At home in Penang

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
1
48
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Trip End Jan 04, 2012


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Where I stayed
Red Inn Heritage Hostel
What I did
Settled

Flag of Malaysia  ,
Friday, September 30, 2011

It doesn't take long to realise your at home somewhere, or that your country has once put it's mark there anyhow. We jumped off the ferry (more stepped off slowly in the unbearable heat) and walked down a couple of streets avoiding the use of a taxi (thinking back, I don't know why) because it would be only walk to out hostel. It was a short walk, but at the time I managed personally to lose about a litre in sweat. Horrendous I know, but when the polite receptionist at the hostel offers you water on arrival, just because you look broken, you know you look bad.

The hostel, 'Red Inn Heritage', (there are two but this one is at 15 Love Lane), seems to go back a mile. Its a long hostel. Comfy downstairs with a water cooler and some tea and coffee making facilities it also has some internet access computers (which we no longer need thank you as they also have wifi) and some nice big chairs. The lady showed us upstairs before I had a chance to collect my change after paying, as she suggested I may want to "settle in and cool down". Once she had showed us our little box room (I will divulge shortly) she showed us the shared shower rooms at which point she gasped when she caught sight of my dripping wet back. Very embarassing, but I am now used to it. She suggested it was hot here all the time. I insisted we had been through hotter, but not for a few weeks - and it's the truth. The fact is Penang is hot, but its a much drier heat than China was. If you stand in the shade it gives you a chance to cool down.
The room itself is a tall box room. Pre-fabricated walls surround on three sides, with a king size bed offset to one side of the room. It's not big, and it's certainly not clever. It is very basic. This is what we need right now though as it makes you go out, it makes you see things. We have been drawn to our rooms for the past week due to the comfort, and you forget what you are here for.
After a cool shower in a room the size of an airing cupboard, also housing a toilet, we had a couple of hours to kill before we would go for dinner. I was already hungry.
We were looking for some place to buy some bits and pieces (desperate need of mosquito spray, Aloe Vera and some new underwear), and Kate located us a mall in the near vicinity.
Home sweet home. Very quickly we located a Starbucks, a Watsons (home equivalent to superdrug) and the mecca of McDonalds - oh how I've missed you. We agreed verbally on a snack cheeseburger to tie us over and then when in sight of the menu I quickly reverted to type, had an Extra Large Quarterpounder Meal, and broke our earlier verbal contract. In making this an extra special visit, McDonalds had introduced a genius contraption known as the 'cheeseshaker', which is some wotsit flavoured cheese sprinkles which when mixed with a bag of chips creates a taste sensation. I revel in the glory of McDonalds - they know exactly what they are doing and will soon rule the globe.
That is if starbucks don't get thier way. While waiting for Kate to go and buy me some socks (It's easier this way, trust me before you judge me) I sat and indulged myself further in a Starbucks. Coffee at it capitalist finest. A Cafelino Machhiato Caramelato Grandiato or something. It was nice, except for the fact that the syrup kept attaching itself to my newly acquired facial hair. Something to get used to I guess. Slightly high on my syrupy sugary drink and the high amount of calories I had just inhaled I started taking artistic photos of my Starbucks mug and change and awaited Kate with my new socks.

She arrived empty handed with a long story about how she had gone everywhere and then the first place she had visited she found some pairs but she wasn't sure what to get me so didn't get any, would I come and choose.
 
I said no, and then buckled and went to choose some. To make a point I chose some lime flourescent esque socks showing I didn't care one jot.
 I am now very attached to these Lime green socks and am quite grateful I did in fact choose them - Kate would have chosen something with writing above the trainer line, which just wouldn't do.

We marched back to the hostel, new bits and pieces in hand - got Aloe'd up and sprayed mosquito deterrant everywhere; just enough to suffocate us to the point of collapse in our small room and then headed out to find somewhere to eat. After much searching and menu prodding, we ended up in a place a lot like Wetherspoons but with extortionate drinks prices and cheaper food prices.
Charged a little closer to an arm and 2 legs, or a leg and 2 arms, we were happy to see that the service charge had already been added to the bill (and so we didn't have to worry about how much to give, or whether one waitress deserved more because she was wearing a much shorter skirt) and we scuttled off back to hostel shattered.

Note, I use the term 'scuttle' often as it seems appropriate when dealing with insect environments such as the south east asia region. Just earlier in the day I had been sat on the toilet (sorry for the detail) doing my thing when I noted a cockroach scuttling directly between my two feet. Unable to do anything at the time, I had to sit and float my legs to avoid any unnecessary Cockroach contact - not at all manly, but very necessary. The Ants attacking the Peanut Honey mountain on the train also had a scuttling type manner to them. I attribute a 'scuttling' action to one which is busy yet somewhat confused, and in a daze similar to one under the influence of alcohol or very tired.

Even though the walls appear to made of paper and the floors seem to transmit more noise than a youth on a london bus with a mobile phone, we managed to get plenty of sleep to make up from our lack of sleep the night before. It could explain why my blog is more erratic than usual.

With a busy couple of days planned here, I leave you with a couple of quotes about Penang and it's charm to draw people to it . Penang has;

"The spell which makes those who never been, wish to go there, those who live there want to stay, and fills those who have spent their appointed hour or two with a longing to return."


 J.W. Clark, George Town, Penang Illustrated Guide.


"We'll See about that"

Martin Pike, martinandkate's blog at travelpod.com
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