Today we are heading back to our favourite part of Malaysia Penang, it is an ever changing Penang always has something new to offer travellers.
We were up early to return the hire Motorbike to Pangkor and catch the ferry at 745. Michele just had to walk out the front door of Pangkor Guesthouse turn right then left and within a minute she was at the terminal at SPK. Next time we’ll hire through the guesthouse, better rates (although RM40 per day for a bike with only 400kms on the clock is not too bad) and much easier to return.
We sat outside on the way across to Lumut, and the weather was just perfect with a slight breeze, but the sky was filled with clouds so no decent shots of sunrise.
It’s only a short walk from the ferry terminal to the bus terminal, we just grabbed some Kaya Buns, as we were short of time and I grabbed a coffee in a can. When we boarded the bus at 9am and were the only passengers until Manjur and then 6 Chinese kids got on. At our rest stop more passengers boarded the bus but it was only about 1/2 full. We got off to stretch our legs because we had about 25 minutes there, and we purchased some Indian snacks (which we sort of got hooked on when we were at Deevali in Kuala Lumpur a few years ago). Soon it was back on the road bouncing along in the rain before finally arriving at Butterworth terminal at 1pm. It’s only a short walk over to the Ferry terminal and the cost for the ferry across to Georgetown is RM1.20 How Cheap?
The ferry to Georgetown has people up top and cars down the bottom, a lady selling drinks and snacks, heaps of toilets, so pretty civilised. One lady even came up to me and warned me to keep my bag in front of me because of pickpockets. The journey was only about 15 mins so we were surprised how quick. There was some confusion at the bus station, as we had no map to get to our hotel on Burmah Road. Michele wanted to just grab a taxi, but I didn’t want to waste any money so was trying to find a local bus, some locals pointed us to the right bus where were waited until they finished their afternoon nap and soon we were away on the 101, at a princely sum of RM2.40.
As we drove down Burma Road it was impossible to see the building numbers,so when we had thought we’d gone far enough pressed the button and got off. (Too early) the numbers here are one number for a whole block almost, so we had a bit of a trek,(luckily it was Michele’s decision to press the button early so there were no gripes as we trudged along in the boiling sun). Soon enough though we found our hotel and as soon as we got the key, we hurried to the room, got dressed in our swimmers and dived into the pool, (actually Michele gracefully descended the ladder, I just take the shortest route). Great size pool a little shallow but it has a kids section as well, with water sprays and water sprays into the grown ups section and heaps of sun beds, and gazebo areas.
Our next item in the agenda was get some wheels, we were a little worried as I left my international licence at home and haven’t updated my licence to include all my endorsements like motorcycle but we popped down to the corner of Jalan Chulea and Jalan Penang and hired a Honda for 3 Days at RM40 per day. Being in the city we have to wear helmets but other road rules we are starting to pick up. For instance stopping at red lights or stop signs is optional, Note 1(except if you are going to be mown down in a fiery crash, the it may be compulsory.) If you’re on a Motorbike it is highly recommended to get to the front of traffic at lights even if you have to stop half way across the intersection. It is also compulsory to take off before the light turns green, (see note 1 for exceptions)
It didn’t take long to get used to the bike, unfortunately it’s a kick start and its done a lot of kms, We zipped around town for the rest of the afternoon, sightseeing and taking happy snaps. The street art in George Town has increased since last year. The latest are cartoon scenes made out of steel bar which describe the history of the local area in a funny way, theres also some new murals. unfortunately our favourite mural has been removed, maybe in the name of progress. We then headed for a cool drink at the beach. The wind was pretty gusty as we sat there and I noticed Michele was having trouble controlling the map so I had to get the camera and then just as she got the map under control I asked her to check out something on the other side of the map. It was like opening Pandora’s box of maps. 🙂
Late in the afternoon the local Chinese started putting plates of food, candles, joss sticks, colourful piles of prayers and paper gifts onto the roadsides and setting them alight in preparation for the Hungry Ghost Festival. It was nice seeing old people and young people praying and practicing traditional customs.
We decided that we would head to Gurney Parisien (Gurney Lane) for tea. Whoa the traffic, was insane (luckily I’m a little touched myself) so I rode like a man possessed Michel white knuckling on the back dodging in and out of traffic , following the locals on their motorbikes, picking up their tricks as we rode along. We took the last bike park ( I can’t believe they give out parking fines in Penang and they have wheel clamping, what the?)
Michele says we had Mee Foo Kow for tea, but I think she taking the piss so I’m checking the camera. Actually it was Hokkien Har Mee, (the camera doesn’t lie and I’m not some silly newsreader who falls for made up Chinese names, like Sum Ting Wong, and Wee Too Low) It was pretty good noodles mushrooms, pork balls, a few prawns, beef and curry sauce we also had a couple of drinks all for the bargain basement price of RM 13.40, we also grabbed some Satay chicken that were onlyRM60 cents each and my favourite Teh Terak. For a tourist area we were surprised that the prices were still reasonable.
As the night was quite nice we decided to rejoin the traffic for the mad dash to Batu Ferringi, which was pretty hair raising at times. There are lots of dark areas on the way out especially going around the hills and curves and the lights on the bike are really dim. Just as we arrived at Batu Ferringi my butt became comatosed, I almost ran down a tourist who stepped off the kerb into traffic made it 1/2way across the road then changed her mind and walked back. I couldn’t help myself and asked her “Whatareyadoindopeytryintagetrundown?”
We stopped to relieve the pressure off our butts and a local bloke stopped to,ask us if we were ok, very nice of him, we of course told him we were just having a rest (not that our butts had fallen off) We cruised around a bit saw the Hard Rock motel and kept going until we found somewhere for dessert. Michele saw some Macadamia Icecream and ordered some off an old Chinese lady who was just a rude old pig and the Icecream was crap so she didn’t eat it, but took revenge by shying away other people contemplating buying Icecream there 🙂
Meanwhile I found what I was looking for, a happy indian family who were keen to take my order of banana Roti and Icecream, I ordered a second one because I had a feeling that Michele’s icecream was crap and when I returned she hadn’t eaten it. The Banana Roti of course were perfect, fresh hot, full of sweet banana and only RM 6 each.
Back on the bike for the home run we of course didn’t recognise any landmarks went around in circles a bit and had to stop to check the map before getting into an area we knew and then back out to the motel and not a moment too soon as our butts had stiffened up, thank god we don’t have to be up early.