Penang with Alastair and Sylviane

Trip Start Oct 03, 2010
Trip End Sep 06, 2011

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Flag of Malaysia  , Pulau Pinang,
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 66-72

We set off from Ko Lanta at 07:30 and had to change buses twice, once in Trang and Hat Yai. Unfortunately there were no big buses from Ko Lanta so we were like sardines with the added bonues of a child being sick. Poor child, but not near me please!
In Trang we had to wait around 30 mins for another bus while in Hat Yai we had to wait for 2 hours. We finally arrived in Penang at around 21:40. Luckily we were dropped in George Town and all we had to do was negotiate with a Taxi to take us to Alastair's place. For all who don't know Alastair is one of Danny's Step-dad's friends. I had previously spoken to Alastair and he knew we were in George Town and was on the lookout for a Taxi out side his place. I think it came as a shock when a boy racer car pulled up out side his home with two smelly backpackers at 22:45. Danny had started talking to somebody who sorted us out with a lift. It was pretty much the same price as a taxi, so no saving there.

Alastair was very welcoming  as it was so late. We had a short chat, cup of tea and went to bed. In the morning we had the rule of the house, food galore and cups of tea and coffee. When i say rule of the house, i do mean the cat was in charge with the dog being second in command. The cat unfortunately had one broken leg which had to be bandaged every night by Sylviane (she would make a great nurse). We then found our way to the Botanical Gardens which was very beautiful (see pics). There were a few monkey's, some naughty, some not, but great to see.  After this we found our way to local Mall which had Christmas tunes playing . Interesting as Malaysia is predominantly a Muslim country. We then headed back to the luxury of Alastair's home. Oh i almost forgot, Alastair has a maid. She washed all of our clothes while we were there and made us some great fruit juices. Thank you Christine we were very grateful for your help. Steve she does not own a black and white outfit.

During our time at Alastair's Danny went on 3 Hash Harrier runs. This involves running through the Penang jungle following pieces of paper, getting stung by wasps and generally getting your legs ripped to pieces. Great fun! After the run beers were drunk, food eaten and people placed on large slabs of ice and taken the piss out of. Great!

In the evenings we were treated to apple, tea, elderflower, grapefruit and grape homemade wine. Fantastic, really good stuff. Thanks Alastair, you really were a great host. We were given a run down on Penang, apparently there is a lower percentage of Muslim's compared to 90% on the mainland. However the Christian population is minimal which does not explain the Christmas Tunes. One thing is for sure, i bet you get mass marketing of Christmas everywhere so people can get richer. Are we getting cynical in our old age? Nah just wise, humbug!

We were also taken out with Alastair and Sylviane's friends on a walk into the Penang national park. Unfortunately the heavens opened up so we went to a local butterfly farm (see pics). This is where Emma held a snake (see video). One thing to say about Penang is it's food which is absolutely fantastic. We were taken to a local Indian restaurant where we tried a selection of curries on a palm leaf. All which were delicious. Danny loved the roti canai. We were also taken to a Chinese restaurant by Ken Foo (hope thats how you spell it) where we had some local dishes, all excellent and tasty. we think two of the dishes were called roti barby and lawba. Please tell us if we are wrong. Ken Foo runs a local opticians where Emma ordered her contact lenses from (so she was not blind by Christmas!).

Whilst in Penang we ventured out into George Town and took in some local sights including Fort Cornwallis which is the biggest and the most intact fort in Malaysia. It is situated at the spot where Captain Francis Light was supposed to have landed in 1786. Even though the fort was originally built for the Royal artillery troops and the military its function historically was more administrative
rather than defense. Unfortunately it did rain quite a lot when we were sight seeing so we were limited in what we could see. We did however manage to get around little India and Chinatown.

Oh and we brought  a netbook, pretty cheap or as the Malay people will say, value for money!
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