Firies at Penang airportThursday 8 November
Playing beach volleyball with engine at the ready
- continued from KL
After Vicky finished working (3 hours earlier than local time thanks to the joys of international telecommuting), we flew to Pulau Pinang, or Penang Island. The local airport firemen were playing beach volleyball as we taxied past (photos). Georgetown, where we stayed, was a short drive to the north and we settled into the Traders Hotel. Friday 9 November
Vicky worked from the hotel (hooray for internet and IT jobs) while Barbara and I spent the morning nursing upset stomachs. Feeling the need for a little pampering, Alan, Barbara and I caught the shuttle bus to Ferranghi Beach (photo) where the Shangri-La, a sister hotel, provides resort facilities. The boys enjoyed nine holes of golf and an eco-unfriendly jetski up and down the beach while Barbara relaxed on the beach with the pleasures of a manicure and pedicure. After a late lunch back at the Georgetown hotel, we did a city tour by trishaw (a riskshaw pushed by a bicycle) (photos). It was a wonderful way to see Fort Cornwallis, the Town Hall, Little India, and Chinatown, particularly as it was slower than a car and it takes you down the
Selamat Datung = welcome. This was written at almost every shop and business
middle of the street, giving a simultaneous view of both sides, something that walking doesn’t allow. The proximity to the traffic was nerve-wrecking at first (photo), but somewhat eased by pausing for refreshments along the way.
After dinner Alan discovered the hotel’s winelist had a hidden treasure which we proceeded to unearth and uncork (photo). Saturday 10 November
We spent a day being tourists visiting the Peranekan mansion (photo) which depicts the lifestyle and history of the Straits Chinese community, the mansion of Cheong Fatt Tze who was one of the region’s most significant entrepreneurs (photo), and a Buddhist temple. The latter had one of the largest reclining Buddhas (photo), surrounded by many thousand smaller ones on the walls (photo). Lunch was at a local hawker’s market. The presentation and service are very different from Sydney, however the food was very tasty (and we didn’t suffer as we did from some dodgy food from a KL Chinatown stall). The afternoon included a tour of Fort Cornwallis (photo), where Michael learnt that Penang Island was named after the betel nut ‘Pinang’ (photo). The trishaw ride home took us past a shanty village built on stilts - interesting construction
on the north coast, which is the main resort strip
techniques (photo)! Finally dinner was a feast of nonya cuisine (photo) at Hot Wok. Nonya is the Straights (as in Straights of Malacca) term for a woman, and Baba is a man. Nonya cooking is a fusion of Malay, Chinese and Indian, and was terrific. Sunday 11 November
The weather was terrific providing our best view yet of Georgetown (photo). Alan and Vicky walked up Penang Hill and we caught the cable cars (photos) to the top where we met them. The view to the bridge linking the island with the mainland was spectacular. We walked down while Alan and Vicky caught the cable-car down. During our descent, Michael took a couple of photos of one of the monkeys. About 3 nanoseconds after this photo was taken (photo), the simian reacted as if confronted by paparazzi outside a nightclub and charged at Michael with teeth bared. No more photos of monkeys that day!
Before catching the flight back to KL, we drove around a large industrial estate near the airport where Dell have a computer assembly plant (one of their 3 in the world), many of its suppliers are located as are other high-tech industries.
Alan and Vicky
Alan eventually read the WSJ
left us at KL International Airport for her overnight flight to Sydney, and exhausted by a long weekend of eating, drinking and touristing, we crashed for our final night in KL, but not before smiling again at the lights of the Twin Petronas Towers.
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