes. We wanted to just walk in as entrance is free but S insisted on sitting on a buggy. So, we backtracked to the buggy operator and book one. The price was RM35 for a half-hour ride for a 4-seater car. There seemed to be quite a good response for the buggy. Every few minutes, there would be people signing up for the buggy rides.

As the driver, I was briefed on how to operate the electric car, before we started. I was quite concerned that there was no door and no seatbelts, especially when we had kids in the backseat. Anyhow, they were held by my mum and my maid. I started driving. I was advised to drive slowly, so that I don't complete the track too fast. I drove slower than 10 km/h. Since the car was running on electricity, it was very silent - no engine noises. There were some narrow slopes going down, and it seemed quite dangerous as we didn't have seatbelts.  I guess it all adds to the thrill.

Thus, we happened to come to a part where there was a woman jogger in front of us who had no idea we were behind her. We talked loudly, but she didn't hear us. As I needed to complete the track in 30 minutes, I couldn't just be tailing her, I had no choice but to press the horn. She jumped and frowned at us. I apologised and moved on.

While we were moving, the car suddenly stopped and the lights on the dashboard turned off. It was quite scary when that happened. At first I got worried that we would all be stranded in the forest, as I didn't have the phone number of the operator. My father asked me to turn off and on the start switch. Luckily I managed to start it again. The second time it died, I suspected that perhaps, I was driving too slowly, and that was why the car suddenly stopped.

Somewhere in the centre of the forest, I parked the buggy and we went down to snap some pictures.  There were many dinosaur structures and we snapped some pictures there. We spent around 10 - 15 minutes there.

After that, we headed back to  the entrance again. As I was driving back, I suddenly realised that Taman Botanikal was formerly Hutan Rekreasi Ayer Keroh, that had been renamed. No wonder, it looked familiar inside. It looked more like a forest than a botanical garden. My last visit there was in 1991. I wonder when its name was changed and why.

National Planetarium Kuala Lumpur

We visited the Planetarium Negara Kuala Lumpur on 3 July 2010. It was a half hour drive, so it's considered not too far away from where we live. It was near the KL Bird Park and the Lake Gardens.

Steps leading to the entrance of the National Planetarium
When we arrived, we walked up a long staircase. When we reached what we thought was the top, there was no signage informing us where the entrance was. We walked around, trying to find the entrance. Finally, I asked a school teacher who was supervising her students where the entrance was, and she pointed upwards. So, we climbed up another flight of stairs. There, the woman security guard at the bag deposit counter, asked us for our bags.  

The Sun
We paid RM3.00 per adult for the space movie: "Journey to the Universe", which was about to start any moment. The cashier pointed us into the direction of the theater. There was no signage telling us whether the theater was. However, when we reached what we suspected was the theater, hubby walked past it. We backtracked and found that it was locked and a sign on a metal pole was put in front of the closed doors to prevent people from going in. We thought that we were at the wrong entrance. So, we went to the toilet first. After that, I asked the cleaner in orange uniform where the theater was, and she just pointed to the front. When we got to the front, we couldn't find the door again, so I asked a security guard this time. He brought us to the entrance, but said that it's locked and that the movie has started and we were not allowed in. I told him that we had already paid for the tickets. He asked us to go back to the entrance where the ticket cashier was. So, we did. This time, she led us into the doors which were closed, which had the metal pole with a stand in front. She opened the doors and asked us to watch into the pitch black darkness to find our seats. We used our mobile phones as makeshift torchlights. We managed to grope our way in the dark and found some empty seats. They were reclining seats and we lay down looking up at the universe with it's many stars and planets above us.

Sitting inside the capsule

The "Journey to the Universe" was marvellous, despite the challenges in finding the theater, so I was thankful that we got to view the movie at all. Apparently, they started before the stated time. The children were nervous at first and E started crying. Later, they both calmed down and got to watch the 3D movie. It was a short one of 20 minutes. With the planets and stars moving, we really felt as though we were moving in space. However, I doubt that most people or students could understand the English language spoken due to the accent, speed and the high quality of the English language of the narrator.

After the movie, we spent the next 1.5 hours exploring around the area. It wasn't a large place. I found many orbs in my photos. I was surprised to find that despite being a planetarium, many things that I expected should be in a planetarium were not exhibited. The upstairs portion was under renovation. The anti-gravity room was quite interesting, though. When we stood at that part, we felt lightheaded and weightlessness.
Anti-gravity room
When I went to collect my bag, I had to wake up the woman security guard behind the counter, as she had fallen asleep. Anyhow, as the children had a good time exploring the place, I will just close an eye to the inefficiency of the people working there as well as the lack of proper signages. Near the car park, we collected some giant leaves that had fallen onto the ground for some art and crafts work.

Penang Butterfly Farm

We visited the Penang Butterfly Farm on 22 June 2010. It was a 45 minutes drive from Bayan Lepas and another 1 hour drive back.

It was still wet from the rain the previous day. In fact, it was raining practically the whole day and night the day before. Senior citizens were charged 50% off the entrance fee. The last time I went there, I was 14 years old. Over 2 decades ago. It had seemed like such a magical place, when you're a 14-year old. Now, sadly, that "magical feeling" is gone and it isn't as interesting as I thought as it would be. There weren't as many species of butterflies as claimed. 
Butterfly on his shirt
In addition, S didn't seem to have any affinity with the butterflies, surprisingly, and wanted to go back, right from the moment we arrived. Fortunately, I managed to calm him and distract him with the other bugs in an exhibit room. E had no problems, though. The butterflies loved him. One even landed on his shirt.

Anyway, they did bring back some memories of the place. They saw a snail, caterpillars, bugs, king crabs, and an old turtle, besides the butterflies. E would always mention about the butterfly that landed on his shirt.

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