Monday, January 30, 2017

First Day in Penang

Saturday morning we were up very early to catch our flight to Kuala Lumpur. We used Uber to get to the airport. It was easy, reliable and good. We weren't sure if there would be many rides available at 6:00 AM, but we only had to wait about 5 minutes.

At immigration we were stopped because we had a 30-day visa and it was day 31. I miscounted, forgetting that the arrival day was day 1! We could have been slapped with a hefty fine, but the agents conferred and graciously told us we should be more careful in the future. Believe me, we will!

I snapped a few photos as we came in for a landing at KL airport. This one was the best.

We had about two hours between flights. It was a very long walk from the gate where we landed to our departing gate (my phone app said 1.2 miles!). Immigration and security were almost empty and simple to get through as we were transferring. I am used to seeing all manner of odd clothing in airports, but I had to take a picture of this one:  Guilty Parties Paradise; at the bottom it says God Bless You. What?? Is that supposed to be Jesus? Or a saint?

At the Penang airport Dan changed some money and we got a prepaid taxi. We expected about an hour's drive, but it was a good bit more. The traffic was extremely heavy, especially on the main road that runs along the shore on the north side of the island. Since it was Chinese New Year, I guess it wasn't surprising. It has continued to be very heavy, especially in the evening. We think it might ease up a bit after the weekend revelers are gone. The hotel is full and it is big.

We got checked into our room, which is very nice and spacious. We called our friends Reid and June, who had arrived the day before and met up in the lobby to have supper. We went across the street and had some Indian food, OK but not outstanding.

We decided to have breakfast at the hotel -- a very large buffet with a huge variety. I decided to have some eggs and got in the line at that station. I had quite a wait, as the two people in front of me each ordered 3-4 orders for other people. They made omelets or scrambled eggs to order. To the left of this photo, a young woman was making fried eggs. The silver bucket to the back was full of eggs that were already broken and beaten; the omelet-maker could just ladle them out.

We spent the day on lounge chairs on the spacious and shady grounds. We could see the ocean, but it was not recommended to get in, as there are many jellyfish. We did go in the large swimming pool several times. The weather was perfect, warm with a mild breeze blowing off the water.

The small restaurant near the pool would take orders and deliver. I was surprised to see him delivering on a bicycle! The area is quite large so it makes sense, but I can't imagine carrying a tray of drinks with one hand and riding at the same time.

Dan had taken a walk in the morning and saw a restaurant names Beirut Spring nearby, so we thought we would try it. When we got there it was closed, so we backtracked and went to a place that offered Malaysian food, which we wanted to try. We started with lassis (mango for three of us), which came in these small pitchers. They were frozen, like a slushy, and very good.

We had two noodle-based dishes that our waiter recommended, although I don't know the names. This one was a bit like a sweet-sour sauce. Notice they leave the heads on the shrimp as they do in Thailand.

Tom Yam soup is a staple in Thailand. This one came in a coconut. The white cover is actually a piece of coconut, and there were other large pieces in the soup. As it was cooked, it was very soft.

This noodle dish was a bit like Pad Thai. 

And the piece de resistance was a sea bass covered in a spicy red sauce. It was delicious!

As we walked back to the hotel, I got a photo of the front lit up with all the greenery. 

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