Some people travel with a sense of freedom and adventure. Every hiccup is a lesson learned and nothing can go wrong because it’s all part of the experience. Others, like myself, travel the world thinking everyone is trying to mug you, drug you or steal your organs.
No, I’m not one of those people who walks about with their money and passport hidden up their butt like a suppository but I am the sort of person who flinches when a man in the street uses the shotgun he is holding to gesture to where the nearest toilet is (true story).
Penang is nice. Hot, but nice. I just found myself a little uncomfortable there. Besides the weather causing me to sweat like a tap after taking 2 steps outside, it was probably the most culture I’ve ever been exposed to. I had culture shock. The majority of the tourists and visitors to the hotel we were in were from the Middle East. There were women in burkas everywhere. By the pool, in the pool and even jet skiing! I shit you not, jet skiing.
One of the highlights were the hawker markets where you go for delicious food (Elle discusses it in better detail on her blog The Spicerack). When it was described to me the idea of “a community of outdoor street vendors cooking a variety of delicacies” didn’t really appeal to me. All I heard was “a bunch of dirty outdoor vendors all cooking various street animals”. Mean, I know, but I’m picky with my food and the thought of these hawkers cooking anything that would appeal to me seemed unlikely. It’s not till you are there and amongst all the beautiful aromas and cooking styles that you realise this is the best, most honest food you’ll ever had, and everything cost less than a sausage roll. Plates of different delicious foods piled up as I ate my way across 4 countries in one night, all from the one table.
Of course there was shopping at night markets. Well, Elle shopped, i followed, Frappachino in hand.
We did a few tours in the mountains to look at temples and what-not (*yawn*). Not really my thing, anything like that becomes an exercise in seeing how much I am able to sweat. I’m not comfortable.
My favourite thing that we saw was (of course) the Toy museum. Now when I told about this Toy Museum I wasn’t too excited, I imagined a boring collection of wooden toy soldiers, musty teddy bears and creepy ceramic dolls with broken eyes. Boy was I wrong. A more accurate name for it would have been the Amazing Action Figure Archive. It housed literally thousands of action figures dating back to the 80’s, dozen’s of life-size statues of some great characters and even an original Ecto one Ghostbusters car, the toy that I wrote about melting at school. I really wanted to steal it except it’s Malaysia so i’d probably be executed or something.
Overall, Penang is a beautiful place, the people couldn’t be nicer and some of the best food I’ve had in my life. But when I’m on holiday I want to relax a bit more whilst still enjoying a tropical back-drop. Which brings us to the final leg of the trip, Koh Samui, Thailand.
Asian Adventure Pt 4 Coming soon!