|After 5 days of lazing about in Krabi, where we really didn't do much other than make it to the pool, or the remote control to watch a movie / football match, we have today left Thailand for the delights of Penang, Malaysia.
Described in the guidebook as one of the most delightful cities in South East Asia; having arrived we wonder which other cities the author has been to. Its a dump. We left at 6.30am for a supposed 9 hour bus journey that ignored the fact that the driver picks you up earlier than billed (40 extra minutes), drives around picking up his mates and dropping them off at their houses (extra 1 hour 20 minutes) and the border control (extra hour). We might just be tired, but we are staying in China town and it looks more like the rough end of Luton. Haven't seen a single Chinese restaurant or chinese person. I think we're really in India town - which is supposed to be a few blocks away.
Refused to stay in a couple of grotty hotels. One was covered in dust, had brown stained sheets and cockroaches. Settled for a reasonable place, that is at least clean and can offer us our own bathroom and aircon. However, it is noticeably cooler here even though we are closer to the equator! Perhaps its a false dawn - will find out tomorrow.
One amusing event to the day occurred at the Malay / thai border. It has a fearsome reputation - you know the score - death penalty for drug smuggling etc etc. Not that we smuggle drugs but death penalties make you nervous anyway. There was a guy on the bus, obviously foreign, who went through the immigration channel before us. There were obviously some irregularities and he was directed through a door to the side. And we never saw him again. The bus driver waited 10 minutes, went to ask some questions, came back and then we just left. What became of this man? Did he emerge later to be really p*ssed off that we had gone, because he was a fairly long way from the destination he had paid to reach (by the tune of about 100 or so miles), had he been detained. We'll probably never know.