Penang - the coast at last!

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November 26th 2008
Published: December 3rd 2008
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So we reached the coast at last!

We got to Penang after a drive down from the Cameron Highlands, and the heat hit us! We are definatly not in the highlands anymore! We're staying in Georgetown, the main town on the island, in the mandatory china town. We checked into a hotel called the 'the blue diamond' which was 30RM a night for a double room with a shower! The loos may have been minging but they had a bar and served mexican food so who cares! The hostel also has live music, as it was a Friday night when we arrived we enjoyed this, and Saturday night we enjoyed it too. It seems that the hostel has live music until 1am every night, which booms into every room and causes children to cry. We checked into a diffferent hostel Sunday morning due to finding rat droppings on our clothes! It turns out that you can get a double bed for as little as 18RN (Just over 3 quid).

But Penang itself is lovely, we have explored a small portion of the island, and have spent a long time chilling out on Batu Ferringhi, a lovely beach complete with water sports, jet skis, banana boats and horse riding. We however have spent most of our time on the beach reading and getting sunburned. I seem to manage it within a chapter of my harry potter book (whilst covered in factor 40) whereas Dom can float in the sea for hours and not have a hint of red to his skin!

Penang also has an amazing Botanical gardens (well once we found it!), We got off the bus and headed in the direction the bus driver sent us, and ended up in a municiple youth garden, which was nice so we walked round for hours! We found masses of gym equipment for public use and Dom worked out. I dipped my feet in a swimming pool I found around the corner; and after a while relaxing in the pool we (successfuly) hunted a giant water monitor lizard, eventually decideding to go and find the elusive botanical gardents.

Thankfuly the people here are incredilbly friendly, strangers often call accross the road "where you from" Ëngland "we reply, "very nice" they say with two thumbs in the air. So after a minute of looking confused a kindly man sent us in the right driection after telling us all about his trip to stockport for his niece's wedding.

I'm not sure if people went to the Botanical gardens for the flowers, I think most people were more interested in the masses of monkeys that jumped about. The "usual" breed, and a type which we took to calling the "lovely" monkeys (see pictures), with gaping eyes and grey trousers on. We spent most of our time desperatly seeking the perfect picture of one of these lovely monkeys, and were not completly successful. But at least Dom had fun harrasing them in their trees as he balanced with the camera leaning against a branch to get that illusive shot. A baby sat almost on his head when it started to rain.

It rains a lot on Panang. Every evening and some days too. It is nice to have that change in temperature though.

The last few days before our flight to Borneo we spent wandering around pretty much aimlessly. We went to the far north-west corner of the island to see the butterfly farm, which turned out to be very expensive (20RN each) but a good laugh. It was much better than the one in KL but also a lot smaller. There were so many butterflys that there was always one perched on each of us. One adopted Laura's top as his new home for the whole trip, and one claimed by face as its own. We were also in time for the insect show, where we got to hold a variety of stick insects and one of those milipedes we had seen in the forest in the highlands.

Back on Batu Ferrenghi we spotted an enormous water monitor lizard on the beach. It must have come from the freshwater outlet nearby and been scared into the sea. It could easily have been 1.5-2 metres long and easily mistakable for a crocodile or aligator. Then it rained.

We got a free upgrade on our room because of some renovation, which was great. We went from a bowl of a double bed to a brand new one with air-conditioning. I broke it, unfortunately, and it was stuck on just a little bit too cold. Anyway we finally got that good night's sleep we were after before heading back to KL.

There is a bus straight to KCCT airport, KL, from Ipoh. We had intended to get that but it turned out easier to go straight to KL and get the shuttle bus. Long story short, we spent the night slumped over iced tea in a 24 hour KFC waiting for the 4.30am bus due to bad information. Then we watched rats the size of cats plod around.

But now we are in Borneo. We've decided that peninsula Malaysia is nice, but really lacks any kind of defined culture or captivating individuality. Let's see what Malaysian Borneo is like!

Additional photos below
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4th December 2008

hi it looks lovely there you seems to be nice where ever you are whats the weather like not to hot i hope. you must be in borneo by now ? wiil talk later love you xxxx
6th December 2008

Fab Time
Hi Laura and Dom. You look like you are having an amazing time. Bristol just can't compare. Keep the updates coming. Love Vicky, Gary and Jessica.

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