My fitness is shown up
Trip Start Mar 10, 2007
153Trip End Jan 01, 2007
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Got a dorm bed (accommodation is more expensive here than in the rest of south east Asia, hence dorms are very popular) then did a bit of a walking tour of Georgetown. Its a rather compact little town, and to be honest it has little that i feel would appeal to the casual visitor, and seems a little dirty. Malaysia itself is again very different to Thailand and the rest of the countries I've been in. Probably due to its history, its definitely much more well off and developed, and there is clearly a multitude of cultures here. Chinese, Indian and Malay populations are strongly represented, with their own respective areas of town being clearly visible. Little India definitely makes for the most interesting wander around town, walking through the colourful array of shops sporting beautifully decorative clothing and a fantastic array of food, whilst bangra music is blaring out of a cd shop on the corner
Speaking of food, i knew i was going to love it here straight away. Hawker stall are everywhere, and you eat for as cheaply as (US money) 12 cents if your not picky. A good meal easily comes in under a dollar! My kinda place ( still the stig i always was). Tried several of the local delicacies today, including a desert similar to the Thai shaved ice but possibly better and Rojak; a fruit and vegetable salad covered with a palm sugar syrup that has the look and consistency of tat, then garnished with peanuts and chillies. This was soo tasty that they give you a cocktail stick to eat the fruit pieces with, but i loved the sugar sauce soo much that when all the fruit was gone and there was still some of the syrup left i had to fight very very hard to resist the urge to lick the paper plate.
Food courts are very popular here in Malaysia too, where several vendors have small kiosk like stalls round the outside, and you either order at the stall, or sit down on the plastic chairs at a table in the centre and someone will come and ask you what you want, then bring it to you. Once your seated the guy who is the drinks vendor comes over and asks what drink you'd like, then makes it and brings it to you. There is a very relaxed atmosphere around this type of eating and its easy to see why its soo popular with local people.
Sorry, got carried away blabbering on there (like i always do when it comes to food). In the evening i went back to the hostel, where the unbelievably helpful and friendly owner Jimmy helped me plan my day for tomorrow. If anyone passes through Georgetown, which to be honest i wouldn't recommend (i.e skip it and go somewhere else) definitely stay at 75 travellers lodge.
Next day i got up early to get a bus to the Botanical gardens. Wasn't really interested in these to be honest, i was here as the walk up Penang hill starts from here, however i did the obligatory walk around and took a few photos, and it is really very pretty. The walk up Penang hill was ridiculously steep, a 5km path of never ending steepness. Having lost all muscles in my legs long ago, i was stopping practically every five steps. I don't know how i managed to keep going, as i kept telling myself i couldn't do it (not the best advice). Got passed by a man of about 55, a woman who looked like she wasn't even struggling, and even a mum with her fat kid, and i mean fat, as in he was probably a 10 year old kid and it looked like he had cellulite
Waited for ages for a bus to not turn up, then upon walking to where i had been told there was a bus station, i noticed in the distance a huge temple that must have been Kek Lok Si temple, the biggest temple in Malaysia and my next destination anyway, so i kept walking. Construction was started in 1890 and took more than 20 years. To get to the temple, you have to walk past a strange little pool filled with hundreds of tortoises, then up a steep stairway ligned on either side with the familiar site of stalls selling the usual array of junk, t shirts carvings and food etc. Did actually buy the comfiest local style t shirt here too for about $2, so they turned out ok in the end.
The temple is in very good condition and even for those who have seen a lot of temples, its still worth a look for the vast amount of decoration present. Met a girl from my hostel there too, who also wanted to go to the snake temple in town, a temple where 'live poisonous snakes entwine the pillars and walls', and are said to be rendered harmless by certain incense used. We didn't make it there due to bloody buses taking too long, but she was going to the cinema with a friend and invited me to come along, so we went to see black sheep. This film is one of those films that is soo bad it worth watching, though don't pay to see it. Traveled the next day to the Cameron Highlands