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Here, there, everywhere... A modest attempt at chronicling my around the world adventure over the next year (or so).

Penang, adang, dang...

MALAYSIA | Saturday, 1 November 2008 | Views [552]

The minivan ride to Penang took about 8 hours with two van changes, the border stop and a few breaks. Our second van driver was a bit on edge and seemed to be angry at most things including me when I slammed the door on accident, oops! Everyone in the van seemed to notice, tourist and locals alike. He also liked to take care of everything else while driving except driving. Well we made it on one piece and he dropped me and a Brazilian couple off at the nearest guesthouse in Georgetown, Penang. I talked to the couple on the van and after we checked in we went to dinner. Nina and Robeson were also traveling for a year and had until March before returning to San Paulo. As we toured the streets of Penang we talked about our trips. Before dinner  I found out some not so good news about my plans to take the ferry the next morning. It does not run on the weekends and since this was Friday evening I would have to wait until Monday. It threw off my timetable a little but not much, I don't have to be in Singapore until November 12 so I am hanging in Penang for the weekend!

It turns out Penang and Georgetown its biggest city, is this great mix of Muslim (Malaysian), Chinese and Indian cultures and people. And of course the food to match. Oh boy I love Chinese and Indian food so this was street stall heaven for me. We started first with fried rice then moved on to Chicken Masala for the second course. Tasty! We turned in early and both decided to find another guesthouse for the followng night. They were leaving on sunday for Kula Lumpur en route to Bali.

 I got some sleep, awoke early to get some breakfast and find a new guesthouse. I found one not to far away, checked in and went to take care of some more business. After a few passing rain showers I caught the bus to the beach about 45 minutes away. I spent the afternoon napping on the beach and walkng. It was a nice for a public beach, a few too many jetskis for me but hey can't have everything. I caught the bus back into town for dinner. I found the most wonderful chicken tandori with garlic naan, lentils and sauce. So good, I love Indian food, did I say that already??? Tomorrow it is off to a small fishing village on the other side of the island.

Took the bus today to a small fishing village called Tula Bahn and a national park that I wanted to hike through to get to some empty beaches. I hiked into the jungle on a patch for about 45 minutes and made it to a lake that empties into the sea called a mentronic lake. This is a rare occurence where the fresh water and sea water do not mix. More importantly the beach was almost empty so I planted myself for a swim, nap and eating. After a few hours I decided to head back so I could run a little errand on the way back into town. The day before I had bought Jess a new sarong to replace the one I left behind in Turkey. We skyped the night before and after I described it she said she might not like it so I stopped off at the same place to exchange. The woman was very nice about it and I got one similar to what she had before, more rainbowish, more Jessica.

Got back and was starving for some street food but first had to buy a ferry ticket so I could leave in the morning. I started talking to an english chap in the lobby of my guesthouse and he told me of his woes traveling from the Indonesian city of Dumai which is where I was headed after a week so I could catch a ferry back to Malaysia. It sounded a little rough so I decided to book a r/t ticket for Penang then catch a bus to Singapore for my flight to Borneo. Last minute change let's hope it works.

During my street dinner tour I shared some nice AROM with a Malaysian couple that wanted me to try this light, crispy pancake like thing. Then I was off to try and change a few dollars for Indonesian Rupiah. The exchange guy tried to give me 8000 to the dollar when it is more like 13000 to the dollar so I got my money back and had a few choice words for him. I hate exchanging money and never do it unless absolutely necessary. A quick skype chat with Jessica, quick shower then off to bed to catch my early ferry to Indonesia.

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