It’s been a while since I attended the Asian Patent Attorneys Association Council Meeting. The last one that I attended was in 2009 in Hong Kong. I stopped after my previous firm decided that I should only attend INTA and my other colleague will take over my spot in APAA.
I’ve always preferred APAA than INTA. The people attending the former is friendlier and meetings are impromptu. In fact, I dreaded attending the meetings I fixed not because I didn’t want to meet those people but I wanted to be flexible.
This year’s APAA was held in Batu Ferringhi, Penang. It was attended by more than 1,500 IP attorneys. I drove there. I left home about 445pm and got stuck in a jam for hours.
It was raining quite heavily but I raced there anyway. I think I got caught by the speed trap.
I took the new second Penang Bridge to the Island. The drive was a breeze and it was almost empty. The wind was very strong as well. I soon realised I was in the middle of the Penang Straits.
The problem with second Penang Bridge is that it brought me to middle of no where. The road condition was bad and it was dark. Soon my GPS went dead for no reason. I used my gut feeling to get to Batu Ferringhi. I got so lost.
I made a random stop at this place for dinner. It looked bright hence I stopped here. However, Google had no recommendations for me here.
I went around the stalls to see what’s good. I was peeping at people’s table to see what they ordered but most of them looked bland.
I like Mee Sua especially when it comes with herbal chicken drumstick.
With the herbal chicken drumstick on my mind, I ordered mee sua.
WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS WHERE THE FUCK IS MY HERBAL CHICKEN DRUMSTICK!!!????
I ate the mee sua anyway. It was disappointing.
As I was about to walk to my car, I saw this old uncle selling newspapers and pao. I got myself a kao yuk pao. It was awesome. It came with a big piece of pork belly. Yum.
I usually don’t splurge on hotels when I go for conferences. Instead of staying at Shangri-la and the like, I am staying in a place called EQ Ferringhi.
Bloody place looks like a prison cell!
However, the room looks pretty clean. Spacious. But there’s no WiFi in the room and no chair for me to sit on!
The hotel doesn’t trust their guests with their TV and aircon remote controls. I got them at the counter.
Although the hotel room came with breakfast, it was not very good. I ended up eating McDonalds breakfast everyday (which I like very much).
Since I drove to Penang, I made it an effort to drive my friends to eat around Penang.
I brought Takeshi (from Japan) and Edmund (from Singapore) to Pulau Tikus to eat hawker food. Edmund and I ordered various dishes such as prawn noodles (didn’t know they call it Hokkien mee here), char koay teow, chicken rice etc. They said the dishes were awesome.
Best thing about these conferences is the impromptu plans. Fix one or two meetings a day and the rest is spent running around.
There was once I bumped into Nitin from India and Edmund and I had some beers with him. Thereafter, Edmund had to go for a meeting. Nitin and I were then joined by Caroline from Thailand for ice cream.
The organisers did a street food fair for the participants. We had char kuay teow, assam laksa, murtabak, prawn noodles etc. The food was just okay. Many foreigners loved them since its their first time trying them. The locals like me were like, “It’s okay lah. Edible”.
Rock Climbing @ Jesselton Park
Prior to the conference, I was told that there are participants who had organise climbing sessions in the previous conference. I got in touch with them and agreed to bring them to climb in Penang.
I brought my new friends from Canada and Japan to climb outdoor at Jesselton Park. I have never climbed outdoor in Penang before hence I was eager to try it too.
Penang’s only bolted walls are located at Jesselton Park, which is accessible through a housing area. We relied solely on the directions of local climbing website climb.my.
We had to hike into the spot. After half an hour, we realised we were going through the wrong direction!
By that time, my legs were filled with mosquito bites. I even fell down after stepping on a slipper log. I had ants crawling all over my slippers after I stepped on a rotten log! I was a terrible experience hiking this jungle.
We did see some rubber trees here. Someone taps them during the day time I guess.
Found a wall but it was not bolted.
We made a u-turn to get to where we came from. We eventually found the spot after re-reading the directions. It was just few minutes from my car!
The place was empty. It was just the 3 of us. It was filled with mosquitoes until I put on the mosquito coil.
Miho and Kohji
The routes of the granite wall was tough. Although graded 6a, it felt much tougher. Fortunately, our Japanese friend did it easily.
There’s a small stream along the walls. I washed my hands here few times. My hands felt muddy after that.
We did 3 routes before wrapping up. We were pretty tired by then.
View from the top!
After being covered with rotten wood, ants and spiders, we headed back to the hotel to shower. We picked up another Thai friend and headed straight to Lorong Selamat for food. Since its my Japanese and Canadian friends’ first time trying Penang food, they liked them.
I wanted to bring them to eat Assam Laksa too but we ran out of time.
We bought some Tambun biscuits nearby. Didn’t know they got sambal version of Tambun biscuits now.
Penang Hill Hike
One of the perks of APAA is the excursions organised by the organising committee. We are given various choices to go and for Penang, I chose the Penang Hill Hike.
We gathered at 630am at the hotel. I had to be there early to help out because the organising committee asked for help. Fortunately, I slept early hence I felt okay.
A quick warm up before our hike. I had to use to loo and another friend also felt the same. We “watered” some plants at the bushes.
We traveled in groups and the guides lead us up. The 3 hour hike was okay for me. Not too tiring.
The guide said the plant can be used as soup. Just add water.
Great view of the city and sea.
Private property. This place may make way for development one day.
Pitcher plants. Eat insects. Yum. Plenty of them on this hill.
Rest stop. Quite nicely done. They even have a gym and a park here.
I think it’s run by volunteers. They even have donation drive to build and repair things. One Datuk here is pretty generous.
A park next stop the rest stop. I think build by volunteers too.
Anyone from Penang remembers this rock?
Apparently, a lot of Penang kia used to make out here. Heh
Rest stop 84. A stop before going up the hill using the tarred road. I heard volunteers used to serve coffee here but it’s abandoned now.
I guess it’s because the floor collapsed. No free coffee!
Extremely steep 5km hike up to the hill.
Saw this beautiful bungalow by the hillside. Built in 192 by Mr. Khoo Heng Pan, a wealthy Penang Chinese who died in 1934 at the age of 43. He was the owner of a cinema and other properties. There’s a scholarship fund set up under his name. The scholarship fund ran out of money in 2011 (according to the Penang State Audited Report) – almost 70 years after his death!
Another view of the house.
Lunch at David Brown Cafe. Another bungalow turned into a cafe.
Too bad the place didn’t milk enough of David Brown’s name. There was nothing about the history of the place. I had to google it.
David Brown, a Scotman, is the pioneer in nutmeg planting in Penang in the 1800s. He made it big with his business and became a well know philanthropist.
The house has a damn ancient looking urinal.
Great view of the city!
We took the train back down to the foothill. Saw this frog stuck to the train.
We finished our tour at about 130pm and I went back to the hotel to sleep.
Overall the hike wasn’t difficult. I brought the right shoes (I climbed Mont Kinabalu with slippers and had terrible blisters after that). A Korean participant wore slacks and leather shoes. I think he suffered a bit.