Tuesday, 24 April 2012

North Bay, Penang

After I watched the Blue Lagoon (US hit movie) many years ago, I started looking at the Malaysian coastlines to see what we have. I have lived by the sea after I was born and have always lived close to the sea. Even when I went to study overseas, I chose universities or campuses which were close to the sea or where I could easily go to the sea. Why the sea? I don't know. I guess maybe because all humans were made in aqueous medium (water), therefore tendency is humans will want to seek abodes near a body of water. For me, that's seawater or close to the sea. I cannot live too far inland as I'm not used to it. I need to be by the sea.

These are the places I have lived which were close to the sea or were by the sea:
  1. Banda Hilir house, Malacca - 5 minutes walk to the sea. I had access to the sea for 5 full years from age zero to 5 years old.
  2. Alor Star, Kedah - we lived inland and quite far from the sea, so we drove to Penang (island) on weekends, used the ferry service and had full access to the sea for 2 days every weekend. In Penang, I swam either at the beach or Penang Chinese Swimming Club at Tanjong Bungah (I was the only non Chinese).
  3. Gaya College, Jesselton, Sabah (Borneo) - we lived in the highlands facing Mt Kinabalu, but we went to the beach for swimming/wharf for fishing/river for fishing every weekend.
  4. Maktab Perguruan Perempuan Melayu, Pengkalan Chepa, Kelantan - this place was by the airport and close to the sea, near where the Japanese landed in Malaya on 7-8 December 1941. The house we lived in was haunted after the Japanese left and the British took over, and later left. When we moved in our house had a lot of beer/whiskey/wine bottles in the backroom/servants quarters. We went to 2 beaches - Sabak and Pantai Cahaya Bulan. I don't recall going to the beaches in Bachok and Tumpat.
  5. Maktab Perguruan Perempuan Melayu, Durian Daun, Malacca - this was a bit far from the sea. We went to Tanjung Bidara and also to Port Dickson for swims to see the corals.
  6. California (northern and southern) - I lived inland but went to Bidwell Park, Chico (northern California) where there was a creek from ancient volcanic eruptions of the Sierra mountain range in the area. On another occasion in winter I went to watch the gray whales off San Bernadino. I also went to drive a boat on a dam and had an accident but I didn't drown ( I had a life jacket on). I also swam at the university with my labmates at lunch time but since there were so many peering eyes, I decided to quit swimming on campus.
  7. Minden Heights, Penang - I lived beside the university and walked to work for exercise. I swam at the USM small pool and also at the big Olympic swimming pool on weekdays. I went to Tanjung Bungah for swims/floats and laksa Penang. I stopped swimming altogether after I had my first child/after surgery. Never went back to swimming. I only knew freestyle and nothing else, not butterfly, etc.
  8. Bedford Park, outskirt of Adelaide, South Australia - on weekends we drove our small car to the beach at Glenelg and also went to the zoo by the river, and took the train to Outer Harbour.
  9. Crawley, Nedlands, between Perth and Fremantle, Western Australia - we lived in the students' flats at the periphery of the University of Western Australia, where I completed my PhD. This is a lovely place to be and to study. It is near the Swan River which is an inland freshwater lake, and also near Fremantle, which is a seaport and faces the vast Indian Ocean. The Fremantle Markets is the place to be for the family.

Penang has many swimming sites but today, with many hotels and residential homes built by the beaches, the immediate sea is filthy and unclean for swimming. I remember my kids went for a swim and returned with itchy blisters, rashes, etc. They never went back to swimming on Penang beaches.

I particularly like North Bay in Penang. North Bay is depicted in many old books about Penang. North Bay is quite picturesque. Here are some photos of North Bay:

Painting of North Bay. Photo from Penang Museum.
North Bay viewed from the 7th floor, Hotel Flamingo by the Beach, Penang. Photo by me.
Children playing on the sand at North Bay, Penang. Photo by me.