TAIPING – TOWN OF HEAVENLY PEACE

It was a moonlit night in old Mexico
I walked alone between some old adobe haciendas
Suddenly, I heard the plaintive cry of a young Mexican girl …

“La la laaaa,” (the guitar strumming rapidly a tune); “La la la la la la la la laaaaaa” (The guitar continued with its rapid strumming but in F#m (chord change) …

“You better come home, Speedy Gonzales”…. hang on, … going off track…😅. The sun this evening must have gotten to me on my long walk.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have reverted back to my usual 15 kilometer (km) walk per day starting yesterday, from the 15,000 steps which covers 11.9km. This is to work at reducing the gained 2.2kg overweight from 2 days ago. Signs of progress – weight is down by 0.4kg after yesterday’s exercise.

While walking, my mind wonders off at times (I am a dreamer) … Speedy Gonzales? How did that come into the picture?

At the same time, I was treated to battle royale: The time was after 6.00pm in the evening. The sun was out strong, but not as scorching as over the past few days. It was slowly making its way to the west for its sunset. There were some clouds from the North-East, gathering and building up overhead slowly. They didn’t look like rain clouds. A short while later, I heard the rumbles of the sound of thunder in the distance. The sun was still shining brightly at this time.

There was a sudden thunderclap. It looked like the sun was not going to have a peaceful sundown. But it didn’t seem like it wanted to give up. The rain clouds showed force by dropping a drizzle of rain. The sun retaliated with all its might by shining even more brighter, and thus evaporating the raindrops. The clouds could not respond to that move and just remained where they were.

The sun had a peaceful and beautiful sunset, shining radiantly and faded away slowly, thus creating a beautiful sunset.

At the same time; I was also thinking as to what my next essay would be on. I had several topics in mind and I was already framing my storyboard. Hey, why not I write about my trip to Taiping? No, no… Not the one in southwestern China. (1)

Flower in Taiping. Picture courtesy of Dato Devan

Jeannie and I visited the “Taiping” in Perak, Malaysia on an overnight trip last Friday (October 15th, 2021) evening. We were invited by Dato Devan to stay the night with him and his family.

Pronounced as taipen by Malay, thaipin by Chinese and thaipeng by Hokkien (a Chinese dialect); Taiping is made up of two Chinese characters (tai – “great”) and (ping – “peace”). (2)

Picture by Dato Devan

Being a true Malaysian; the first thing on the agenda is food. It can be the only thing on the agenda for most Malaysians.

This is char kuey teow. It is neither Penang nor is it Ipoh char kuew teow. This is “Taiping” char Kuew Teow with a twist. It had a slight hint of lime added to it when it was being “char” or fried; making it unique; not the usual limau kasturi (3) squeezed over the already prepared dish.

Dato Devan and myself at a Taiping coffee shop (or restaurant as they are now known these days.)

Friday evening was light and easy. It was dinner, then back to the house for chit-chat, drinks and some snacks.

The Taiping moon, Friday night. Photo by Dato Devan with his Samsung S21 Ultra’s 108 times zoom.

Saturday morning, Jeannie and I began with breakfast with Dato Devan and his wife Datin Poonam; at a coffee shop near a Chinese temple, reputed to serve good, simple food. Then, they took us on a tour of Taiping

One of our first stops was to St Louis Catholic Church – the oldest church in Perak. It is a beautiful church with a stone style architecture. It reminds me a bit of the Holy Rosary Church in Sapa, North Vietnam.

Jeannie and I at St. Louis Church, the oldest church in Perak

The bell tower. Jeannie was tempted to give it a go at ringing the bell.

Jeannie. Picture by Dato Devan
Picture by Dato Devan

We drove around the Taiping Lake Gardens. Being a Saturday morning, this park was full of people.

The famous 134 year-old giant rainforest tree near the lake, which is a tourist attraction; had just died recently. The authorities had tried to keep the tree alive and maintain it by placing metal beams as support to keep it from falling.

Since it was a dry spell even for the wettest town in Malaysia (Taiping attracts the most rainfall every year); the waterfall was suffering a “falling water” shortage.

The waterfall at the back of us. Photo by Dato Devan

We stopped by at a famous shop, selling a wide variety of Chinese biscuits and cookies – a must for tourists, local and foreign alike.

Visiting Taiping as a tourist without visiting the most famous Aun Tong coffee mill in Assam Kumbang, is like not having visited Taiping at all.

I love coffee. I got to see for the first time how coffee was made. Actually, I only had glimpses. A lot of the machinery look like they were from a from a different century 😃
The furnaces are at the back of us.
The furnaces behind Jeannie, where the beans are roasted.
Coffee beans from Indonesia.
The beans, roasted.
Picture of beautiful Chen Cuifen. (1867 -1962). She was Sun Yat-sen’s partner – long story. (3) This selfie photo was taken in the museum room at the Aun Tong coffee mill.

The picture of Chen Cuifen caught my eye. She was beautiful and powerful, too. This little museum room is a must-see. It is history, but not from too long ago. In the museum, there are a lot of artifacts, each with a story behind it.

Jeannie, at the Antong (Is it “Aun Tong” or “Antong”?) coffee mill. The mill has been around since 1933.
Modern design packaging has taken away some of the nostalgia of the old coffee mill. The green packet on the left is coffee with mint.

You get the mint flavour at the beginning and at the end of the sip. It is something like being on the surface of the coffee. Designer coffee?

Another old charm of Taiping is the Nagaria Steak House restaurant in the heart of the city of Taiping. Why old charm is because it has that original Coliseum Restaurant (now closed down) dark and rustic look; having been left behind in the era of the 1950s; in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, minus the old rude and rough waiters which gave character to Coliseum. The western food served at Nagaria is supposed to be the best Taiping has to offer.

It was past 2.00pm when Jeannie and I decided to make our way back to Subang Jaya. When we on the highway, just out of Taiping; we could see it was already storming in the hills of Taiping behind us. There were also drops of rain beginning to fall on us, too. So that’s what rain looks like. It has been so long since the last time we had rain that we almost forgot what they looked like.

Taiping may seem to be like just about any other city or town in Malaysia. But it does have a lot to offer in terms of sight-seeing and things to do. No major mega shopping malls here, though. It may take a bit of getting used to in living a simple, yet happy life there. Heavenly peace.

Note:

  1. Taiping, China; is a subdistrict situated in eastern Anning City, Yunnan province. southwestern China. Wikipedia.org
  2. Wikipedia.org
  3. “Limau Kasturi” is Calamansi. It is also known as Philippine lime and is important, econimically . It is predominantly grown in The Philippines but it is also easily available in South East Asia, Southern China and Taiwan in East Asia.
  4. Sun Yat-Sen’s lover Cuifen and her Malaysia villa, Chia Yei Yei, 16 Oct 2019. thinkchina.sg/sun-yat-sens-lover-cuifen-and-her-malaysia-volla,
  5. “Speedy Gonzales” – This music and everything in it is owned or licensed by Believe and UMG
Pat Boone – Speedy Gonzalez

3 thoughts on “TAIPING – TOWN OF HEAVENLY PEACE

    • Thank you for you kind words.

      As I began piecing the essay on my storyboard, lots of ideas and thoughts, zany as they might be; come to me. It is fun to work with these different ideas, thoughts, conflicts, etc.. I am already wired to write a thought-provoking essay for the next one. Will see where that leads to.

      Have a great day!

      Like

  1. Pingback: CHEN CUIFEN – CAPTIVATING! | leatherpotato

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