Just a four hour drive north of KL sits Penang Island. With its laid back charm, cool street art, unbeatable street food and abundance of cultural sites Penang Island makes for a vibrant weekend getaway. Here are a few highlights (just kidding! I couldn’t help myself and have included lots of pictures) from our excursion to this exceptionally photogenic place.
Enjoying a cup of ice cream at the mall is a pretty standard activity, and one that usually occurs without fanfare. The folks behind OMG Ice Cream are out to change that with a method for crafting sweet treats that is borderline magical.
OMG’s kiosk in Pavilion mall looks like some kind of ice cream laboratory. Mixers connected to elaborate hoses are situated next to a menu whose extensive range is just about as maniacal as the process itself. What makes this place so different? OMG uses liquid nitrogen to instantly turn their fresh ingredients into super smooth ice cream. And the best part (well, besides the delicious ice cream) is that you get to see the whole process (which only takes 1 minute) as the place is set up for you to watch every step.
Your chosen ingredients are placed in a mixer and before you know it white gas is careening out of the bowl (much to the delight of any child within view). When your order is done, you are handed a super fresh treat that tastes as good as it looks.
You may be thinking that OMG stands for the ubiquitous phrase, “Oh My Gosh.” You would be wrong on that point, as it actually stands for the much less appealing, but more amusing slogan, “Ooh My Gas.” Aside from the full name, the sizing too is a little off kilter as the two sizing options are Cutie (small) and Sexy (large). It could just be me, but there is something a little weird about ordering a five year old a “sexy” ice cream. Luckily that was not a bridge I had to cross as Cutie size was just perfect for us.
Have I mentioned how good the ice cream is? When it comes to menus with customizable options I tend to stick with the prefab ones, because when left to my own devices I end up blending all of my favorites together which somehow never works out. (Like mixing all the play dough colors together thinking you’ll get the best color of all and ending up with a sad brown hue. These instances must fall under the “Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad” rule.)
But I digress. The ice cream is so silky and the flavors we tried were truly satisfying. The Apple Strudel was my favorite, while my daughter loved the Strawberry Cheesecake and my little son was smitten with the Mint Chocolate Chip. We will definitely head back to OMG next time we need a sweet fix and/or a science lesson.
OMG (Ooh My Gas Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream : )
NO. 168 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Pavilion
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 55100
P.S. “Like” them of Facebook and receive a free extra topping.
Moving from a yard with a house (which is I’m sure how Flossy would describe it) to an apartment has been an adjustment for our 3 year old golden retriever. Our building is advertised as “dog friendly” but in reality it is “dog tolerant” at best. There is no place for her to run free outside, and when we take her for walks we are relegated to using the service elevator and can walk her only in a few very specific areas of the complex.
While we still take her for walks several times a day, and give her lots of indoor playtime, we are always on the lookout for a good park to take Flossy for some outdoor fun. Recently we headed over to Desa ParkCity, which friends had highly recommended as a great place for dogs, and happily this is definitely the case.
The park surrounds a huge man-made lake which is pleasant to walk around.
There are also nearby restaurants, a handful of which have outdoor/pet friendly seating. But Flossy’s favorite spot was at the playground. The playground is large and beautiful, and as you can imagine the place to be if you are around 5-12 years old. All Flossy had to do was sit in the shade and as if on cue, a parade of new friends stopped by for a chat.
For a gentle giant like Flossy, all the attention was heavenly.
Of course, there was some cute competition. But there was plenty of love to go around.
As the sun went down and the heat retreated, the park became even more lively as more people came out to walk their pups and grab a bite to eat.
I definitely recommend heading out in the late afternoon when the heat is less intense. Be sure to pack extra water for your pet. This is a great spot for the whole family. Enjoy!☞ Desa ParkCity 5, Persiaran Residen Desa ParkCity 52200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Desa ParkCity Facebook Desaparkcity.com
After months in the city I was ready to be surrounded by nature. I wanted to wake up and hear birds instead of construction, and see more green than gray. Don’t get me wrong, city life has its rewards, but there are times when nature is the best remedy. Herman Melville sums it up, “Whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul… I account it high time to get to the sea as soon as I can.”
The sea wasn’t really an option this time around, instead we headed to the hills for a visit to the Cameron Highlands.
The Cameron Highlands is one of Malaysia’s top tourist attractions. Known for the cooler temperatures, venues where you can pick strawberries and mushrooms, tea plantations, and scenic vistas, we found in the Cameron Highlands the perfect getaway spot.
There is also an air of mystery here as this is the place where Jim Thompson (who created a veritable silk empire in Thailand) disappeared. While on vacation here Thompson went for a walk and never returned. A massive manhunt ensued, to no avail. To this day no one knows what happened to the textile giant, and many have found a way to cash in on the mystery, offering special tours and menu items dedicated to the man.
For us, the hillsides offered crisp air and a fresh perspective.
Everywhere you turn there are souvenir shops brimming with strawberry themed knick-knacks. If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a strawberry shaped pillow, this is the place for you.
What I loved about the Cameron Highlands was the sheer variety of plant life on display. Little shops featuring exotic mushrooms, cacti, (did I mention strawberries?), and even lavender dot the road, inviting you to see or try something new.
Our timing wasn’t right in terms of picking strawberries, but we were able to purchase and enjoy them nonetheless.
We were able to feast our eyes on lush tea plantations, and taste yam flavored ice cream (it was delicious) and strawberry coffee (which oddly did not taste like strawberries… or coffee).
Two days in the Highlands was not nearly enough time to explore all they have to offer, but it was the perfect respite from the noise and stress of Kuala Lumpur.
I’ve been wanting to do something special for my readers/subscribers for awhile and since it is the season of giving, it occurred to me that now would be the perfect time to have a special giveaway!
One lucky reader will be receiving this special Olio clutch featuring the Celosia print in Red Rumor from Tulisan.
I love all things Tulisan. The prints are so bright and cheerful and the quality of each product is impeccable. I happen to write for this brand, but I picked out this clutch and paid for it with my own bucks. I would love to buy each subscriber a great gift like this, but Mama ain’t got that kind of cash (but I do wish everyone good luck!).
All you have to do to enter is:
- Subscribe to WanderlustandWonder.com
- Leave a comment below sharing what your favorite holiday tradition is. It doesn’t have to be related to Christmas; any special holiday tradition will enter you in the contest.
- Only one comment allowed per person.
The winner will be chosen at random at 12:00 p.m. on Monday, December 23nd and notified by email. It doesn’t matter where you live, if you win I will mail you this lovely clutch. Should the winner for some reason not claim her/his prize, then another will be randomly selected.
I love my Tulisan clutch. It holds everything, and doubles as a wallet too. Tulisan makes such lovely gifts. Have a look at their website to find out more.
P.S. you may have noticed the blue expatsblog.com badge in the right hand corner of this page. I entered a blogging contest for the first time. If you have a couple minutes to spare please have a look at my post and leave a comment of ten words or more below it. I’d appreciate the support and would love to read your comment!
Happy Holidays! And, good luck!
If I were ever to sit down and craft a bucket list, certainly being an extra in a TV movie would be on there, right? Good, then I can cross that one off my would-be list as recently I got to play myself (i.e. nondescript American female) in the upcoming TV movie for Oh My English.
This incredibly popular Malaysian sitcom centers on a group of struggling students on a zany quest to learn English. Interestingly, the series was created by the Ministry of Education in partnership with Astro TV as a means to promote better pronunciation and the use of proper English among viewers. With over half a million ‘likes’ on the show’s official Facebook page, it seems the series has resonated with the tweens/teens it targets.
Oh My English airs weekly, but soon they will feature a special movie (which the director’s assistant described to me as a High School Musical version of the show). For this episode, in which the students receive exciting news from the U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia, they needed a few Americans to watch and applaud as the story unfolds.
It was very cool to see the production being taped right before my eyes. The kids did the scene several times, each time perfectly in character. But when the scene was over they instantly morphed back to regular folks just goofing around.
From what I can tell the episode is really funny and I’m looking forward to getting to watch it. Oh, and I’ve’ve got an agent now so if anyone needs a 5’5″ brunette to clap on cue, I now have enough experience to handle the job!
I will never forget when Guns N’ Roses first appeared on my radar. I was in fourth grade riding the bus home from school and my best friend’s older brother pulled his gramophone (an early predecessor to the iPhone, for the youngsters out there) out of his backpack, turned the volume way up, and “Paradise City” invaded my airspace.
Instantly my fourth grade posse was hooked because: 1. the older (and by default, cooler) kids were into it and 2. there is something inherently freeing about blasting music and singing like a badass. Subsequently, for the rest of the year, “Take me down to the paradise city where the grass is green and the girls are pretty” became our mantra, rallying call, and collective theme song.
It’s funny how music can instantly transport you back to a moment or time in your life. I hear that song, and bam! I’m on the bus feeling like teachers don’t know anything and I might just go on tour myself one of these days.
Turns out, you need more than a sassy attitude and penchant for noisiness to make it as a rock star. That was a disappointing realization.
Recently though, solo artist, producer, hot sauce king, and Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal visited Kuala Lumpur and incredibly our paths crossed. I was able to tag along with other press people on his “Appetite for Durian” tour as he visited an orphanage and performed at Auditorium Balai Seni Visual Negara. I wasn’t sure how it would all go down when I was given the chance to meet him, but Ron Thal was as genuine a person as I’ve ever met. I was able to catch many moments where his humanity, patience, and kindness were front and center, so I will let these images speak of his authentic nature.
The next day he did a private concert at Auditorium Balai Seni Visual Negara. It is here that I should mention his passion for hot sauce. In fact he brought his own brand of spicy concoctions everywhere with him and encouraged fearless souls to give them a try. Malaysians aren’t wimps when it comes to heat, so when I saw the people in front of me start to sweat, I quietly backed away from the line.
If this looks appealing/fun/not like torture to you, then by all means, please visit his site to find out more.
When you meet someone exceedingly talented and also famous who turns out to be kindhearted, open, and grounded, you feel like your admiration was not wasted. I never heard Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal complain, or grow tired of the seemingly endless flow of admirers that approached him. He never put a time limit on how long he would sign autographs for. He went out with local musicians and got to know KL through their eyes. Hopefully Bumblefoot’s appetite for durian remains strong, as fans here would love to welcome back this true Guitar Hero.