20.12.2012 - 20.12.2012 32 °C
Believe it or not today is the first time in the two and half weeks since leaving the UK that we have seen the sea. We plan to see alot more of it during our time on Penang.
We got up early (7am) and frantically packed our bags as we were too lazy to do it last night then went for breakfast before our bus arrived at 9am to take us to Georgetown, Penang. We swiftly ordered from the first stall we saw, two plates of Nasi Lemak and two coffees and ate them in record time. The bus was a nice air conditioned one and wasn't that busy apart from the seats behind us that we're taken by a crying child and his mum. About an hour into the journey we realised why he was so upset as he vomited everywhere and the crazy, bossy German mum then demanded tissues and a plastic bag from us and clicked her fingers at an elderly couple at the front and instructed them to swap seats so she could be at the front. The dad just stayed in his seat listening to his iPod. I did feel a bad for the child as the bus journey took five hours.
One we arrived in Penang we found our guest house, we booked it in advance as we assumed the Christmas period would be busy. It is the most expensive and nicest guest house we have stayed in (£8 each a night). It is in an old colonial shop that has been refurbished. The rooms are lovely and downstairs is quiet and relaxed with a fish pond, pool table and a bar. Breakfast and Wifi are included and the owner is a really nice man who sat us down with a coffee when we arrived and showed us all the sights on a map, telling us how and where to get the bus. Nothing is too much trouble for him.
After settling in our new home for the next seven days we then set off in search of buying a two month Thai visa as it is our last opportunity and as it is the Christmas period we though we would try and get it done today. We walked down a main road with lots of tour operators and guest houses. We know you can get one from the Thai embassy but didn't fancy queuing up and then waiting for it and we weren't sure of opening days/times over Xmas so we got one from a guest house and paid a bit extra. We went into banana guest house and spoke to a lady who was quite upset she had to stop browsing the internet and serve us. She just needed our passports, two photos, a copy of our passports, the money and a form signing. We pick them up tomorrow at 15.45 so fingers crossed it goes ok.
From there we took a walk around the area we are based, the streets are similar to Melaka in some ways, there are the old fashioned fronted houses with lanterns and multi-coloured shutters along with the odd colonial building scattered about. There is much more of a 'backpacker' seen here, more or less a whole street dedicated to it, but our first impressions are very good. We walked through Chinatown and Little India first as these have been our favorite areas of the other cities we have stayed. We then made our way to the nearest coast and spent some time looking out over the sea before making our way back to get washed and go out for some tea.
We had another stroll to find some good cheap food and stumbled across a small foodcourt where we had Wanton Noodles with shredded pork. It was very nice and cost less than £2 pound for the both of us. From there we walked around again trying to find somehwere to have a drink and settled on a Reggae bar that had a happy hour (more like happy eight hours) where we sat and had a cheap beer each. We walked through Little India in the dark and were mesmerised by the vibrancy of it. The streets are filled wih lights and people sell Indian food and iced drinks from their carts. The shops blare out Indian music and the streets are perfumed with dried flowers and insense. There were lots of people walking the streets, buying food and sat lingering over coffees. It is one on the best Little India's we have seen and we can't wait to expore it more. We then came back to our guesthouse to make most of the free coffee that is included in the bill and Chelsea somehow beat Liam at pool (although she swears she has never played before.....)
We have several plans for our time on Penang, we want to see as much of the Island as possible, there is a relaxing beach day scheduled in, but tomrrow we are going to spend wandering aroung the sights of Georgetown before going to collect our Thai Visa.