Penang – 1st Day

After one tiring week in Penang, I’m finally home. Missed my own bed terribly. The hotel was not that bad, but I usually can’t sleep on another bed. Did a lot of walking, thanks to the ‘encouraging’ IL – but I have to admit that Penang is definately a very small area and you can actually walk to a lot of places. Other than the extremely hot weather during the day and rainy evenings, the only good thing I like was that Penang was extremely windy. Perhaps because it is an island. Island life was peaceful and less hectic compared to KL and I kinda like it as well, if not for the people who keeps talking to me in Hokkien even if I show a blank face. Thank god that IL was there to do all the translations.

Landed in Penang after only half an hour flight. Managed to get a cab and checked into our hotel. Since it was the first nite, both IL and I were sharing rooms. We then walked out in search of lunch. Settled in a coffee shop and had kuey theow th’ng – a seemingly popular dish among Penangnites. This is also where I first experienced the persistence of this island’s people in speaking Hokkien. Since it was a real hot afternoon, both of us went back to the hotel to do some planning on where to go. I asked at the front office about single tours that are available – not pricey – but since I was the only one, they refused to come to pick me up (sob, sob) Anyway, IL went to sleep in the hotel room (she was having a bit of a headache) while I tried to explore on my own to some places which is nearer to our hotel. Managed to get entry to the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion which costed me RM10. It was a fully guided tour which was coupled with stories on this filthy rich CFT. When I got back to the hotel almost 1 1/2 hrs later, IL was still snoring away. Waited for a while and when IL woke up, we explored further down the road, passing Penang Museum (which was already closed at that time) We reached the Goddess of Mercy (Kuan Yin) Temple after a while and it was full of devotees. This is actually one of the oldest Chinese temples in Penang, apparently built in 1800. I initially thought that there was some sort of festival going on as in KL temples would not be that full during normal days. While IL waited outside, I went in for a look. I was hoping to buy some joss sticks and offer some prayers, but looking at the vast amount of people there, I changed my mind.

We walked some more down the road for a while and then finally made up our mind to take a cab to Gurney Drive for dinner. When we arrived, the place was already bustling with people. Food was okay, quality comparable to those in KL (discovered later that food in Penang is so comercialised that they do not seem to be as good anymore). For cheap food, it was worth it. Heck, there was even a live band! After dinner, we shopped for a while in Gurney Plaza and since both of us were quite tired, we went back to the hotel.

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