I woke up early to catch the 800 bus to Ipoh. My end destination was Georgetown on the island of Penang, but no direct buses left from Ipoh to there until 430
. Ipoh was on the way anyway. I ended up grabbing a bite to eat in my 1.5 hour wait in Ipoh, then for some reason my bus didn't take me to Georgetown, but to another city on the island. This city looked real trashy, so I didn't get off. It took me back to the mainland crossing a bridge that claims to be one of the longest in the world at 13KM, but I don't think it is quite that long. From Butterworth, I had to pay roughly $.50 to take the ferry across to Georgetown. I walked up the main street trying to search for the Reggae hostel, which is owned by the same company of the place I stayed in KL. I ended up at a place called the Banana Guesthouse and its about $6 per night, so that's nothing to complain about. I got my own room also. This city is not safe and I do not mean in a crime perspective. There are no crosswalks and the sidewalks are always crowded with scooters and random items from shops. I had to carry my bags and most of the time I was on the road. I guess it would have been a good idea to get a taxi if I would have known it would have been like this. Later on, I found out that this was only on my street. Most other streets had some street crossings that were safer with more walking room. Coming from far away, the island looking amazing. It had good sized buildings for an island, but getting on the island looked a little dumpy. I have a feeling that Georgetown will be the best city on the island. I started going for a walk and ran into a few optical places. The first one told me they don't even carry my prescription for contacts in Malaysia and they have to get them imported
. I stopped by a second store just to make sure and they said they would have to specially order that size. They said my prescription is usually for old people. I told them I was sure of it. They made me do some tests and sure enough my prescription was a +5.5. It used to be a +6. I got glasses instead of contacts. It was very cheap. From there, I went to the main strip for bars and then to the night market from some cheap dinner. The market here was way smaller than Bangkok's, but had a good vibe. It had some lights and music to go with dinner! From there, it was pretty much bed time.
I woke up late at 9 AM, then jumped on the internet to see what happened while I was sleeping
. I decided to make my first stop to the Kek Lok Si temple. The temple is in the lonely planet as the top tourist attraction in Penang. It's 30 minute bus ride from the city center. The bus is also very cheap. Only 2 ringit, which is less than a dollar at the moment. It was quite an impressive temple. First, I was I had to walk through a bunch of alley ways of shops to get to the bottom. There a giant pagoda at the beginning. The landscaping was great. I reached a little wishing well type thing with hundreds of turtles. The turtles were so cool. Everyone in USA pictures them to be like these slow animals, but they swim, walk and are just all around good animals. You can walk around the different sections of the temples for free, but to get to the top, you have to pay 4 ringit. There is another temple at the top with a giant statue. I've seen a lot of temples, but this one was pretty good. I was impressed. The next stop was Penang Times Square. It's a nice place that has a lot going for it. It's copied after New York Times Square obviously, but not so good. It's a shopping center now, but still under development. I just got some food there, then was off to the World's largest toy museum. I doubt it was the world's largest, but it was alright. The museum was filled with Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, WWE, Terminator, Ninja Turtles and all kind of other figures. It only took 15 minutes to walk through it. The next stop was Batu Ferrenghi. It's supposed to be the nicest beach in Penang. It was OK
. I didn't have my swimming trunks ready, so didn't go in. This is the high end of the island. It has the Holiday Inn, Hard Rock and other hotels for the upper class. I was finally on my way, with a stop at a mall to see a movie, but the movies didn't start until later at night, so I left. There are two big differences between here and India. There is a mixed culture here between Malays, Indians and Chinese. I thought I may see a dirtier country here, but it's not so dirty and not clean either. At least they have garbage cans. Garbage cans are extremely rare in India. On the bus ride home, the bus driver didn't stop a couple times because the bus was full. It's kind of sad because the people couldn't get on, but you can't have it be like India where they have no limits and the people stack people on top of each other and you can not move. It's really not a safe environment, so this was good. There is also a sign of no pets. I remember in India, they put goats on a bus. It could be better here, but just happy it's not worse. My first impression of Penang was bad, then it became good by the time I left. It's not a bad place and it's growing a lot. It's just really crowded and in some parts, it's dirty. I came back to the hostel to get on the Internet and upload my latest video. This man in the lobby just talked my head off until I could not stand it anymore. He was an old man. He said he'd been to 188 countries and had only 9 left. I told him there were 214 countries with Kosova and now South Sudan. I started naming the countries off that are rare like Cook Islands, American Samoa, Kiribati, Yemen, Oman. He said Cook Islands is New Zealand. He said he went to the Oman airport, but never actually in Oman. He said American Samoa is America and they don't have a seat in United Nations, so he doesn't count it. Sounds like he makes up his own rules. I used to think it was cool like him to go to a country for a day, then count it on my list, but now, I try to go more in depth. One month in Malaysia and one month in Philippines is a lot of time to spend. I spent a year exploring Australia, so thats quite a bit. I have a map online that counts my countries. I can just count what I want and what I do not want. It give the official count. I would count Hong Kong, Taiwan and China as 3, but the map counts it as one...