On the Road Again

Trip Start Jan 27, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Old Penang Guest House

Flag of Malaysia  , Pinang,
Thursday, April 9, 2009

Well, Wandering_man decided that spending an hour at the sandal store to moan about $3 sandals falling apart was not consistent with his search for his Inner Buddha.  Also, the people that made Bedz so much fun left and were replaced by far less interesting characters.  So I got up early and headed out to take the bus to Penang Island.

The bus ticket  was for 8:30 AM departure.  We did not leave until the bus was full at 10 AM, as there were three barkers roaming the streets hustling people to ride with us. An Indian guy about my age was on the bus who just lost his job in Singapore and was headed to Ipoh (a Malaysian town about halfway between Kuala Lumpur and Penang) to look for work. His wife (a Chinese woman) and kids remained in Singapore.

When we stopped at a roadside stand, this unemployed guy bought me a glass of tea.  Told me all about Penang laksa, a noodle dish he insisted I try in Penang.  We shared a few laughs about white guys eating durian, then he got off at Ipoh.

Wandering_man had forgotten how beautiful central Malaysia was.  The area 20 kilometers south of Ipoh to 20 Kilometers north of Ipoh are framed by stunning karst mountains,  rock outcroppings that just seem to burst through the valley and tower over the landscape.  And the teak trees replaced the farmed palm oil trees south of Kuala Lumpur.  Colonies of very small monkeys  played on the side of the road along the ride.

The bus dumped us off just south of Georgetown on Penang Island.  A city bus ran from the depot to Chinatown and I checked into Old Penang Guest House, a hostel with A/C, hot showers, free breakfast, and locker for 17 Ringgit (about $4.75 USD). 

Wandering_man just cannot give up on Indian food, despite the gastro problems with ghee.  So dinner tonight was from a street stall across from the Malaysia Hotel of tandoori chicken, naan (bread baked in a tandoori oven) and a little lentils and pureed mint (some ghee in the lentils).  Not troubled yet. 

No sense of the quality of the characters at the hostel.  Will let you know when I find out.  Gonna stay in Penang a while.
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