Monday, July 16, 2012

Malaysia Day 8 Part 2

I didn't see this one coming. After lunch Manny took us to an old house which is a museum when not being used for functions. It is called Pinang(sic) Peranakan Mansion. The Peranakans can be known as Babas and Nynonyas but you might know them better as Straits Chinese, those who came from China and settled in Penang, Malacca and Singapore.

The house was built not for a Peranakan but a new immigrant from China, however it is in the style of a grand Peranakan mansion. It was built in the late nineteenth century and has seen both grand and humble days. It has stayed with the same family though and a descendant has spent about 20 million dollars on its restoration and the furniture collection. We took a guided tour which was about half an hour. It was well worth it, although I would have liked to visit again to look at photos on wall and some detail.

Much of the furniture is from Europe and Britain.

An opium smoking divan in the games room.

The English dining room. English guests dined in the Chinese dining room, Chinese guests in the English dining room. We all like a bit of difference at times.

Glasgow lasts.

I suspect this is not digital and probably would not play mp3 files.

This was about a quarter of similar glassware that was on display. I don't know what it is.

There were two huge embroidered panels on display.

The entertainment unit.

There were three  bridal chambers, which I suppose were really double bedrooms. One decorated 1900-1920 style, another 1920-1940 style and my favourite with the art deco furniture, 1930-1950 style.

I believe this is a music machine. The monster metal disc probably has to be changed to hear another tune.

A camera of sorts.

Smeg, still going.

After you pay for your tour, you get a sticky label to put on your shirt. What a clever thing to do when you leave, decorate the bamboo.

Back to our hotel to gather ourselves before dinner. In a fit of pique in the morning, R had thrown our towels onto the bathroom floor of Northam Fawlty Towers so they would be changed. We normally keep them for a couple of days by hanging them up. Oops. Mistake R, there are no towels again. R on the phone to hotel management. After one more call, we did get two towels without bathmats or handtowel.

Meanwhile Manny had now checked into our hotel as a room was available. He too had no towels. Eventually after a few calls he told them to get him a taxi as he would go out and buy some. He did get some then.

Further meanwhile, R's laundered clothes had not been delivered and he needed a shirt to go out with and we had run out of tissues because of my cold. Two calls and one garment arrived. Where is the rest? Another call, the rest arrived. No tissues though.

We were to meet my workmate again for dinner and a friend from country Victoria who was also in Penang. In a remarkable co-incidence, and they did not know each other, they were staying on same floor in the same small hotel. They were each paying about one fifth of what we were paying and they were very happy with their digs.

We had earlier passed a place that offered a buffet meal for about $15. We thought we would give it a go. We entered and were seated but the method of ordering was not explained to us at this point. We went to another room where a modest amount of cold food was laid out. Um, this is not even worth $15. We loaded up our plates and I was sure something was not right. Sure enough, on the table were menus and check sheets. You marked on the sheet the meals you wanted and it soon arrived. The portions were very small and the idea was to order a few, with a penalty for over ordering. The food was excellent and it was a novel but great way to eat. I just found a card. It was Deluxcious and I highly recommend the food.

Our friend from Victoria tried to pick up our waiter and it seemed like he nearly succeeded. Later when we left, the waiter was collected by his wife on a motorbike. Clearly he had no chance with the guy, as he was married. Hahaha. Manny had disappeared for a while. He was chatting to the owner and hopefully getting a new customer.

We then went off to an outdoor bar, Red Garden I think,  for a drink and watched some on stage entertainment then back to Northam Fawlty Towers for bed.


  1. Gay furnishings.

    Love the old radiogram, TV, etc. I collect stuff like that.

    It's rubbish really.

  2. My daughter would love the radiogram and telly - anything 'retro' and older than 1970 seems to float her rather young-for-it boat.

    Not sure that the opium smoking divan would be too comfortable. Maybe it felt softer once the effects kicked in?

  3. The owner is straight RH, with a wife and family. How could the furnishings be gay?

    Kath, I threw away our Bakelite radio in about '89. It was left in the garage of the house we bought. I bought a couple of new valves and it worked. Worth now, $380. Saph should have been around in the 70s/80s when such things were still being thrown out. There may have been cushions on the divan.

  4. Wow! A house with its own opium den!
    Kath; I've seen similar couches in books and movies, when they are in use they are fairly heavily padded with cushions. I'm not a fan of the art deco furniture style.

    It seems your hotel is quite unsatisfactory. I wonder what the problem is with the towels? It seems silly to not have towels in the rooms when tourists arrive, and why are they not changed daily? Perhaps it is something that needs to be sorted when making the booking.

  5. I think that music machine is called a nickelodeon (five cents being a nickel in the United States). The old Melbourne museum had one for years.
    I've got an old one-arm bandit poker machine that takes five cents, jackpot five dollars.
    In the early eighties I bought two cheap floor-standing radios (circa 1940s) from an op shop because I liked the coloured dials. When I moved I just left them behind, I think. A few years later they were worth hundreds.
    That's how it is, you don't know future values. And my nutty pal says what if, what if you could go back to those times and hoard it all.
    Anyway it's over, don't bother; today's crap will never be worth anything.

  6. River, towel laundering was outsourced to a private company who's machinery had broken down. The hotel was doing inhouse and they did not really have the facilities. If you hang your towel up, it is not changed. If you leave it on the floor or in the bath, it is. Most hotels work like that. I would have hardly thought to ask about towels when booking.

    RH, I should have put a nickel in the nickelodeon. If that didn't work, I would put another. I think it is an older machine than that. It worked somewhat like a music box.

  7. My daddy played Ghost Riders in the Sky on a juke box in Richmond. I thought it was very funky of him, although that wasn't a word back then. He showed me the neon Skipping Girl in Victoria Street (?). He loved things like that, novelty. Luna Park was his favourite, he dragged me onto the Scenic Railway, laughed his head off, I was terrified. Still can feel it.

  8. Ah RH, a song I particularly like. You kindled a childhood memory of me wanting money to put a juke box machine in a cafe, one of those selectors at each table. I put the money in and my song did not work. I pressed the buttons again and again. It then worked and the song repeated over and over and over, Chitty Bang Bang. Afterwards my dad swore. He said shitty bum bum. We were hysterical with delight.

    I've never seen Audrey skipping for real. One day.

    Luna Park rides never beat the um, mouse ride at the RMS.

  9. Despite the lack of towels in Northam Faulty Towers (I distinctly remember a French faulty Towers when in Paris) I'm thinking that you had a great holiday Andrew, my stay in above mentioned FFT makes me laugh almost hysterically whenever i think about it, so I'm sure you'll have many laughable moments also, come on, what's the alternative yeh!!

  10. Grace, yes they are things you really remember and laugh about.

  11. A greasy Joe cafe in old Fitzroy Street had juke selectors on the wall beside each booth. Theos had a big machine just inside the door, and a long mirror down the wall where street girls checked their allure between jobs.
    I always remember a bloke in cowboy hat and denim slumping himself over that juke box one night as he played "Hey Lord, Don't Ask Me Questions!"
    Yes, the Mouse, Luna Park has a Mouse ride now but the River Caves have gone, plus the Rotor and the dear old Giggle Palace.
    It's a funny story how you got repeated plays of that song, especially with your old man involved, things like that you never forget.