Wanderlust Home and Pet Care
1/11/2015 Our AirBnB apartment is further away from George Town than I expected. Our host had left the us after check-in. I was figuring out the features of the apartment when I noticed we didn’t have any towels and there wasn’t a top sheet on the bed. We immediately called the owner. He drove back and gave us his towels from his personal stash. He said it wasn’t common to provide towels and the bed doesn’t come with a top sheet we will just have to use the blanket as a cover. Again typical for Malaysia apparently. We tried the bus system and had some issues but with the help of different people we were able to get to the Tesco Extra for some food items. Can’t always depend on google maps to be accurate as we learned in Manila.
1/12/15 Our taxi drove us into George Town (named after the same King George III, king of the American colonies) to Fort Cornwallis built in the 1700 for the British East India Company. Yes, the fort was named after the very same Cornwallis that surrendered his army in 1781 to the new nation, United States of America. Those Brits really get around. Penang, like Malacca, is also recognized for the living multicultural communities and architectural treasures by UNESCO. Some of the buildings made me think I was back in London.
We made a point of visiting the Pinang Peranakan Museum - a must see in Lonely Planet. The museum had a very in-depth tour of a very “rich” mansion owned by a Chinese (gangster) immigrant. We then walked to the Khoo Kongsi Temple and clan association also a must see. I can’t say this was any more spectacular than the temples we saw in Malacca. I also wanted to see the clan jetties - built into the bay and were occupied by Chinese with the same surname. I was surprised to see the use of plastic 5 gallon containers filled with cement and used as supports. By this time fatigue, hunger and heat were definitely kicking in. We saw many people eating at a what we thought was a restaurant. After being told how to order our meals, I would call it a small food court. My stir fry dish came from one vendor, Gary’s shrimp ball soup from another and finally our beers from a third vendor. Everything was very tasty and cheap! We were able to find the bus terminal so took the #302 back to our apartment which saved us RM 26.
1/17/15 We made our way by bus to the Botanical Gardens recommended by Lonely Planet. It wasn’t what I expected since is was listed as a “must-see”. It was a nice park with an occasional sign with the name of the tree. We found only a couple of flowering plant on the grounds. I expected more flowering plants, I guess. We had lunch in the city - nothing out of this world but the wine was good.
1/18/15 Happy Birthday Dad! Bus 302 and then 101 took us to Guerney Plaza. The Plaza is a mall situated along the water. It is also an area having many good restaurants. It was a lovely day for a walk, maybe a little warm but there were large shade trees for protection from the harsh sun. The area is very westernized. The mall looked like any mall in the USA, several upscale hotels and many tall condominiums. We found a place that served pork ribs. The meat fell off the bones, the onion rings were crispy and the beer was cold. We had to walk a ways to get to the bus stop and then it was standing room only. At the bus terminal we waited for over 30 minutes before our bus arrived. Gary blocked for me to insure we would get a seat for the 30 minute bus ride back to the apartment.
1/20/15 The funicular at Penang Hill had been repaired and was open for business. The funicular is a modern, speedy, Swiss built machine. Our view at the top is very hazy but I can’t control mother nature. We visit a Hindu temple and an aviary but it wasn’t the must see as stated by Lonely Planet. Lunch was back in the city at the mall across from the bus terminal. Then we waited over an hour for bus 302 to show up. Very discouraging.
Summary: Am I becoming jaded? No, I just don’t think Malaysia was very compelling. Our apartment was near the megaphone for the mosque’s call to prayers. We didn’t appreciate hearing that at 6 am. I’m tired of asking for silverware and bringing my own napkin to dinner. The people on the whole seemed joyless and yet we did meet several nice folks, mostly of Chinese and Indian ancestry. I know now I could never live here due to eating and drinking limitations. When I go out to eat, I don’t want to have to limit my restaurant selection to Hindu or Chinese restaurants in order to have alcohol or pork. The attractions are not very interesting when compared to the rest of the world. I would feel trapped in an apartment not having fun destinations to visit. George Town may have a UNESCO designation but a lot of the buildings are in need of major maintenance. I am not a shopper so one mall looks like any other mall and who cares? Bottom line, I never need return to Malaysia.