Penang - chilling on the beach!

Trip Start Nov 09, 2008
Trip End Apr 02, 2009

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Monday, December 8, 2008

At this point we decided that we needed a holiday!  So having just booked two nights at the Holiday Inn, relatively comfortable but at a cost, we went in search of cheaper accommodation for a further five nights.  Good old Youseff the taxi driver who loiters outside the Holiday Inn recommended Ali's Guest House which is no more than 100 metres from the beach.  They had a room available with a double bed and a single which, as Steven has spent much time sharing with us, was a bonus!  The room is basic, has enough room to swing a small cat and a private toilet and shower, even though you have to sit on the toilet to have the shower! 
The first day we were at Ali's it was brilliant sunshine and very high temperatures, during which D became somewhat red, Yvonne became golden and Steven slightly less than white!  Going into the sea is like stepping into a warm bath, although the jellyfish need to be avoided.  The beach is beautifully sandy and the tree covered hills rise at one end of the beach.  It is busy with jet skis, banana boats and paragliding but is a relaxing place to be. 
Steven loves the sand and sea, although the later took a little bit of coaxing.  Step one, he would go in if you held him; step two he would go in with his swim ring on but not in the breaking waves (which are minimal); step three is to find a 4 year old Malaysian friend to copy who will paddle and sit in the surf and step four is to panic every time you go to the beach because Steven can outpace you to the sea!
The guest house is right next to the mosque so we have the call to prayer many times a day.  Yvonne expressed surprise at the number of Muslim guests at the Holiday Inn, only to be told by D that she should do her homework and that it is a Muslim country and if she'd looked on Wikipedia beforehand she would have known this!  One of the most enlightening sights we have seen is a woman in full perde paragliding.  Clearly, covering your face and head does not have to inhibit a Muslim woman's experience in life.
Living is definitely cheap here and we have been sampling the local food; D and Yvonne have both spotted a monkey in the morning who makes his way from a tree across the electric cables to the roof of the guest house and Steven can now count to 20, or as he says two-ty and includes fiveteen!
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