Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Dirt on Ipoh

Finally, after much planning APM went for their second annual retreat which was at the LaSalle Centre in Ipoh, Perak. Everyone was eager to ….errrrrr.. retreat. Well at least most of us atleast. There were only 18 of us going because some were not free on Raya weekend….. ….. wait did you say RAYA WEEKEND!!!

Yes we went on Hari Raya Weekend… that’s ok … everything was paid for…. however, that was not the highlight of my trip…. My brother-in-law loaned me his BMW 5-series to take to Ipoh … and man! it was surperb…….Although the car felt like a barge at low revs… it handled really really well all over the rev' counter… after all it is a BMW…. It was also surprisingly maneuverable along tight roads even if it was jammed and I even found no trouble getting it into small parking bays…. Sweet!!! … There was a VCD player in the car with two monitors on each headrest and one on the centre console in front. So we watched a few shows like Monsters Inc and an episode of Transformers cartoon (My bro-in-law has young kids). We also watched a few episodes of Friends, Faulty Towers and Rose even managed to slip in the first episode of Sex In The City…

Before leaving at 6.00am last Saturday (13th Oct), all I could think of is the long queues at the toll or traffic crawls from Rawang all the way to Ipoh…. But to my surprise traffic wasn’t that bad… we did encounter a bit of jam here and there but that was because of incomplete emergency lanes along the North South Highway which can you imagine were closed, thus causing jams when a car or two broke down and had no choice but to stop on the slow lane…. I don’t get it…. Shouldn’t they have completed the emergency lanes before the “balik kampong” exodus? I was even almost side swiped by a lorry which had to avoid a stalled car on the slow lane….. sigh… "my heart is skip a beats"!!… …..the last thing I wanted to do was wreck the Beemer…. I wonder how many accidents were caused because of unfinished emergency lanes…….ofcos you wont read that in the papers..... Anyway thankfully nothing happened on our journey to Ipoh and we actually managed to get there by 8:15am. Thats about 45 minutes longer then normal travel time...

(Waiting for Leona out side Jusco)

Leona (A former APM member who is now working in Ipoh ) met us at Jusco Ipoh (… or is it called Ipoh Parade) and guided us to the LaSalle Centre. But before that, she took us to Jalan Bandar Timah for Ipoh’s famous white coffee and breakfast…. The place was so crowded with people even though there were a dozen or so coffee shops around … most (I guess the famous ones atleast) were packed with people… we had to wait about 20 minutes before we got a table but there was only enough place for half of us… so the rest of us waited another half hour before another table was available….but after we got our tables it felt uncomfortable because there were more people coming into the shop and they would just stand next to you waiting for you to finish and clear the table……. I didn’t really like the coffee either but the Yong Tau Foo was tasty and very very cheap. Half the price that i would pay in KL. One sad thing I immediately noticed when i was waiting outside was that it was very dirty… there was rubbish here and there…from the roads to the pavement to the side walk to the floors of the eateries ... all around there…. … it’s hard to describe lah…it was like someone had cleaned it in haste….hmmmm Used plates were just dumped on the floor and on the side walks! eeeeeeeee….DiiiRTtttttY!!!! im not saying that the eateries in Klang Valley are any better but my first impression of Ipoh and its food didn’t get to a good start…

Waiting outside to get a table.... notice anything on the pavement?

Aww so cute a pigeon eating from a plate on the PAVEMENT...
(the crowd in the shop)

We continued our convoy to LaSalle Centre after breakfast. The place had a ‘sudden’ entrance whereby it was along a heavy main road and then all of a sudden we needed to take a left turn down a small descending road which led to the LaSalle Centre. It was kinda cool cause you’re ‘suddenly’ brought into a pretty garden….

We checked into our rooms and found that it wasn’t very nice. Bunked-beds are crammed into a small partitioned room with a bathroom with no hot water…. Oh well…at least it was clean....... I guess for church group’ retreats it was ok…but they did have a very good multipurpose hall with everything that you needed to conduct your sessions… I was impressed with that… first session started about 11ish…

All our sessions throughout the retreat went well …. Praises to all speakers yah…good job…

I went with Leona to get lunch while the others stayed back for a session. She took me to a food court which was next to the Ipoh Stadium (forgot the real name but it was a big stadium). We got fried Kuay Teow and Wantan Mee…. Again the food was very tasty but the place was dirty, not as dirty as where we had breakfast but bad enough…

(St Michael's School)

After lunch and the afternoon session we had a bit of free time before we got ready for sunset mass. I went out for a little photo-session walk … didn’t get very far from LaSalle Centre maybe about a little over a kilometer because I didn’t really have that much time… if I ever come to Ipoh again I will definitely need to have a whole day just exploring the lovely old buildings all over here. Most of the buildings on this side (old town) of Ipoh are more then a century old…

When we reached St Michaels Church we found that mass was only at 7pm not 6pm… aiyah!! I could have had a longer photo-session walk… oh well… anyway since we were so early we stayed for novena . The church was fully air-cond… although it was nice, it was too cold and I was freezing my butt off half way through mass… The choir was pretty good …four rows and without mics’…and they sang in 4 parts … …nice…. Just before the final prayer, the priest asked all the newcomers and visiting attendees to stand up… we all stood up and received a clap from the congregation. Sheesh!!!... it was a little embarrassing.

(Took this while waiting at the lights on the way to dinner. On photo editing done as like all my photos, just choose the B&W option on my camera. keke.... taking a B&W from a BMW...kekeke... ok i shut up now....)

After mass we headed out for dinner…. Just like breakfast, all the eateries and restaurants where packed with people…. Most were waiting outside the entrance for a table to be available… service was bad because it was so crowded and the staff couldn’t handle it… you could feel the tension in the waitresses' faces… she even dumped the cutlery on our table like she was going to stab us with it…. Food took forever, the first dish was only served about 35 minutes after we order the food….. … I wasn’t too impressed with the food either… some dishes were nice and some were so so… hmmm but nothing really wowed me… I've eaten better food in Klang...…. Then just before everyone had finished, one of the girls let out a little cry and pushed her plate aside… …there was a small little dragon fly in her meal…..!!!!!!!! it must have been in one of the vegetable dishes…… I’m telling you ...food preparation in Ipoh is very very bad…… when we complained about it they just ignored us completely… then we complained again at the counter and guess what they did… they gave us a RM 5 discount..!!...!!! small little dragonflies cost RM5 in Ipoh!!...... So people! when ordering food in Ipoh, tell them to hold the dragonflies unless of cos you don’t mind paying extra.....



(The RM5 dragonfly)

We had breakfast at the centre, (thank god!!) But lunch was either fried rice or fried mee…. the latter was tasty but the fried rice was terrible… That’s it guys… IPOH FOOD IS OVERATED… only thing nice about Ipoh is the wide variety of traditional Chinese biscuits and sweets… vely cheap and vely nice and of cause the limestone hills and caves all around Ipoh…. Most of the caves near to Ipoh house temples, both Buddist and Hindu temples… we visited one before we left Ipoh… which I will elaborate on later.
(The porch that will be turned into our BBQ area)

In the evening, G and I went to Jusco to get the BBQ stuff and while we were at the cashier we saw that it was raining heavily outside… We bought the food anyway and hoped that it will stop raining……. It never did…. It just rained and rained and rained… and just went you thought it was stopping … it started to rain heavier. G and I got permission from one of the LaSalle brothers to start the BBQ in the porch …. So we all gathered for BBQ in the porch… then Rose pointed out to me that there wasn’t enough food especially sausages…. ALAMAK!!... so Leona, G and myself hopped went back to Jusco…. It was really jammed getting there and the parking lots were so congested. Leona and I got out in the pouring rain and practically ran all the way to the supermarket. After getting all that we needed we decided to run back to the car since it took so long to get to Jusco… im sure there where a number of hungry souls back at the LaSalle Centre… kekekee… but can you imagine a Chinese girl running in the mall and an Indian dude running along behind her…. It looked like I was chasing her…… luckily I wasn’t wrestled to the ground by the security guard….



After we had cleaned up the porch (which the LaSalle Brothers were quite impressed the next morning becos they though we would make a mess of it) and having our baths we pretty much were just hanging around joking and laughing till the wee hours of the night… we only slept around 4am.
(G, showing us how its done...)

Morning came too soon and I pretty much woke up at 8.00am but only got my butt out of bet at 9.30am and started to pack my stuff… eventually everyone got packed and ready and we left at about 11.30. Leona wanted to take us to the Buddist Temple which was in a limestone cave (I forgot the name of the temple). It was not bad but we couldn’t stay long which was bad for me because I could have gone photo hunting for hours…. Kekeke …





Well all of us were getting really hungry and we were looking forward to the Duck Rice lunch at a Restaurant not too far from the temple…. but as you might have guessed …. It was packed and there was no chance of us getting a table yet alone two…. So we went to the confectionary store nearby which had every type of traditional kuih muih and cookies that Ipoh is famous for…… the Duck Rice place was still packed after our detour so Leona another branch of the same restaurant which was nearer to Jusco. I must say the duck rice was not bad... (even thought I didn't like it ...I tasted it anyway) .. it was better then the duck rice in had in SS2 PJ (that one I had no choice but to eat cos boss belanja). But since I don’t like duck rice I ate fish instead (They were out of chicken :P )

We left Ipoh about 4pm after a few stops. Then It was jam for most of the journey packed with cars…then we found that the police was stopping cars one by one near Jelapang……. The stupid police was the cause of the jam… unbelievable lah.. … and whats worse was… they stopped G … we all then waited at the side of the road for him and when we rejoined us a few minutes later we found out that the Stupid police accused him of driving along the emergency lane……. Which of cause was bullshit!!!???????... Damn Stupid Makan Babi punya Police…. Ofcos G just said “where got! Im in convoy with a few other cars”… … another cop looked around his car probably to find a reason to give him a ticket…. But ofcos didn’t find anything and then just asked him to move along…….Stupid Pigs!!!!

It started to rain and it rained all the way back to PJ….The Tapah rest stop was like a sea of cars… and there were still people trying to get in …. Sheesh… Well, we all made it back in one piece and since G brought walkie talkies for each car, we were in direct communication with each car throughout the journey… laughter ensured… Fred, if you’re reading this ...ah….. just want to say u'r one hairy joker lah.

**APM Retreat 2007**
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END

13 comments:

Gallivanter said...

You're right, Ipoh food is bloody overrated. :-)

Pixelated Mo said...

yeah lah overrated but very cheap thought and plus or minus tasty lah

visithra said...

oooh the lotus shot is excellent

Pixelated Mo said...

yeah that shot turned out well

sabrina said...

Oh this is shocking to me...the thing i loved about Ipoh was the cleanliness!

Pixelated Mo said...

im shocked too...

i remember in the late 80s i watched a documentary on Ipoh and talked about how clean ipoh is compared to penang...

Even Father-in-law was saying that in the 60s they used to wash the streets almost everyday....

hmmm... when was the last time you went to Ipoh Sabrina?

Fiona-Jane said...

Indeed! I love the lotus shot! Very nice.

Not very good at side parking are you? :P

Dallas Diaries said...

omg insects in food! Im never going to Ipoh!!

Also nice beemer :) whoop whoop!

Pixelated Mo said...

Fi: hey!... i said small parking lots :P

happy birthday btw... im sure you have a lot planned for this significant special day... cant wait to read about it :)

Pri: yeah it was a nice bmw... when we were leaving Ipoh everyone was complaining that they had work the next day... but i was complaning that i had to return the BMW :(

about Ipoh's clealiness... i dont know lah... a few people including Sabrina were surprised that i found Ipoh dirty... hmmm

Anonymous said...

I think you didn't really give Ipoh a fair chance.. Compared to other cities in M'sia, it really is much cleaner. But of course if you have 'go' looking for the dirt, of course you'll get it!

And amongst all time, you choose the raya break to go.. of course there are tons of people.. (And mind you, that does justify how GOOD ipoh food is.. you guys probably didn't know how to appreciate CANTONESE FOOD!!!) Since you are not even chinese, I think you don't have the right to degrade our food here!

Insects in food? Don't you get a lot of that too in the mamak stalls in damansara n ss2??

Next time try to look at things from a finer point of view.. I'm sure a lot of IPOH people out there will attest to that!

Pixelated Mo said...

Firstly Anon, If i were to try and look at things from a finer point of view ....then i would see the rubbish and the dirty plates... If i had disregarded the finer points then all wld hav been fine.

Secondly if you had read my post correctly, I said ... "im not saying that the eateries in Klang Valley are any better but my first impression of Ipoh and its food didn’t get to a good start…" ... and i meant cleanliness not the taste.... because i found the food tasty.. get your facts straight buddy!!!

Thirdly, again if you had read my post well, you would know that i found the food tasty... it was only the dinner at that "dragonfly Restaurant" and the fried rice for lunch that i found so so only, nothing great... which means, out of 5 meals I had out in town 2 were not worthy...

Fouthly, I hate racist pigs!.... when all is lost dont lah resort to racist remarks like "Since you are not even chinese, I think you don't have the right to degrade our food here" ...I hate duck rice but i still found Ipoh duck rice tasty right!, oh wait you probably didnt read that too... 3 out of 5 meals were tasty.... i only said Ipoh food is overated, I didnt say it was horrible.

At the begining of the post i mentioned that Ipoh at the Raya Weekend will be crowded... i highlighted that fact by the crowded eateries... and i even forgave the waitress rudeness because i knew she was overwelmed by the crowd.

So Anon, whether you are a man women or animal, I see that you are a die hard fan of IPOH food and you probably come from Ipoh too... but please,... do not be a racist pig!... on the record, i never said Cantonese food is bad! Please dont put words in my post!

Oh by the way thanks for stopping by...

dante said...

Gerald, I miss u man! Nice journey though. Should come to my house for kuih raya, only 45 mins away. I'll treat u guys to Laksa.

Pixelated Mo said...

Yeah lah dante i was telling the same thing to Rose on the way back...

I kept telling her i must call Mr Harris and wish him a happy raya... but you know me lah... procrastinate procrastinate... next thing you know it will be New Year 2008....

but anyway i couldnt break away from the group and head to Kuala Kangsar (by the way Kuala Kangsar is the Cleanness Town i have ever been)and eat some kuih raya.... this is actually the first Hari Raya that i never eat a single kuih raya...