Penang, Malaysia

January 13
We woke up early and took a long-ass 13 hours straight bus to Penang Malaysia with one stop to pee, one stop to switch buses and one stop at the boarder to go through customs. It was long and the bus was a tight fit. It was pretty bad but at least we had something after all of our plans changed. Also, I’m pretty sure our driver was smuggling stuff over the boarder because he had a ton of “water bottles” in boxes that took up most of the trunk. Why would he need to bring water bottles into Malaysia? We eventually got to Penang, walked around and found our guesthouse, grabbed some food and went to bed. Pretty long day that was very uneventful. We did get to talk to two Scottish girls and to an English couple on the bus though so that was nice.

January 14
Today, our fat asses decided to go for a run first thing in the morning. We ran around the streets and explored at the same time. There weren’t many sidewalks in Georgetown, Penang, which is the main tourist area, so we ran near the water and then just decided to walk around. We saw some pretty cool stuff. Penang is a major historical city in Asia because it used to be the main port connecting Asia and the Middle East. There are so many different influences here, it’s pretty wild. There can be buildings of Chinese, Indian, English, Spanish, Islamic, Hindi, and French influence all on the same street. No two buildings are alike. It is a great place for people who love fine architecture in everyday buildings. They have it all here. There isn’t much else to do besides walk around though. We saw a castle and passed an Indian Parade that was leading up to the huge holiday this weekend Thaipusam where people stick themselves with long needle piercings and walk around in parades. I used to sew my fingers together with needle and thread in middle school but this is a whole different level. We didn’t see any of that yet but it would happen this weekend in major places. We then went into a mall. The mall was huge and so legit. It felt like we were in a brand new American mall. It was impressive. The Malaysian people are not far behind America. They have everything we have. I wasn’t expecting such an advanced society. I was expecting it to be like Thailand. Who would have thought? Also, people here are so nice. Everyone smiles when they interact with us and we didn’t get harassed like we normally do by any street vendors. Penang is known as the street food capital if Asia. It has a lot of street food, but unfortunately, a lot of it is sea food so I didn’t want to try it. In the evening, we decided to go up to this temple by taking the local bus system. It was a huge temple on a hill and was impressive but closed shortly after we got there. We read online that it was cool at night after it closed when it was all lit up but we didn’t know where to stand to see it besides inside so we ended up leaving before it got dark. We walked around and ate food at a bar on a small bar strip. The food was terrible and undercooked but the street seemed kind of cool. We then ended our night at an Irish pub with a beer each and tried to plan out our next day. There are Irish pubs in every city in Asia and lonely planet always recommends them. Lonely planet loves Irish pubs for some reason. Idk. They are cool and stuff but I don’t know why they are the highlight if ever city according to the book.

January 15
We woke up and gave our laundry to our guesthouse front desk. It would be ready by night. We went to the ferry station, where there was a train ticket counter. We told the ticket guy that we wanted to go from Kota Bahru to Kuala Lumpur but he told us it was fully booked. I want to go to Kota Bharu because it is the start of the Jungle Railway. There is a train that is almost 100 years old that goes through the mountains and jungle of Malaysia from that city on the upper right of the country all the way down to Singapore. We would do the first half of the line which is the part that goes through all the cool places. We would then train to Kuala Lumpur. Well this ticket guy can go F himself because I wanna go on the Jungle Railway and I’m gonna make it happen! So Matt and I booked an 8-hour bus to get to the start of it and we will figure it out from there because it has to be possible to just do on the fly, this is Asia. After talking to the ticket guy, we took a local bus to another part of the island where there are a couple of resorts and stuff. It wasn’t too much but we walked around and went on the beach. We then went into a resort and a stole a towel so we looked like we belongs. We say down for a minute but Matt has more of a conscience than I do and knew we didn’t belong so we left. We ate at some place that undercooked our meat again. I don’t understand it. They always undercooked it and then see it when we don’t eat it and give that look like, “oh shit, it’s undercooked.” They must know how to cook meat here, I don’t get how most restaurants we go to here just don’t cook it enough. Just leave it on the grill longer. We then walked the street until we got to a fish spa. I wanted to do one all trip and finally did. But it was a huge let down. The fish pond I was at had huge fish that were way too big to be nibbling at my feet. Some were like 8 inches long. I tried to stick it out but it felt too weird and they were too big so I just stopped. We took a bus back towards our area and got off in another built up spot. There were a bunch of huge malls on a strip so we went in those. We got a cone pizza which was literally dough that was shaped like a cone with sauce and cheese in it. It was ok but nothing special. Matt then got a smoothie and I got macaroons. I got a candy cane one and a caramel one. They were very good. I saw a massage chair place so I went in to try it. The chair was $4,000 and it was awesome. I got a ten minute massage and felt great. It took over every part of my body and did a really good job. I talked for a while with the guy working there. He was cool and knew I wasn’t going to buy it. He just thought it was cool he had someone to talk to. some other guy came up to me as I was leaving and I thought he was just being friendly but I think he was trying to sell me a chair in another store. Idk really because he didn’t speak English well so we just walked away as he was talking to us. We walked about 2 miles to get back to our hostel area. We then searched for a place to eat but there really weren’t many restaurants. We ended up eating at this place that made pasta and pizza right there. It was pretty good. We got a pasta and a calzone. We figured out our itinerary for the next three weeks and booked a couple of flights. We would go from here to the jungle railway to Kuala Lumpur. We would then fly to Brunei, ferry to Kota Kinabalu, then fly to Bali. We would stay in Bali for a week then fly to Singapore, then fly out of there to somewhere in Southeast Asia. Let’s do this. We called it a night and headed back to the guesthouse to get our laundry and pack up for the night. We were catching a bus early the next morning.

mikepsilve'sPenang album on Photobucket