Hello from Penang, Malaysia

Hello from Penang, Malaysia
 
Penang is an island off the main peninsula, it was known as the pearl of the orient, but over time has perhaps become over developed.  We stayed in one of the tourist beach areas. I had read that the beaches weren’t that great, and they’re not if you are spoilt with Australian beaches.  To be honest, apart from some the pacific islands I’ve visited you can’t beat the beaches back home.  
 
We spent most of our time relaxing by the pool. We did go into Georgetown on one of the days. I really enjoyed this, as it has that great Asian feel to it, with street markets and food on every corner.  Because of the British influence it also had some colonial buildings as well.  There was a Little India section and a a Chinese market area.  Penang is known for it’s food and it didn’t disappoint.  We had one of our best meals of this trip here.
 
Janice and I are still getting along. Although we did have a major spat in Georgetown.  Ironically my stars in the local paper had said I needed some “me time”, and I think I did. Janice decided she couldn’t cope with me anymore, I told her I wasn’t leaving her. There was a stand-off before we decided that we (or should I say Janice decided we needed a break). We went our own way for the day, but promptly ran into each other at the next tourist site. After the 30 minute break from each other we we right to keep traveling together, so we once again set off exploring Georgetown together. We can fight, but usually the arguments don’t last for long.
 
Unfortunately we didn’t spend as much time as we wanted in Georgetown because Janice was suffering from the heat, and we had to return to the hotel. (The sun only has to smile at Janice and she gets heat stroke.) Coming back to the hotel wasn’t too bad though, because it made Penang the most relaxing part of our trip.  
 
Our afternoons would be spent by the pool, then we would have dinner, explore a bit and the place we were staying had a pool table, so we would have a couple of games of that before heading to bed.  Penang is definitely a lot more touristy than Kuching.  There are night markets in the beach resort area, that are just full of junk – cheap watches, clothes, bags, sunglasses, etc.  I’ve never seen so much junk in my life, but the tourists must buy it when there are so many stalls everywhere.  I was ready to belt the next bloke who tried to sell me boxer shorts for my husband/boyfriend.
 
It was also fascinating to “people watch” in Penang. There were the ocker Aussie tourists, the Aussie families, Europeans, and also lots of Muslims, with the women wearing the full covering.  These Muslim must be from a foreign country, because the Malaysian female population we’ve seen so far doesn’t completely cover-up.  
 
It’s  easy to forget that we are traveling around a Muslim country.  The main reminders are the arrows in the ceilings of our hotel rooms, telling us which way Mecca is, and also the no pork.  Janice is missing bacon.  She tried something looking like bacon this morning, but it ended up being chicken bacon, which she said was just wrong.  Our hotel here in Penang is near a mosque and it’s absolutely beautiful hearing the call to prayer.
 
Funny self reflections:
 
– I must be the funniest public sleeper ever. I am always falling asleep on the plane with my head on my chest. (I’m not sure if that’s worst than the little snort that Janice gives when she wakes up on the plane. Perhaps they are equally embarrassing.)
 
– I’ve put on back fat while on this holiday. Janice confirmed this for me when she kept poking my new back boob. (Leanne, ready for a fitness kick when I return?) Janice has had me working hard at weights over here. I was so sore from this mornings work-out that I couldn’t get my hands behind my back to undo my sports bra. Embarrassingly I had to ask Janice for assistance.
 
Before I travel to Asia I really must reacquaint myself with the squat. It’s been a while since I’ve had to use a squat toilet, and it’s fair to say I was a bit rusty. Picture this… We had just got off the plane from KL in Penang.  Janice and I were both busting. Usually there are western toilets with a few squat cubicles thrown in. The only choice we had this particular time, was the squat, so in we charged.  Now I was a little bit worried about getting my jeans wet, so I took precautions and rolled them up a little. Good news, my jeans stayed dry, but boy did I get the angle and aiming wrong, and instead of weeing in the hole I somehow managed to get my shoes – and they were my cute little red shoes…  How you ask?  Buggered if I know.  Janice knew something was amiss by the giggling from my cubicle. I managed to poise midstream (let’s face it, not always possible in our older age) and repositioned for another try. I still missed the bloody hole, and got the tiles and my shoes.  I tried again to reposition, by this time I was getting to hysterical giggle stage. In the end I just had to accept that my pretty red shoes were going to be covered in wee.  Sorry I know all of that’s probably too much information, but hey, what’s a series of travel emails without a toilet story?
 
We’ve now made our way to KL. My next update will involve political rallies and bows and arrows.
 
Until then, lots of love
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