Penang hotpot

Trip Start Jan 27, 2009
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Trip End Feb 14, 2009


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Flag of Malaysia  , Pinang,
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Shane says:
Lost my iPod today. Really annoying. I think it must have been left in the hotel in Kualar Lumpur ], I thought I had packed in one of my bags, but now I've arrived in Penang I went looking for it only to find it isn't here. I'm trying not to get annoyed at this, but what am I going to listen to for 8 days on the Trans-Siberian rail? Milli whinging about how cold it is? Pfft.
Penang is nice. It's like little Beijing. Good food and cheaper beer.
The place we are staying in is fantastic. No bullshit old Chinese man
runs it, and we have a really nice room. Though just by walking around
and looking at the advertised prices of other hotels, we may not have
got the bargain I thought we had, other hotels are offering rooms with
baths and toilets in them (ours are communal) for the same price, but
none of the ones I've seen have the same ambiance that ours has, so I'm
cool with it.

Shane says more stuff (a bit later on);

Day three was a good day. Flight took
only 35 minutes, arriving into Penang 15 minutes ahead of schedule.
Penang is a bigger island than I thought; it took about 30 minutes to
get from the airport to our guesthouse in 'love lane', Georgetown. Our
driver gave us running commentary the whole way, which was nice;
pointing out the ferry to the mainland & the terminus to Indonesia.





We
both quite like Georgetown and were seriously contemplating staying
here a few extra days, but that would mean getting a bus to Krabi -
Through the border of Malaysia and Thailand (about 2 hrs drive north of
Penang). DFAT have issued warnings through the smarttravellor.gov
website, urging everyone to reconsider their needs to travel to this
area due to militant fighting and occasional hold-ups (as in guys with
guns wanting all of your stuff) so we may not...If we delay our flight
back to KL it will cost us a nominal fee to change, so we'll see. I'd
like to catch up with Nigel in KL on Friday night so we'll make sure
we're back by then.



During the nights we keep hearing gunshots
- well we think they are gunshots but seeing that Georgetown is a
predominantly Chinese city, and being that Chinese New Year
celebrations go for a week - they could very well be firecrackers.








We
found a really cool expat & armed services bar called 'Hong Kong
Bar' - the people that run it are very sweet and gave us bananas,
peanuts, asked us to sign their guest book and took a photo of us for
their wall. The bar is over 80 years old but in 2005 it burnt to the
ground destroying all their guest books and a few photos. This, I
imagine, must have saddened a lot of ex servicemen who sort of wrote
eulogies for the place, which now adorned the walls with whatever
photos they had salvaged. I've got to ask dad if he every came here on
his way to Vietnam.
There was an old rickshaw driver sitting out
the front and hours later when we walked past again he was still there.
By that time the bar was empty so we'll definitely go back today.





After
that we went for a walk to Little India, where we came across a
kickarse vegetarian restaurant, which is good news for us, because no
matter what you order from the menu, at least you wont be served
Garfield. Also very handy when there are no translations listed, but I
ended up with the best Indian I've ever tasted - Tandoori Naan, Orange
Lassi and Aloo Gobi.



After that we waddled down past another
guesthouse that serves Mexican food from a shop out the front (I'll be
seeing that later on) and also had an in-house Malaysian rock band
practicing their western covers. Good day.








Milli says:
Yes, Shane lost another item which is quite important, and we are scouring all pockets and bags but nothing is coming up. I would hate for him to have to listen to me for longer than 15 minute periods (hmmm, weird feeling having my tough in my cheek..) but it came to the point where he called the hotel in KL. Came up with nothing though. Upon returning to our room and hanging for a while he then casually opened another pocket and pulled out the iPod. He's awesome.





Briefly back to KL, we tried to be good and take the bus to the airport but the one time we wanted just wasn't running, must have become friends with Connex or something, so we took a taxi. The flight was good, as we came in to land the water up there is very murky but still warm and blue-ish. The area we are s
taying is very cool, gorgeous old buildings from Malay, Chinese and Indian influences - with the odd British building here and there.





Fantastic food, less stress and people hassling you here. Less people in general. Like training wheels for China as Penang has a Chinese majority but with a millionth of the population! Hehe







Great little bars, Hong Kong bar was really sweet and I'm glad they came back after the fire there. The hostel we are at is really good, open and spacious, great old floor tiles and a funny gruff but serious (contradiction time!) man who runs it. He was a little miffed we didn't try his recommendation for a good meal last night so we are definitely going today!


There is one dog who barks like there is no tomorrow - or he is scared of what tomorrow will bring, I don't know.. but that was a little tiresome. Kind of funny though. Heaps of dogs and cats here, compared to the one dog I saw in KL! Weird!
We are still in very lazy relaxed mode for the moment, and I'm saving all my swimming and sunning for Koh Lanta in Thailand - as this island doesn't have the best beaches. But there is lots to see here, the temples are great and the people are nice.
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Where I stayed
old penang guesthouse

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