A Few of My Favourite Things. And Vomit Dodging.
Penang Travel Blog› entry 59 of 115 › view all entries
I somehow managed not to puke on the ferry. I just couldn't countenance spending another day of convalescence in the grimy claustrophobia of the hotel room and got a little ripped off buying a ferry ticket through reception. I even saw the knowing glint in the manager's eye as he named his price. I didn't really care; I was alone again - Eric had returned to KL, Alex had moved on to Singapore and the hectic, polluted muddle of Medan felt like yesterday's news. I just wanted out so I accepted the first price and packed up sharpish.
I probably needed another day of recuperation and this became increasingly obvious when I was ensconsed in a window seat below decks. My bowels were mercifully quiet but my stomach was washing machine active even before the ferry left the port. I accepted one of the little sponge buns that were passed around and ate it slowly, hoping it would soothe my stomach a little. It didn't seem to cause any extra discomfort and the taste at least distracted me temporarily, triggering memories of fetes held at my primary school where similar cakes, clad in corrugated greased paper cups, would sell for 10p each.
I had heard horror stories of mass vomiting on rough crossings of the waters that this crossing negotiates. I had stowed a small plastic bag to hurl into if neccessary but thankfully the elements were kind to me. The biggest threat to my stomach was not the rolling of the waves but instead the gnarled feet of a bushy-bearded muslim bloke sprawled out across the 4 seats to my left, left perched perilously close to my nose. Cheers pal. I slumped back, closed my eyes and tried to think of nice things like whiskers on kittens, brown paper packages tied up with string and Shakira in the Whenever Wherever video.
Eventually, mercifully, after 6 hours, we made it to Georgetown where I would spend the next four days speaking to almost no-one, eating some bloody good Chinese and Indian meals (stomach thankfully back to normal), and reading voraciously. It's not that Georgetown is a tedious place, it's ok, there's a bit of British colonial history to uncover etc. etc. But I was content to spend a bit of time alone and the lack of social area in the hostel pretty much sealed the isolation deal. I wasn't really up for trawling the bars, dribbling and asking randoms to be my new friends. After the 4th day though, I was definitely ready to shift on, so I jumped on the free ferry to the mainland and bussed it south to Ipoh, one of the gateways to the land of Malaysian tea; the Cameron Highlands. Spiffing what!