Look who it is...The Lazy, (thin but lovely) Irish

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
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Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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Where I stayed
The Red Inn

Flag of Malaysia  ,
Saturday, July 24, 2010

We woke for our last day (probably of the whole trip) in a 4* hotel. The bus was picking us up at 10am so we only had time to collect our washing from the local Swiss restaraunt before the bus arrived. I did start to get a little concerned at 10:10am as it still hadnt arrived and we had no idea which company it had been booked with (as Rory and Emer had booked it for us). My fears were allayed though when a minibus arrived and the guy shouted Penang. We were a little stunned by the bus, after vowing to not get any more buses (at least for a while) we were back on board one. This however had leather seats that reclined, armrests, leather ceiling and a tv fitted, along with a full airconditioning unit. We took about 15 minutes to get to Krabi ferry port where the driver was picking up Rorie and Emer from the Phi Phi ferry. We obviously made signs and stood at the gate with "slim" and “the lazy Irish”. Back in the company of our travelling mates we then set off on what turned out to be about a 10 hour journey. It went quickly though, we had a lot to catch up on, and it got very noticeable that we were deep in Muslim country. all the women were wearing headscarves if not full burkas, as opposed to the buddhism of the last many months.

We had to change buses near the Malaysian border in an area that our books say is a no go area. We felt quite safe though really until Rorie got back from the 7-11 and had been followed by a Toyota Hilux with non army guys in the back carrying AK47’s. We decided we would just sit inside and wait for the bus. Oh yes, when we got off the 1st bus the new driver said "sorry just repairing bus" with a piece of the engine in his hand and a screwdriver, “may take half an hour to an hour”.

We did eventually get going again when the bus had been put back together and we finally reached the Malaysian border. We passed through the border to exit Thailand before the driver told us to go and give a guy at a desk 20 Baht for entry forms to Malaysia. We were mystified and between the two couples have spent 17 months crossing various borders without ever having paid for an arrival ticket. Fair play to Emer she just set about the bus driver and shouted at him that they are free at the other border. The steam started to escape from her ears and she went bright red before telling him he was “a very, very, rude man” class. The bus driver just said sorry and laughed in her face. At the Malaysian entry point there were no arrival tickets but we soon got some free ones and got our visa and entry into Malaysia.

Having seen the luxury and money of Thailand, Malaysia reminded us of home on first impressions. All the cars were new, same roads signs and road markings, the buildings looked quite similar and the brands were out in force (i.e. Tesco, McDonalds etc).

We eventually arrived in Georgetown, the capital of Penang, after crossing what the Lonely Planet described as being the 3rd longest bridge in the world (I cant see it though) this place was the first colonised by the British based East India Company on the Malay peninsula as they began their assault on the Spice Trade. Rorie and Emer were booked in somewhere but they were full. We walked up and down the backpacker street, Love Lane, so called because rich merchants used to keep their mistresses here, looking at rooms and realising that the days of 6 a night were well behind us. We eventually paid a bit more than we perhaps should but quite rightly Value = function over cost and the 'rooms’ that were the cheapest just consisted of metal bars with a metal bar door and a curtian (i.e. no windows). Whilst I’m happy to stay in cell like rooms, Erica would have been eaten alive by the mossies, and as this place has historically had the nickname of the "White mans grave" as so many have died from Malaria, the increase in price was permitted this time.

We met up with the guys after checking in and went for a drink and bite to eat before the quick drink got longer and I think it must have been about 2am by the time we woke our hotel man up who came to the door in his undercrackers.
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Comments

Dil on

I remember I loved Krabi (not sure whats left now after the Tsunami) and Penang - except eating at the Lok Lok stalls. It was only after eating it that I was told the tasty pork sausage i'd scoffed was actually pigs colon!!

I'm just sitting down to catch up with your travels so excuse me for the delayed comments guys.

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