A Bit of Colonial influence of days gone by!
Trip Start Feb 01, 2011
20Trip End Mar 31, 2011
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Where I stayed
I flew with an airline called Firefly, part of Malaysian airways, and part of the deal was a free transfer from the airport into the city - about 30 to 45 mins depending on traffic. I then to a taxi to my hotel, which was well situated for sightseeing
Since last Friday - with enormous thanks to Rod and Wendy, who paved the way for me - I have spent my time as follows:
25th Feb - evening arrival - glasses fitting - dinner and bed
26th Feb - went to Chew Jetty and saw the local fishermen and their village and life - then took a hop on, hop-off bus all around the city to get an overview of the place. Took a bus up to Batu Ferrenghi and visited Lone Pine Hotel, where my friend Ian had stayed, back in the 60's when this was the only hotel in this area - a real colonial feel to the place
I then went back to the hotel, showered and changed for evening buffet dinner at The "Grand Dame" the Eastern and Oriental Hotel - again on the advice of Rod - wonderful food and an amazing hotel. This had to be booked two weeks previous as it is very popular. This hotel seems to be favoured by Brits and other Europeans. It is a very elegant place with excellent service and attention to detail - however, it comes with a hefty price tag, as you would expect - especially for locals - comparable to London prices.
On Sunday, I found the Catholic church (St. Francis Xavier) and went to 10 am Mass there. Would you believe, the people who were sitting at the next table to me at lunch at the Lone Pine Hotel, were sitting in front of me at church!! He tapped me on the shoulder and said "I wondered if you would be here" this morning? Again, this Church was obviously built by the British and is very colonial in style - a beautiful setting also
On Monday, again on the advice of my trusted friend Rob, I hired a taxi and guide, who picked me up from my hotel at 10 am and planned the whole day for me - based on the things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see. We started off by going to see a Thai and an Indian Temple - I will write in their names later as I do not have the correct spelling with me! The Ch.... Temple with the Reclining Buddha was the most interesting. I spent about an hour in these two temples. My next stop was a Batik Craft Shop where I saw the staff hand-painting material for scarves, dresses, sarongs, curtains etc
We next went to see organic orchards, a waterfall (not very full as not the rainy season), through the Penang National Park, up into the mountains, and finally to Kek Lok Si - a wonderful temple, where I spent over an hour, wandering around in amazement. There were loads of steps to climb at this place and I was absolutely shattered by the time I left there - it is the humidity that will get you every time. I never thought a cold shower would be such a welcome luxury!! We got back to the hotel at about 4 pm after a most interesting and enjoyable day. I can fully recommend this guide - at RM20 per hour it was excellent value.
!st March - up early and down to China Town and the Indian market to see how all the locals operate and go about their day. It was a perfect time of the day - sun not yet up and a nice breeze blowing. I have been experimenting with foods where the locals eat - and I have had lots of help and advice on what to try
Tomorrow, I fly from Penang to Kuching for my foray into Borneo - more new pastures. I will continue this when I am about to leave Kuching on 7th March.