Sunday, 15 January 2012
Coming to Penang
Ok so here's a travel tip - if you think you've done you're research about where to stay think again! I'd booked a hotel in KL Malaysia for our overnight layover enroute to Penang on the basis that the hotel was only 2.5km from the airport. At the airport upon disembarkation we got a voucher for a taxi (not possible to get one freelance amazingly though we tried) "What? 80RM to get to the hotel? But it's close by!" I exclaimed. The Indian Malay lady behind the counter wobbled her head in acquiescence and replied "I'm sorry ma'am but that is the tarrif" What can one do with three children in tow at midnight? Once in the taxi the ride seemed to go on and on and on. I looked at India who had helped me pick the hotel for its convenient proximity to the airport and we shrugged our shoulders. Was tha taxi driver taking us for a ride? Were we being kidnapped? Was he lost? None of these as we found out when we eventually got to the hotel that was in fact 2.5km from the airport - a different airport to the one we'd landed at! The next morning we hiked back to the airport and flew on to Penang. My mothers friend Mojo had booked a room for us at the hotel my mother normally stays at in the centre of Georgetown, the 'Modern Hotel' which is a Chinese run relic from the early 1930's. Hauling our bags up to the first floor the old Chinese man greeted us "Ah, you daughter Lise! Have your mothers room - no 8!" he said cheerfully handing me the old key. The room had two narrow double beds and an added single that Torsten claimed. Third daughter Savannah and I shared a bed. Surprisingly the shower was warm and the clothes we washed and hung out on the balcony dried quickly. Fortunately I'd remembered to pack a sarong for each of us to use as towels and to sleep in. The toilets were down the hall. I lit a mosquito coil and watched smoke curl around in air being whipped up by the large circulating fan - no aircon here, but for Penang it was unusually cool weather, not the stifling heat of previous visits. We went out and found a old Chinese café serving Yum Cha - we positively gorged ourselves on the fantastic dishes. Chinese tea was served in a yellow teapot and we finished off the meal with Portuguese egg custard tarts. The Portuguese had first served these up in Macau from whence they had spread to Hong Kong where we first encountered them five years previous. From Hong Kong they had then spread down to Penang much to our delight. On our way home we stopped in at Mydin supermarket to pick up a $6 kettle so we could make tea and coffee in the enamel mugs I'd brought with us. Amazingly we slept thru the 5.30 call of the mosque next door to our room and didn't wake till the second call to prayers later in the morning. (I will update this post with photos when I can access proper Internet).