We decided to go on another adventure to the beautiful Island of Penang. Much like Melaka, Penang had a strong colonial feel to it, due to its history of being a key fishing port. Our coach journey there was advertised as four hours, but that was bollocks because it was six hours until we arrived. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the coach had not prioritised a prayer room in the back on the bus over a toilet. It seemed they facilitated the path to a better place (heaven, namely) rather well, but you would have wet your pants by the time you got there. We met a lovely couple, Michael (powerful name) and Joanna. Michael (powerful name) was a scientist, so to fit in we used words like ‘osmosis’, ‘bunsen burner’ and ‘periodic table’, and Joanna was a teacher, so we used words like ‘teach’. We were a hit. Our first wander around Penang led us to the big Protestant cemetery where we saw Sir Francis Light’s grave. This was the man who ‘discovered’ Penang (which is basically code for the first white man who wrote down that he discovered Penang).
The huge Protestant church
Old colonial building
Puds in the colonial cemetary
We found Francis Light’s grave!
The next day we took on a walking tour and discovered a few facts:
A successful Malaysian entrepreneur wanted to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, and did so by building a clock tower in her honour. It is 60ft high, each foot representing each year of Queen Vic’s reign. They also built it from six sections, each section representing a decade of her reign.
The city is named after the fruit Penung. The English thought the fruit was pronounced Penang but the locals were too scared to correct them because the English were essentially their bosses. Due to the English striking fear into the locals and ignorantly mispronouncing stuff, the Island is now known as Penang. Bloody English ignorance.
Sir Francis Light, the ‘founder’ of Penang, has had a statue erected of himself in the fort. However, there was never any photographic evidence of Francis, so they used a picture of his son instead. So, technically, there’s a statue of Francis Light’s son in the fort, for no reason whatsoever.
Penang has the first Church of England in South East Asia.
Queen Victoria’s jubilee clock tower
Ednora digging into some ice lolly thing
Look at that, lost in her own world. She bloody loved it.
We decided to take on Penang Hill. This hill had a cable car taking you up to the top, which offered stunning views and a great chance to see some wildlife. We didn’t take the cable car because we thought we were cool, so walked up instead. It was a pretty intense hike all uphill, but great when we got to the top. We decided to walk back down too due to the cable car being extortionately priced. However, we were against the clock. It was getting dark and we had a hill to descend. We legged it down to the bottom, and managed to just about avoid darkness, which would have been very dangerous, due to the vampires.
Armed with her Gandalf stick, Ednora is ready for Penang Hill
A village half way up
Absolute ant action
Penang bridge – the longest in South East Asia
At the summit we saw monkeys.
One monkey playing with another monkey’s bum hole.
At the summit there are directions for London, which is helpful.
We made it!
The following day we checked out Chew Jetty, the largest waterfront settlement in Penang, where people live in houses on the water. We visited the museum where we read about Lotus Feet. Women would wear shoes three inches in size, training their feet to be crushed into these tiny spaces. These dainty shoes were meant to be a sign of beauty. I’m not so sure how beautiful their feet looked though…
The Chew Jetty
We went for lunch at the oldest restaurant in Penang – an Indian joint. It was an ancient building, but had good food, cheap as well. To bring ourselves back up to date, we checked into a party hostel. We had never stayed in one of these before, but when I saw the sky beds (it took a long ladder to get to the top bunk), I was sold. We headed over to Mulu National Park and ended up at Monkey Beach, where there were no monkeys. Back at the hostel it was time to party! It was all you could drink for five pounds which meant only one thing, Ednora was gonna get smashed. At 4am we were outside the hostel, nursing Ednora’s vomiting. I held cups of water for her as she worked on her recovery. We were were both sitting on the floor looking like absolute shit, but one local guy thought we were up for a bit more clubbing. He came up on his motorbike and asked if we wanted to go to a bar. It was clear to see he wasn’t the best at reading situations. The next day we got back on the prayer bus for Kuala Lumpur.
A monkey immersing itself with our contribution to the world.
A monkey reading the newspaper near human junk.
Penang street art