you know how they say you never get a second chance to make a first impression? well, penang blew it. first impression – not so great. in all fairness, it’s probably not really penang’s fault. you know how when you move to an all new country, new culture, new language, new food and then you go on holiday (that’s british for vacation) and are expecting said holiday to be all relaxing and easy and such? it’s possible you could be setting your expectations way too high, especially when the locale you’re headed to is a whole different culture, etc. i started feeling a tad uneasy and thinking things might be amiss at the penang airport. just as we arrived in penang. it hit me somewhere between the gate and the baggage carousel. i’ve spent the last 5 months struggling to understand thai and heavily accented english – that would be with a thai accent. i was so looking forward to everything being in english – because really everyone i came across in penang does speak english. but i discovered i had difficulty understanding most everybody. they were speaking english – heavily accented english. and this time it was a malay accent, a chinese accent or an indian accent. and it was just more than my little brain could process. plus, i had some weird sinus thing going on and my ears wouldn’t “pop” so i was sort of hearing everything muffled while feeling like someone was poking an ice pick into my ear willy nilly.
bh met us at the airport and we headed to the apartment we were staying in. and because i know you’ve all been wandering i’ll tell you – he wasn’t lying. not even a little bit. as evidenced by the advertising for the lovely location.
i jest, that’s an advertisement for the higher end
apartments. not the one we were in.
in truth, it was perfectly fine, sort of. i mean for what we were paying and all. and there was a lovely pool that the kids couldn’t get enough of so that was a big plus. but access to transportation was limited. taxis weren’t cheap and the nearest bus stop was a 20 minute walk. and we had no bus schedule, i’m leaning towards thinking there wasn’t one. restaurants were few, think fewer than that, and far between – at least in our immediate vicinity. and while we did have a kitchenette there wasn’t just a ton of stuff at the local mini mart to prepare. i did discover the grocery store on day #5, but by that time i had developed somewhat of a grin and bear it attitude. grin and bear it does not equal keep your chin up and make the best of it. not at all. it’s more, i can’t eat anything in this apartment because i don’t trust the cleanliness of the dishes (you know, the ones i washed myself) and i really don’t have the energy to corral the kids down to the bus stop to go on any of the many adventures that would probably be a ton of fun. that’s pretty much exactly what my attitude was like. so what did we do?
we stopped by the coffee tree.
where we sampled some tasty chocolate and coffee.
we rode the funicular train up penang hill.
all the way to the top. and we looked out over the whole of penang. or at least part of the whole.
a new friend was made. who will never, ever be coming to visit us – i told him as much.
and then we came back down.
the kids and i went to the butterfly garden. on the bus.
and guess what we saw.
we also spent quite a while watching the overly active komodo dragon.
he was trying to be all friendly and give us high fives, but we weren’t buying. and then we rode the bus home. did i mention that the bus stop was just over 1 km from the butterfly garden?
we – all five of us – spent an evening at the night market and batu ferringhi. we got there by teksi.
we came back home by bike cart thing and bus.
the kids and i partook of small sampling of home.
and we didn’t eat lunch there just once. nope, we did it twice. and it was tasty. nachos and quesadillas. mmm, mmm, good.
in between our two trips to chilis we had our lovely foray into quality penang medical care.
and then one more trip was made to batu ferringhi, this time during the late afternoon/early evening.
where one of us found love. and another of us, well, not so much.
there were certainly highlights during the week. and it’s probably safe to say that the bad wasn’t really penang’s fault. it was me. and i’m hoping to get another shot at it.
oh, wait, i almost left out the scrabble injury. all the best players suffer this one. and, of course, i played through the pain and won.