GEORGE TOWN, PENANG

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Hidden cafes, street art around every corner, tiny shops bursting with antiques and curiosities – George Town, Penang is my kind of place. One of my final stops before returning to Kuala Lumpur to fly home. I spent 3 days in this melting pot metropolis. Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site the number of places to see and things to do is overwhelming. George Town is a perfect blend of preserved history and contemporary quirks. If on a limited time don’t miss the following.

Sites- The Clan Jetty Heritage Homes + Armenian Street Art + The Protestant Cemetery

Take a break- The Alley 5 Stewart Lane + Favourite Cafe– 205 Lebuh Pantai + Moon Tree 47– Jalan Muntri

Drink- Mona Lisa Café Lebuh Chulia + Reggae Club– 483, Lebuh Chulia

Eat- Red Garden– 20, Jalan Leith + Lebuh Chulia Hawkers stall (especially try the dumplings) + Little India

Stay- House of Journey 45, 47 Lorong Sek Chuan st

Wander- For 25RM you can hire a scooter and explore the rest of Island. Along the way check out Penang’s National Park (including Monkey Beach), beaches (don’t stop at Batu Ferringhi Beach, its a tourist trap) and surrounding hills. It takes about six hours to get around the whole Island.

MELAKA

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Melaka City was the second place I visited during my free weekends in my month long stay in Malaysia. Friends had said I would only need a day there but as it turned out I ended up extending my stay and staying for three instead!! Roughly two hours South by bus from Kuala Lumpur, Melaka is known as Malaysia’s historical state. Melaka is the perfect place to simply wander and discover. Through my own wandering I found and would recommend the following.

Firstly, Melaka is inundated with stylish hole in the wall cafes, restaurants and bars that I became a complete sucker for. Don’t do as I did and end up spending all your money by paying an average 11RM (roughly $3.6Aus) on coffees. 11RM could instead be spent purchasing two or three meals from Jonker Street food stalls but, if you do fall victim as I did, don’t miss the following…

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MOD’s Café– Located on Jalan Tokong. Once inside you will discover a time-warp transporting you back to London’s swinging 60’s. All coffee is made from the depths of an orange VW Van that used to offer coffee via the road but now permanently resides within the four walls of the café. MOD’s café has my vote for best coffee (and especially best iced latte in Melaka).

MOD’s Café-  14 Jalan Tokong, Melaka 7520

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Limau Limau- Putting the word of mouth recommendations into practise Limau Limau was recommended to me by the lovely staff at MOD’s café. If you’re a westerner Limau Limau is a guilty indulgence as their menu for the majority only offers a varying array of sandwiches, ciabattas, wraps and focaccias, which I know is not taking advantage of Malaysia’s diverse range of traditional Asian dishes. But sometimes all you want is a bit of hometown familiarity and Limau Limau is the place to find it. The café’s décor is European and rustic with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. It also, like the rest of Melaka, visually shares it affections for felines with framed photos of different cats crammed into any spare wall space. There is also an upstairs area, which is open during busy periods but was unfortunately closed when I had lunch.

Limau Limau Cafe– No.9 Jalan Hang Lekiu, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia.

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The Baboon HouseThe Baboon House boasts the best burgers in Melaka. Anyone one visiting Melaka city I’m sure will be pointed in its direction immediately with it being a favourite amongst locals and visitors to the city. The Baboon House is located in a beautiful slightly derelict colonial building in which trees and plants have been allowed to grow free within, giving the feel of having lunch within the Jumanji filmset. Owned and run by artist Roger Soong, you also will be able to experience Roger’s, and other artist’s work, throughout the space. When I visited I had the menu special Slow-Roasted Pork Belly in White Wine which tasted as good as it sounds. Although extremely touristy, Baboon House is well worth the visit to eat or otherwise simply lap up the stunning surroundings. Do be warned however photographs are strictly forbidden which perhaps makes a nice change, since you simply have to enjoy your time filter and hashtag free.

The Baboon House- 89, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 75200, Melaka

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Finally and perhaps most importantly the best place to have a drink would most definitely be Shantaram. This little bar which is run by another local artist and his wife, is more a room with some plastic chairs and a bar fridge stocked with Asia’s finest, ‘Tiger’ beer, than a bar. Shantaram plays host to passing travellers, locals and any domesticated fauna in the area. Its walls also host a variety of insightful quotes such as ‘Give Piss A Chance’ to mosaicked human figures cut from magazines with cat heads. Opening only in late evening it is a perfect stop off after visiting the hectic Jonker Street food stalls for dinner.

In regards to places to stay I had a dorm room at the Voyager Guest House. It’s basic but extremely hospitable and with unbelievably generous staff all who appeared to be originally from Nepal. During my time here I was taken for a sunset bike ride to the floating mosque and during the week you can go camping on a duty free island. It also has large common areas to easily meet people. If you’re looking for something a bit more refined book just down the road at Layang Layang Guest House.

I was extremely sad to leave Melaka so soon, as it seems a place that the longer you stay, the better it gets.

GEORGE TOWN STREET ART

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Penang’s capital, George Town has always been a constant enticement for drawing both international and local visitors. Voted the most live-able city in Malaysia, the town was also together with Malacca declared a UNESCO site in 2008. Renowned for its architecture, food and art, George Town was most definitely one of my favourite places recently visited in Asia. My love and affection for this place was most likely cemented with its now acclaimed street art, which also acts as a social and political commentary for the area and country. Although varying artists have used the city walls for their canvas I was particularly drawn to Lithuanian native, Ernest Zacharevic works. Now based in Penang, Zacharevic’s works dominate and span across the city and can also be found in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Johor Baru, Singapore and Europe.  Check out more of Zacharevic’s work here. Other artist include Tang Yeok Kang, Natthaton Muangkliang, Louise Low, Simon Tan and Louis Gan.

 

 

CRISTJEN LAI

 

Cristjen Lai

303373_328179087262320_386421122_n Cristjen Lai

Cristjen Lai

Cristjen Lai

Cristjen Lai

Cristjen Lai

Cristjen Lai

Cristjen Lai

After many recommendations from friends, I finally visited the historical town of Melaka. During my stay I was fortunate enough to meet professional wanderer, artist and chef extraordinaire, Cristjen Lai. I fell in love with Cristjen’s illustrations and he was obliging enough to agree to let me share them with you on Trash and Aesthetics. Any one currently visiting Melaka, can view Cristjen’s work at the celebrated The Baboon House. If you visit before Aug 9th, be sure to further enhance the experience by trying the chef’s special, “Slow-Roasted Pork Belly in White Wine” again courtesy of Cristjen’s expertise. It is divine. To purchase or see more of Cristjen’s work click here.  I hope you like his work as much as I did. I can’t wait to share the rest of my discoveries from Melaka with you soon.

All images are courtesy of Cristjen Lai

 

KOTA KINABALU

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My best intentions and blogging efforts for this year seemed to have already failed, with massive intervals between posts. To make up for the gap I am about to clog your newsfeed with posts about my current exotic location. Trash and Aesthetics is currently abroad. I am midway through my month long-stay in Malaysia Truly Asia.

This trip came about through a university commitment, which allowed me to take advantage of cheap flights and spend weekends visiting different parts of the country, as well as Kuala Lumpur where I have been based. The First weekend here I visited a university friend, Fay in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo. I flew into Sabah’s little tin shack terminal at 12am and was picked up by Fay and taken for the best Lechon Kawali (Crispy Pork) in town. I doubt this Filipino restaurant would make it into most guidebook recommendations, (which I’m sure is a relief for the locals), but when in Sabah, you must visit this place. Decorated like a tiki shack with lots of shell accessories from wind chimes to ‘Jesus Loves You’ signs and offering buckets of beer for only 10r, ‘Tambayan Filipino’ is well worth the negotiated taxi ride. After the restaurant we spent the rest of the now morning in the extremely generous hospitality of Sabah locals, drinking whisky and orange juice (not a local delicacy, but instead a consequence of running out of original alternatives) to the wee hours of the morning.

Saturday we ventured via speedboat to the Islands. Whilst waiting at the harbour we bought breakfast. Breakfast in Sabah does not fall into the same food types that I’m used to for breakfast. In the West we favor muesli over mussels but when in Sabah, do as they do in Sabah. When you visit be sure to order the following dishes – fried seafood kueh teow (with flat noodles), pineapple fried rice (your choice of meat) and fried oyster mee hoon (with vermicelli noodles).

There are so many islands you can access from KK. The area also boasts some of the best diving spots in Asia. Due to time restrictions, we spent the most of our time on Pulau Sapi Island, which is the end point for the longest zip line in South East Asia, which is runs between Sapi and another Island… need I say more. The islands have yet to be developed with only basic facilities, which adds to their charm and makes them ideal for a zip line and beer or two on the beach.

Saturday evening I experienced more of Sabah’s generous hospitality with Fay’s Mum and partner (Aunty Rose and Uncle Kong) taking us for seafood. I don’t think I have eaten REAL seafood before eating like this. ‘Welcome Restaurant’ I do believe has been made aware to the tourist route and for good reasons. The restaurant comes across similarly to a pet shop with lots of tanks with doomed sea creatures soon to be seafood. The word fresh takes on a whole new meaning. To order you are able to choose which and what you would like. After dinner I got to experience another first, clubbing in Asia. ‘Plutonic’ which is located in Times Square (which to me just looked like a giant shopping centre) was a haze of beer towers (literally a tower of beer roughly about three jugs in quantity), shots and a flaming Lamborghini. After, Fay took me to experience Borneo’s version of a Dirty Kebab. When you too find yourself in this situation find a busy street stall and order the following – roti telur (eggy flatbread), roti kaya (sweet bread), soto (Malaysian soupy noodles, egg, and chicken/ beef) and maggi goreng.

For my final day in KK, you guessed it, involved yet more eating. After a stroll down the main Sunday market, which I found slightly traumatic due to the variety of “pets” able to be purchased. We had dim sums in a beautiful street stall just off the market’s street, that could also cater as a museum with photos, maps and newspaper cuttings of Borneo’s history covering the walls. Then after a quick stop at the town’s lookout, we concluded with another Sabah specialty, Ngiu Chap (beef noodles). Then enjoyed more beer and one final sunset before getting on my flight.

As I had only two days in Sabah I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to explore outside of KK. There is so much more to be discovered here. I definitely would not have discovered any of the amazing places I did experience however, if it hadn’t been for Fay and her family and friends. I feel like I got a brief peek at what its like to be a local in KK for the weekend and can’t wait to go back.

Exmouth

20140628-164824.jpg   20140628-170649.jpg My friend Jackie and I have just returned from a week of adventuring up the North of WA. We drove the 1,264 km to the small coastal town of Exmouth, located at the tip of the North West Cape in roughly 14 hours from Perth.The trip to Exmouth came about as I concluded it would be much more rewarding to embrace rather than deny and despise my reaching of a quarter of century this month. I decided to mark the occasion by venturing off into the wilderness and being one with nature, opposed to the less active usual alternative. A very dear friend, Sam had moved up there earlier in the year, after deciding her life required a sea change and conveniently scored a job working for one of the many Whale Shark Tour Companies, which also contributed further to the appeal to go bush.    20140628-164150.jpg 20140628-164834.jpg   When you find yourself up in this part of the world make sure you stop by Coral Bay for a day or two. This touristy, little town with bleach white sandy beaches is a perfect introduction to what is in store for you once your reach the rest of the Ningaloo Reef and National Park. On arrival to Exmouth’s town don’t be deterred by its appearance! It is a bizarre let down compared to what’s in store for you in the surrounding natural landscape. If you have not already booked yourself into a whale shark tour DO THIS IMMEDIATELY, as this truly is a bucket list essential. The day we went out on a tour began with sighting hump back whales, pods of spinner dolphins and a group of tiger and reef sharks feeding off a giant bait ball (not really what you want to see minutes before you jump into open water to swim with the whale sharks, but there you go… you’re in nature now!). 20140628-164845.jpg 20140628-164810.jpg Whale Sharks are the biggest fish in the sea, growing potentially to a whopping 12+ meters in length. They’re also devastatingly close to extinction due to poaching, which is still happening today in more areas of the world than where they are protected. We were fortunate enough to swim with eight throughout the day and see another two quizzically come right up to the boat! Swimming with the docile creatures completely takes your breath away and will be like no other experience. The rest of our afternoon was spent snorkelling inside the reef’s lagoon, capturing glimpses of turtles, dugongs and every other kind of fish featured in ‘Finding Nemo’. Once returned safely to dry land we headed to the William DeVlaming Lighthouse with a bottle of wine for sunset. Exmouth I must say, knows how to put on a rather good sunset. 20140628-170336.jpg 20140628-170330.jpg 20140628-170323.jpg   10455424_10204489743741715_3227494452419441928_n 20140628-170316.jpg For the rest of our time in Exmouth Sam gave us the local tour. We snorkelled at Turquoise Bay, Oyster Stacks and Sandy Bay. Again, we were stunned at the natural fauna of the reef. Swimming with more reef sharks, turtles and even spying 3 surly lionfish. We camped overnight in the national park where we indulged in another beautiful sunset (and bottle of wine). 10412043_10204489740901644_8567058176010930828_n 20140628-164138.jpg   10492422_10204489758102074_5782053934676692580_n 20140628-164817.jpg The whole experience has made me appreciate just how lucky we are in Australia and particularly Western Australia to still have access to such amazing, healthy marine life. It also makes you realize that any marine life should not spend its existence in a tanks, they are meant to be free. So start saving you petrol pennies and get north, it really is where it’s at.

PUBLIC Amateur

Another uni semester is finally over, THANK GOODNESS! This semester I enrolled in taking an introduction to photography unit as an elective. We had various projects in order to conquer the basics of the camera (no easy task I found).

Stormie Mills

Stormie Mills

Stormie Mills

One of these projects involved capturing different elements of an urban environment. I choose to shoot the wonderful initiative by Form Gallery, PUBLIC. PUBLIC saw over a period of nine days, 45 artists demonstrate their expertise on 30 Walls in Perth and the Pilbara. Involved were both WA, Australian and International artists using the different urban environments as their canvas’.

Phlegm

Phlegm

 

Last Chance

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I shot these photos back in April this year, anyone in Perth I’m sure would have already seen the various works around the city or heard about the project at the time. If you haven’t get onto to Form’s website for the locations and take an afternoon to explore and appreciate them, they will knock your socks off.

Beastman

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I focused only on the Wilson car park on Murray Street near Form Gallery for my project as this had lots of my favourite artists works. I hope you can forgive my amateur hour photos and how late I am to post about this Perth event, but still appreciate the amazing talent of the artists’ works.

ROA