Pearl of the Orient (I don't know about now, but it was then)

Penang Travel Blog

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The weather that cooks many a visitor.
I find that I can't really write when I've had a great day. It just seems too good to be put into words... How very strange. Does this mean I can only writing scathing reviews ?? I hope not, this would certainly spoil every trip.

What can I tell you about a place like Penang ? Once upon a time, this was an English colony. Prior to that, the island was part of the Siamese empire. Like many places, the rise & fall of empires shifted the demarcation lines of national borders like the waves making patterns on the seashore. Let's leave that historical stuff aside for a while. How can I describe this place to a newly arrived traveller ?

You arrive by air at Penang International Airport. You may notice (like I did) that the airconditioning at the main lounge is set at to simulate Artic climates for some inexplicable reason.
Mansions along the coast.
Could it be they are welcoming foreign dignatories from Greenland, Siberia, Alaska or Sarah Palin maybe ? But don't  you let your guard down, guys & gals, the moment you walk out of those automatic doors, you are going to be welcomed by the REAL weather ! Whoooosh !!! 34 degrees C of hot air with 90% plus humidity hits you in the face !!

After a few moments of standing like a stunned prairie dog, you gather your wits and start praying to the deities in charge of rain & weather. Some visitors are already starting to wipe their faces profusely and turning a tinge of pink. All this and they haven't even left the airport !  and these nice couples (who usually are in their 50's) mostly have tags & signs plastered all over their luggage stating they will be spending the their vacation by the beach.
Take your pick, only from MYR 1 million each. Very affordable !
Do they have any idea about what's it going to be like at the beach ? Do they ever wonder why so few locals even go near the beach ? hint...hint... those travel photos don't seem to show many locals, do they ? Yes ! They have signed up for a vacation that includes heat stroke, skin cancer (or at the least, epidermis removal), burnt feet, dehydration as part of the package, all FREE !!! At 1pm on the beach, you can be dancing all the way to & from the sea. I kid you not when I say the sand is extremely hot ! It's always entertaining to watch people invent new dance moves after the 1st few steps onto the white.... fluffy.... BURNING sand !! Hahahahaha

Let's get back to the picture. Newly arrived suc... tourist at the airport. Usually seen clutching guidebook (if not on package tour) and now wandering about searching for bus.
He probably got uprooted by the beach front condos. (no wonder he looks pissed off)
Also quick to notice them are the dreaded taxis, soon they are propositioned faster than a newcomer to the prison system. After a few rounds of haggling and insisting on the meter being used, these poor chaps now are led away for the slaughter. The one way trip to the beach hotel is going to cost just a little less than a rental of a small car. Thus I suggest checking up with the hotel beforehand if transport is included. However, if you are staying at a motel by the beach that costs MYR 60 or less, hint...hint.. the taxi ride will cost as much or more. hahahaha. Take the bus if you are on a budget, see you at your destination tomorrow.... maybe.

* Don't worry folks, this slaughter is totally indiscriminate. They favour none, not even the locals.
Wind surfer just before 'Jaws' struck.
In fact, they might even ignore us totally since we insist on paying the flat rate above and have exact change.

The local bus ? A totally boring trip through traffic until you near the sea side. (near where I usually stay) This is when the bus will start the weaving along the edge of the cliff for the next 5km or so. Occasional near misses with sharp boulders protruding from the landside cliffs will help keep you awake. Why not try touching it as you pass by ? (Oh, I forgot, they now have AC buses, no more fun like that anymore.) For some weird reasons, these lovely features have been left to nature to be eroded away or vehicles to chip away as they pass, or crash into occasionally. On the other side is the sea which you can peer at from your vantage point in the bus.
The new on the old. See the little bit of white ? That's the old.
Remember to take the side where the action is !   I hate to disappoint you folks, but the incident rate is amazingly low. (or maybe it happens so often, nobody even cares to report about it....) I certainly found the trip to be much more enjoyable during the days past where one could feel the wind in one's face as the bus took you along that sea side route.

Anyway, you can rest easier knowing that it's not like that you will be plunging to your death off those cliffs if your bus decided to make an impromptu detour. With the whole load of new luxury condominiums that have suddenly sprung up along the sea side, you have a higher chance of plunging off those cliffs into someone's swimming pool or yacht parked below and get sued to death if you survive. This brings us to the important question, it's not "Why do we have to use that route?", it's "How the heck did people get all this f***** money?", I thought we were in a recession, ffs !!! 
Cho says:
Enjoyed reading this, thanks for posting. By the way, I still consider Penang to be Pearl of the Orient. In fact, my blog title here on TB says exactly that!
Posted on: Jul 14, 2013
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The weather that cooks many a visi…
The weather that cooks many a vis…
Mansions along the coast.
Mansions along the coast.
Take your pick, only from MYR 1 mi…
Take your pick, only from MYR 1 m…
He probably got uprooted by the be…
He probably got uprooted by the b…
Wind surfer just before Jaws str…
Wind surfer just before 'Jaws' st…
The new on the old. See the little…
The new on the old. See the littl…
A newly completed thingy with the …
A newly completed thingy with the…
photo by: Aurora78