Pearl of the Orient (Allegedly)

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
Trip End Apr 29, 2007

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lack of diesel meant that bus departed an hour late, but we made the time up and got to Georgetown as expected. Staying in "The Whitehouse"! Not as celibrius as it sounds though, our bathroom is in fact a Mandii, which means there is no toilet as such, just a hole (For number twos one has to go elsewhere!) Water is sloshed over your body using the bucket...

Went to Indonesean Embassy to get Visas, but we encountered a few problems:-

- Embassy has changed locations recently
- Taxi driver tried to charge us double the meter fare (I was not having that tho! Paid him 12p extra and was done with it!)
- You have to wear trousers to enter (we were in shorts)
- It shut at 4pm (we got there at about quarter past!)

All in all a less than succesful excursion!

Bit addicted to Southern Indian curries, but one here was very dull, wasn't even on a real banana leaf... Next day opted for some North Indian cuisine, had tandoori chicken and a Murtabak, well tasty!

Night out on the town was a bit rubbish - lots of bars, but not enough people... 20 Leigh Street had all the makings of a great pub, but we were its only patrons! Then went to some tacky English pub (where everything had lashings of gravy!) and it was pretty busy. Found a busy club (Glo), but it was well overpriced, interesting though as some kind of dance-off competition was going on.... Lack of funds meant a return to our room and some rum drinking (3 quid a bottle!) Returned to the club later, only to find it shut at 3am. Boomer!

Some fella seems to live in the corridor in our hotel, he has a fridge, hangs all his worldy possesions in the communal mandii, and sleeps on a mattress on the floor.... Rat boy has been inspired by him....

In our hotel, on the second floor,
there lives a man in the corridor.
He mends windows and doors that stick.
We don't know his name, we call him Mick.

He's always cheery, scuttling around.
His chattering voice, a curious sound.
And when all is dark and night creatures roam.
He sleeps on a matress, in the corridor Mick calls home

Walk around Georgetown wasn't that interesting. It was the first British settlement in the region, so had a number of colonial buildings mixed in with the chinese style streets (open drains with lizards in, no pavement etc) Normal temples and stuff about, but we've seen more impressive ones elsewhere - Overtravel syndrome........

Singapore had everything this place has and more!! Melaka too seemed to hold more interest.

When sitting on the bus we see such delights as Frog Porridge, we have not succumbed.. The hungry ghost festivities are still in progress, many burn ups on the roadside, the ghosts food of choice seems to be iced gems here.... I like the fact that shops dont open until at least 10:30 (but stay open till 10pm) it makes me feel far less lazy.

On one such bus journey we went to Kek Lok Si temple, which is by far the best temple we've been to in Malaysia, then went and picked up our Indonesian Visas. Only took one day, and were far cheaper (135 RM) than getting them in UK.

Feel a bit sorry for the Chinese community living in a Muslim society. Conservative dress, high taxes on booze and no alcohol don't really suit the Chinese (and our!) culture...

Went on a battering mission (after another curry (it's geting silly now!)) but due to rat prefering vodka and my rum preference we had to drink 350ml each before going out. In retrospect this was a mistake. OK so it was definitely cheaper, but I paid a heavy price in the morning!

Luckily we just went to Batu Ferrenghi beach the next day, it was much more resorty than the east coast islands, had watersports and stuff. We had a lunch with a Dutch lady called Astrid, who we met in Tamara Negara, she is very chatty and took 17 books on holiday with her!! The percentages were amazing!!! I would liked to have stayed for a couple of days, but we'd already booked our boat ticket to Sumutra....

Don't know if its its proximity to Thailand and Indonesia but compared to elsewhere in Malaysia Georgetown seems less friendly, more seedy, and far more dodgy! It's one of our least favourite destinations. In hindsight we should have styed at Batu Ferrenghi and done a daytrip to the town. Never mind...
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