There is a monk in our trunk!?!????

Trip Start Jan 07, 2010
Trip End Jan 06, 2011

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Where I stayed
Back home Kuala Lumpur

Flag of Malaysia  , Pinang,
Tuesday, January 12, 2010

KL was a short stop over. While waiting for our room we checked out the twin towers, the tallest free standing buildings in the world! We indulged in some sushi then headed back for our usual nana nap.... Catching up on sleep that we missed on the train!
Dinner was at china town amongst the market stalls of knock offs also referee to as "incredible amounts of objects lacking value and purpose" by a passer by. This beautiful meal may have been the cause of my ( Kailey) first round of travel belly : (

We killed time the next day sweating it out as we walked through the KL lake gardens in the blistering Malaysian sun! We had an image of a central park like garden where we could chill in the shade and work on our journal... For the second time this idea turned out differently. No grass to sit on, but a bench by the lake where Ethan befriended a spider!

The remainder of the afternoon we sat and chatted with our double, a couple of similar age, with similar travel plans, interests and hair styles! John had dreadlocks and Jacy long brown hair! Turns out we may cross paths again in India, Europe and then visit them in San Fransisco when we are in L.A. It was a wicked gift to cross paths with them and could not have thought of a better way to kill the afternoon before catching our train to Butterworth!

This train ride was hilarious! Only seconds into it we were accompanied by a 60 year old ex patriot German who had become a Theravada Monk. This monk did not display the typical gentle, accepting and empathetic characteristics that come to mind when you think 'monk'.

He told racist jokes, down talked people from different cultures, swore like a sailor AND ate all out lollies all while trying to enlighten us. Ha ha he sat on the end of our train bed for over two hours sharing his insight into the world and telling anecdotes like a trooper! After many subtle hints that we wanted to sleep, he returned to his bunk and we got some rest.

That was not the end of our monk, for he insisted that he would travel to Penang via the ferry with us as he wanted to show us his favorite vegetarian buffet, this meant he had to travel back to Butterworth to catch his train to Bangkok a few hours later?!?   It's lovely to have companions while traveling but there are moments that you just want to enjoy with your souly. The ferry ride was one of these moments. The sun was yet to rise and the cool breeze off the water was just beautiful.

We arrived in the dark and "our Monk" directed us through the quiet streets of Penang to our Hotel. We dropped our bags and followed our "leader" to a Chinese Vegetarian Buffet run by a very cute couple. Breakfast was clear soup with noodles and something that looked like meat but was not?!? it was beautiful as long as you didnt stare too long into the bowl. Grateful for the meal suggestion we headed back to our hotel with a full belly and slept till 10am.

Half worried that "our Monk" would be waiting in the Lobby we emerged from our slumber and took to the streets of Penang...Monk FREE!

The first thing we saw of Penag in day light was smoke billowing out of a building on the main street. People were crowded around watching the commotion as fire trucks ripped down the main street. (Daryl we thought of you instantly) The fire did not burn for long but the dark smoke made for quite a scene!

Following the Lonely planet food guide we ate lunch at a local place called Sup Hameed, the food was beautiful and even more beautifully priced! ( $2.50 AUD for one meal and a soft drink)

The sun was HOT and we had read that relief from the heat could be found on the top on Penang Hill, reachable by cable train which has been in operation since 1922, roughly 800 meters above sea level. The Hill originally served as a holiday spot for the British to escape the heat of Georgetown in the late 1800's. Apart from being significantly cooler and refreshing, Penang Hill offers an incredible view of the Island, its historic center of Georgetown, Penang bridge and the main land town of Butterworth where the ferry runs from! It was a great way to spend the afternoon!

Day 2

Our first beach day! This does not mean however that it would be a lazy day! After breakfast we walked to the main bus stain and caught an hour bus to Teluk Bahang at the far north east end of the island. From the entrance of the National Park we walked an hour through a dense tropical forest in the midday heat and arrived at "Monkey Beach", a beautiful stretch of white sand shared only with a handful of people, and few small local fishing boats. We spent a couple hours relaxing on the beach and swimming and enjoying a picnic lunch, then walked the hour back through the national park. The forest was buzzing with life. We saw two different species of monkeys, a massive sand monitor, squirels, stunning butterflys, eagles, and a range of other goanna like things. An hour bus ride back to town and a dash back to the hotel in the pouring rain to get ready for dinner.

Kailey had her heart set on Malay Laksa from a food Hawkers mentioned in the lonely planet. The night before we arrived to late and it was closed... desperate not to let this happen again we caught a trishaw (double seat in front of a bicycle) peddled by a 56 year old man to the Hawkers center. Unfortunately we once again missed the Laksa as they were closed! : (
Starving from our afternoon of adventuring we returned to Sup Hameed for dinner. We figured we would experiment and try something different.Rotti bread fried with curry chicken was beautiful! Still hungry we asked the guy if he made any sweet rotti and he quickly fried up a rotti filled with chocolate! YUM! Completly satisfied, despite missing out on the Laksa for a second time we returned to the hotel to rest out tired legs!

We have had a fantastic time here in Penang!!!

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sarah mccoach on

i saw all of your photos it looks like you are having a great time

Old man Dave on

Hey mate
Great to read your blog
U2 seem happy and well
All the best to both of you

Simone on

I'm so excited to finally get a chance to read some of your blog!! Loving it guys! Feels almost like i'm along for the ride! Keep safe kids.. much love xoxoxox

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