|So after laughing at death in it's big stripey, ginger face we decided to head down to Malaysia with our new found friends Anthony and Kelly. The reason for this was initially a visa run as the Thai visa only lasts for about thirty days, and if you overstay your welcome you've got problems. So we found and booked some cheap flights to Penang with the delightful Air Asia (a sort of Asian easyjet, but better).
We flew down first thing in the morning, and on leaving the airport jumped straight onto a bus to Georgetown.
Our initial impression was a mixed one, we likened the city itself to Birmingham, Peterborough and other such tropical destinations whilst the weather was unpleasantly heavy and muggy. However our experiences changed for the better the next day when we went to see some of the sights.
First of all we decide to visit the Buddhist temple. On the steep walk up the hill it was actually impossible to see the temple at all as the stairs were surrounded by wall to wall stalls selling everything from fake t-shirts to Buddha bath accessories with women in shops screaming "meeeeesta ,MEEEEEESTA, come looooooky!" in an attempt to get us to look at their particular range of quality merchandise. Eventually, when we were about 3/4 of the way up to the top, it all opened up and there was a large pond filled with great big dirty turtles (not those ones, Sarah). Lots of people were feeding them greens bought from the nearby stalls and the overall picture was that of a thousand endangered ashtrays battling with each other in an attempt to get to the food first. Once we reached the top and walked inside the grounds we discovered, somewhat to our surprise, an absolutely stunning temple, set in beautiful grounds with great views over the city (sounds like hotel brochure doesn't it!) After enjoying the peace and quiet of the temple for an hour or two we decided to run the gauntlet and go back down the hill.
Next we went to Penang hill, which is about 3000m above sea level and is ridiculously steep. One of the ways to get to the top is to take the tram which travels at a crazy angle for about 25 minutes meaning you spend most of the time near horizontal. On eventually reaching the top the view was unfortunatly marred by a layer of mist over the city. The best view was when it got dark and the city lit up, unfortunately we happened to be catching the tram back down the hill at the time.......Oh well.