Days 337-338 Saturday-Sunday March 22-23, 2008 – Cameron Highlands to Penang, Malaysia
We had to wake up pretty early on Saturday to catch our 9am bus to Penang. The ride went pretty smoothly and we arrived in Georgetown, which is the capital of Penang around 3pm. Of course, the weather was fine for the entire trip, but just as we pulled into the station rain started to come down, so we opted to take a taxi to our hotel
After securing our backpacks at the Oriental Hotel. we headed outside for a walk around. Usually when arriving in a new city late in the afternoon, we try not to do on any hefty sightseeing. This day was not much different and after walking around for a bit we spotted a shopping mall where the urge to watch a movie was just too great. The Water Horse turned out to be a great family movie.
Following the movie, we headed back towards the hotel and decided to explore the area a bit more. Since it was dinner time, we were looking for a place to eat and after spotting a hawker center, we headed inside. For those that don’t know, a hawker center is basically a large food court with dozens of different stalls. You go inside and pick a table and then go around to the stalls and order what you want. At the time of ordering you provide the vendor with the table number and they deliver the food right to your table.
This hawker centre had mostly Chinese Food and after ordering up some grub from a couple of stands, we enjoyed the food. The three of us started with satay and then Jasmine and I shared some cashew chicken and rice, while Shawn Reece enjoyed fried rice. The food was pretty good, but not the best we have had here. Following dinner we packed it in for the night.
Sunday morning we got an early start, but somehow forgot that it was Easter morning. In fact, it wasn’t until later on in the night when watching the news that we heard it was Easter. While walking around the streets of Georgetown we noticed many of the shops were closed, but just assumed this was the norm for Sunday. We have run across this in other parts of the world, so it didn’t seem out of place.
From our hotel we walked through some of the older parts of the city and finally arrived at the waterfront. By this time we were hungry and without much open in the area we headed back towards the hotel to find a restaurant. About halfway back, we found an Indian restaurant and once again dined on delicious food. We are definitely enjoying the food here in Malaysia.
After lunch we walked around the waterfront a bit more before stopping at a park to let Shawn Reece play for a bit. From the park we walked down a street with a mosque, Hindu Temple and a couple of Chinese Temples. At the second Chinese Temple, we decided to go inside and light some candles and incense. Somehow doing this brings a little peace to the day.
In case I didn’t mention it before, Malaysia is incredibly hot. Our three hours of walking around took its toll so we walked over to the mall where I spent an hour on the internet while Jasmine browsed through the shops. Following this we took some time to rest in the hotel room before heading back outside to take a one hour tour of the city on a trishaw.
While walking around the city yesterday, a trishaw driver started talking to me and offered us a tour. I liked his personality and told him that if I was going to get a trishaw ride then I would come and see him. This morning when we walked past the same spot he remembered us and I agreed that we would take the tour later in the day. He then told us that 6pm was the perfect time and we agreed to come back then. After all, if he was willing to peddle the three of us around, then god bless him.
For a one hour ride around the city we agreed to pay 30RM. Maybe we could have negotiated this a little lower, but I liked this guy and felt he deserved it. For most of the tour he provided a wonderful commentary and explained the history of what we were looking at. He drove us past some of the newer highrises, along with houses that are over three hundred years old. In some areas the old buildings have been restored, while in others they are almost in ruins.
6pm was a great time to take this tour. The sun was going down and the weather cooled off significantly, but it was still light enough to see. The only problem we had was a bit of rain during the last twenty minutes, but our driver put a cover over us and everything was ok. As our tour time came to a close, our driver agreed to drop us off at the same Hawker Center that we had eaten at the night before.
Once he dropped us off, we headed inside and got some dinner. Georgetown is well known for having some of the best food in Malaysia and so far it hasn’t disappointed. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner and headed back to the hotel. Tomorrow we are heading to Penang Hill where we will get to ride a 1923 Funicular Cable Car to the top. We also hope to visit a historic fort which we missed out on today since it is closed on Sundays. Georgetown is a neat city and is quickly growing on us.
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The Coomer Family