Penang – Second Update on Nov 1

Trying something different here, a blog within a blog. Each location will have it’s own page. I’ll update at the top of the page as needed, which means read from the bottom up.

Nov. 1 – Evening

Random Thoughts

Indian food for breakfast? Why not. Had a Roti with an unknown vegetarian savory sauce.

Why are they playing 60s and 70s classic rock lite (Carpenters, ELO, John Lennon, Joni Mitchel, etc.) at so many different places?

When in Malaysia, try White Coffee.

Begin Update 9 Oct 2011:
After two more cups I now recommend not trying it. It tastes of palm oil and seems to leave an oily residue in the mouth that water can not wash away. First drank it when my nose was stopped up so my taste buds were not working fully. Also had it with ice cream which may have masked the oilyness.
End update

At one type of Indian restaurant there might be 15 different prepared dishes, 2 types of rice and 3 sauces. The man who fills orders is apparently a master mixologist. Based on what one orders with the rice he dips into 1 or more of the 3 sauces and the sauces of the individual dishes, sometimes adjusting in amounts as small as a tablespoon. Always tasted good to me.

First part of travel strategy (stay someplace until I’m bored for half a day) worked, tomorrow I’ll see if packing, a bus ride and finding a guest house are something I’ll look forward to.

I want a photography kit containing everything I might need and a porter to carry it.

Penang museum had an entire room deveoted to marriage customs of the various cultures and eras. One common thread is that all the bridesmaids dresses were unattractive.

In the last five years I’ve noticed more baby boomer women traveling alone. Good for them. Political Correctness means we’re highly unlikely to ever see a cover story on Time or Newsweek (or the web equivalent) about how and why there are more divorced retired women from that generation than any other.

Nov 1. – No Laptop

Left the guesthouse early to get food and photos, recognized a couple both engrossed in laptops. Wandered into Little India, ate and people watched. Wandered home by a different route, kept finding things to photograph. Back at the guesthouse to put on sunscreen and pick up the stuff I’d need for today’s adventure. The couple were still at their laptops when I left for the second time. That could be me, and usually is at home. Too easy to get sucked into the net, so no laptop and only one hour a day at a net cafe.

Sony Center at Gurney Plaza

Couldn’t find a backup battery in Hua Hin so went to the first available Sony Center to buy one. It’s in what is called Penang’s fanciest mall. Took a look at some daypacks designed to carry cameras. All of them were of crap construction. Why do people by this stuff? Can’t they see stitches per inch and lack of reinvforced stress points? That bothered me more than paying more for the camera battery than I did for my last car battery. I rationalized it by noting that my car battery doesn’t fit in a pocket.

Why Haven’t I Seen Any Common Western Pop Culture Images?

That thought had no sooner popped into my head when it was quashed by the answer: It’s a Muslim country. Duh.


Only seen inside at the Kek Lok Si temple.

Arriving at Penang in the Rain

Oct 30 – The Train

Person in the upper berth hasn’t stirred so I go sit somewhere else because lying down is now tiresome. He doesn’t get up until after 12:00. It was nice and sociable to hang out with new people who wanted company and didn’t mind sharing their space. Some times I’ve purchased two seats on a bus so I can put my bag next to me instead of where my legs have to go. Occured to me that one could buy both upper and lower berths and be able to contro when it was converted from seats to beds and back again.

The Border

I’ve tried postits, I’ve tried opening my passport to the page with the relevant stamp and it doesn’t matter, the Thai immigration clerk can’t find the stamp he’s looking for. This time it was ridiculous. He flipped by it once, then stopped one page before it while going through page by page. Finally he asked me where my extension was and I opened right to it. Until now I’ve been blind to the page numbers in a passport, now they make finding my entry stamp and most recent extension a breeze.


He: "Do you have anything to declare?" Me: "I don’t know what needs to be declared." Three one word questions and three ‘no’s later I was out. Makes me wonder why I thought there might be a problem bring prescription drugs into Malaysia. Especially since in Thailand one doesn’t need a prescription (though I had prescriptions for 3 of the drugs).

Don’t plan on pressing my luck crossing into Singapore.

Kek Lok Si Temple

A photographers dream. Stairs, steps, ramps and more stairs. More giftshops than I’ve ever seen in one place. Not in one temple, but in one place. Claustraphobic rabbit tunnel to get from street to temple that is lined with vendors. It’s three people wide, unless you’re of a easily identifyable ethnicity, in which it’s 2.25 people wide. Those people travel in groups and don’t seem to be able to stop walking except at places where they will create the most pedestrial traffic blockage. I know it’s 2.25 people wide because I’m skinny and pushed my way through them. They never say a word or even acknowledge my presence. It’s like animals establishing dominance.

There. Will. Be. Steps.

Climbed from where above photo was taken to the 10th floor of the white tower on the right, which is high as one can go. Wouldn’t you? Was so sore I was hobbling around that evening, slept like a log and turned today into an unscheduled rest day. It was totally worth it for the photo ops.

Oct 29 – The Train

Only 2.5 hours late. They couldn’t or wouldn’t estimate arrival time, but the worst part is they wouldn’t say if the train had left Bangkok. It’s about 4 hours from Bangkok to Hua Hin so knowing if the train was not rolling yet would tell us the wait would be at least 4 hours. Another Michael Connelly novel made the time fly by. Never read him before retiring, now I want to read everything.


2 Responses to Penang – Second Update on Nov 1

  1. adrian says:

    Now just tell me where the real enjoyment of this obstacle race will start?

    In Bangkok now, will see the real story tomorrow.


    • Four Letter Nerd says:

      I enjoy Penang, but I understand your reasons for not liking it. Staying one more day than planned to let my legs recover from the foolish up and down and all over a mountain top temple in search of photo ops.

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