Archives for posts with tag: Pualu Penang

May 14, 2012.

Still in Georgetown. I spent the previous day shopping for a pair of long pants that don’t scream “hippy”, a challenge. That evening I met 3 guys who are going to prove to be some of my favorite traveling companions in quite some time. Julian from Germany, Paulo from Italy and Darraugh from England. We made plans to head out to see Kek Lok Si Temple, and also the snake temple, both on different parts of the island. We also meet up with another lovely soul, Leo, also from Germany and he joins our happy little family. We take local buses which are super new, clean and very air-conditioned (ie: freezing cold). Kek Lok Si is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia and took 20 years to build. it`s a massive complex which we all happily explore, sometimes together sometimes apart, always managing to merge back together quite seamlessly.

 

The Snake temple is on another part of the island and turns out to be much smaller than we anticipated, however we do get to see some poisonous guys (no touching) and a couple boas that we could touch but if we wanted to hold them (and I did) we had to pay (so I didn’t).

Back to our guesthouses we get cleaned up and head out for some Indian food, eaten straight off a banana leaf with our hands (right hand only of course). It is so tasty and we are all fat after and super happy about it. After eating we walk down the street and I see a guy who is selling Paan, I have always been curious about it and the guys were keen to try it as well so we did. The man built the leaf tight in front of us, adding about 15 different ingredients, spices like cinnamon and clove and a nicotine paste amongst many other things, all wrapped up in a leaf. You are meant to hold it in your cheek taking the odd chew and spitting out the juice. I thought it was tasty though the texture was a bit difficult. Julian bailed first, he thought it was disgusting; mine broke apart too much while I was trying to transfer it from one side of my mouth to the other so I had to spit it out. I can’t remember whether Paulo or Darraugh was next to get rid of it but it made Darraugh throw up (such a shame, all that good food). Leo was the master, holding it for about half an hour. Our tongues were some pretty astonishing shades of orange after.

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May 12, 2012

I cross the border from Thailand to Malaysia, I don’t have any problems but as I’m in line to get my stamp I see a guy try to run across the border at full speed, a cop chasing after him, I don’t see the take down but, after getting my stamp, I see him on the ground with 4 officers around him, hands tied behind and a knee in his back. Later I see him, hands now free, being escorted back to the Thai side. His hands in prayer and bowing to the guards, I think they may have actually let him go.

I arrive in Georgetown on the island of Penang, I had no expectations or ideas about this place and was in fact only planning a quick visit as I wanted beach time and was planning on hoofing over to the east coast Perhentian Islands as fast as possible, but I unexpectedly fell in love. It’s a fantastic town, I stayed in Little India at the helpful and clean Civilian’s Inn on Love Lane. Penang is an old city with a great mix of Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures. And the FOOD, ohmygod so good! After I’ve gotten myself settled in I go for a wander through town, photo happy. I have a map for a walking tour kindly provided by the good folks at the guesthouse and I try to see as much as I can. Chinatown pharmacies, an historic fort, the waterfront, shopping, and more. I feast on an Indian dinner and have an early night.