A Ringgit's worth of Thoughts
In penang, some of the public transit busses have free wifi.
Two nights in a row, while we were on the bus into town for dinner, the bus stopped at a regular gas station to fill up. Both times the bus was full of people.
Bums in Asia really put Vancouver bums to shame. These guys definitely weren't doing any one thumb push ups or climbing trees for money.
In Canada, chicken satay is expensive and you usually only get like three to an order, while chicken wings you can sometimes get for $0.25/wing. Over here it's the opposite. You get like three wings to an order and it's more expensive than the chicken satay of which you get 10 - 12 skewers per order.
One day Laura and I calculated how long we've been gone. We were pretty sure it was three weeks but it was a day shy of two.
Busses and Boats/Ferries all have A/C here, which is good, but they all only seem to have one temperature: REALLY Cold.
We rented a car in Langkawi. Driving on the left is weird.
While driving we saw the aftermath of a car accident. I don't know if anyone was hurt but the metal barrier on the side of the road had gone through one of the side windows and out the back somehow. It was super crazy.
Laura's getting eaten alive by Mosquitos. They love her for some reason.
You can distill alcohol from Coconut apparently. Only one place in KL (at least that my family knows about) serves it. This restaurant was literally in some bushes in the middle of what looked like an industrial fish packing district. It was the best restaurant we'd been to yet.
After Kuantan we went back to KL for the weekend. The night we got back we went out with Fiza to Bangsar on Tewali street to have some drinks with a few of her friends. The street is jam packed with bars and clubs on both sides of the street. It's awesome. It's kind of like Granville street in Vancouver except condensed into only about 200 meters of street. The bar we were at had Kilkenny and Guiness which was a nice change from the usual light and bubbly Tiger beer. (sidenote: At least one place we've been to since then had Guiness listed as a local beer). Fiza's friends seemed to be really into the drink "Irish Car Bomb" (instructions: pour a shot of jamiesons into a half pint of guiness, then drop a shot of bailie's in and chug before it curdles in the glass - I finished mine first... which is sad on their part...)
The next day my aunt Cat and uncle Loke took us to the Batu Caves, then up to Genting which is way up at the top of a mountain outside KL. Genting is home to a theme park (complete with the same "Hell-a-vator" AND "Corkscrew" rides that we have a playland), a bunch of hotels, and the only Casinos in all of Malaysia. On the way up we stopped for lunch and I had Jackfruit for the first, and last time. I had a bit of an allergic reaction. Nothing serious, just an oddly itchy face and throat for about half an hour after eating it. We spent basically the whole day up at Genting. It was nice because it's much cooler and less humid up on the mountain. Laura and I went on some rides while auntie Cat played slots. I played blackjack for a bit and won 100RM.
Then, it was off to Penang, an island just off the coast of northwest Malaysia. You can get there by bus because it's connected to the mainland by a bridge. Penang is known mostly for it's cheap but delicious food. And rightfully so. The streets are lined with food carts and hawker stalls. You can't go more than about 20 meters without passing at least one stall. Although of the 4 signature dishes, we only really liked one of them: Char Kuay Teow.
If you ever get the chance to eat something called Rojak, I suggest you do it. It's possibly the worst thing I have ever tasted. The most perplexing thing about Rojak, however, is how popular it is. While we were eating at Gurney Drive (one of the more famous Haker food destinations) every other table probably had Rojak amongst their various hawker fare.
Georgetown is sort of the main town in Penang. It's neat because there's all this colonial British architechture still standing from when the British occupied Malaysia (hence the name, Georgetown). It reminded me a bit of Havana in that sense, except that Havana was more spanish influenced. We spent a few days exploring the streets of Georgetown and visiting the various attractions it offers (mostly temples and Chinses mansions).
All in all Penang was fun, but it was more of a big City than I thought it would be and we were quite busy while we were there.
After Penang it was on to Langkawi, where I am writing this post right now. Langkawi is a sleepy beach island, just north of Penang. It's about a two and a half hour (very cold) ferry ride from Georgetown. Langkawi is great. It's truly a vacation destination. There's beaches, beach huts, bars, restaurants, and backpackers. There's almost no traffic and no tall buildings. It's a nice change from the big city feel of the last few places we've been to. The other awesome thing about Langkawi is that it's a duty free town, which means you can get beer for relatively cheap (at least compared to other parts of Malaysia.)
We rented a car in Langkawi for the first few days. It's fun driving on the wrong side of everything. It's also fun driving like a Malay. While we had the car we drove all over the island, exploring the various sights and attractions. Most notable was the Temurun Waterfall. The waterfall itself wasn't terribly majestic, but the natural pool formed by the waterfall was a real treat.
There's a cool bar here called the Babylon Mat Lounge. It's full of Malaysia rasta's with long hair and laid back attitudes. They have a section where it's just a bunch of low tables and mats and you can sit on the mats on the sand and smoke Shisha from one of their many Hookahs. It's hippie heaven there every day. Every night this one group of guys do that fireball spinny thing called poi.
Today we are going on one of these Mangrove Cruise Tour things they have. We weren't going to do anything like that, but some British guy yesterday offered us a really good deal. Apparently he's running this company called Stardust Yacht Charters which is one of many that do these Cruise/Tour things. The problem he's having, he told us, is that he's only #5 on Trip Advisor in his category even though most of the reviews he's gotten have been 5/5:excellent. The reason being that he only has about 40 reviews, while the other guys have over 200. So the agreement is that we get to do the evening tour for about 90% off (which is RM35 which is like $12, as opposed to RM295) and in return, we write a review on Trip Advisor. It doesn't have to be a good review necessarily, he said, (although it is obviously preferable), it just matters that he gets more reviews.
Anyway, we checked out the Stardust Yacht Charters website and his Trip Advisor page. It seems relatively legitimate... But I just thought I'd mention this in case he's a serial killer and we disappear after today or something. If we do, look for a guy named Hamish that potentially works for Stardust (his picture is on the website's front page FYI).