With a forecast of heavy rain every day in Penang we were very lucky to experience only brief moments of drizzle but on the whole it was mostly hot weather. Inevitably that resulted in me getting sunburned (feet and head) though! No slumming it for me this holiday in terms of accommodation as I was with my girlfriend. We stayed at the Bayview Hotel which was more expensive than my usual pit but still very reasonably priced for what we got. I didn’t splash out on a taxi from the airport though instead choosing to take the local bus followed by a 15 minute walk to the hotel. We were a bit shocked on our check-in to have to pay an extra 100 MYR each as deposit which was annoying as getting that money back on our check-out would mean we had a surplus amount of cash that would just have to be spent at the airport.
We went out straight away for a well-earned beer and got down to the business of trying out the local dishes (hokkien mee and duck) at a nearby outdoor food court. More local cuisine was sampled the next morning at the most local of places as we made our way to the main bus terminal Komtar. We managed to feast on a load of Chinese dishes and a couple of drinks for just two or three pounds but after that fuel stop my girlfriend managed to catch one of her sandals on the road making it impossible to walk in them so we had to stop at the shopping mall at Komtar to buy a new pair. Not just one pair for her as she bought two! Safety in numbers I guess!
We took a local bus to the north of the island which is home to its most famous beach; Batu Ferringhi. After a quick drink (mint lemon tea for me) and some local nosh (laksa which is basically noodles in a spicy coconut-based soup) we tried our hand at two activities albeit not together!
She went horse-riding along the beach and then I went parasailing for the first time. In the UK or Japan you’d probably have an overly long safety demonstration course but no such nonsense in Malaysia. Pay your money, sign a form, put on the harness, get a ten second instruction of what to do (something about changing hand position and pulling something or another on the descent) and then away you go! I didn’t really know how to get up in the air smoothly. Run until you feel the boat really pulling you and then hope you take off!
As it was I went up a bit and seconds later hit the water before instantly shooting up in to the sky which was really cool although the brief dip in the ocean meant my eyes were full of salty water which impaired my vision slightly. The whole thing only lasted two or three minutes (just once round the bay basically) but to be fair it was enough and for under 15 quid it was well worth it for me.
Over the road from the beach was Dr Fish where we paid 50MYR (10 pounds) between us to dip our feet in this small bath full of fish who nibble away at your feet and supposedly cure it of all dead skin or whatever. It was actually very relaxing and rejuvenating and, after time at the beach, it felt very nice.
On the outward journey I had noticed a roadside restaurant called ‘The Place 007’ featuring the proper James Bond logo. I knew it would be almost impossible to go there but, having had the Bond theme in my head all day, I wanted to get a picture of it on the way home and knew taking it through the bus window would be my only chance. I just about managed it!