Greetings from Penang!
Rainy Vacation Days Mean Group Emails!
I’m on the island of Penang, in a small resort town called Batu Ferringhi. We are staying at the Park Royal hotel, which is a nice hotel. It is raining cats and dogs outside on the “beach and swimming pool” part of our vacation. My daughters do not seem to mind, considering they are enjoying the sunny confines of Minecraft over on the bed beside me.
I guess I should have done more research when it came to Malaysian weather. I thought everywhere in Southeast Asia was sunny at this time of the year. Obviously not. We are four days into our Malaysian jaunt and it seems that it has rained every day. It deters us not.
We arrived in Kuala Lumpur last Friday. I had never been to Kuala Lumpur, so I was completely surprised at how “modern” it is. Our initial thought was to take this vacation so that we could experience something “first-world”, considering that we live in Bangladesh, but it took about thirty minutes in the busiest mall that I’ve ever seen for me to realize that I don’t need to be hanging out in malls for the entirety of our vacation.
Still, an adventure was to be had. We stayed with some friends for the first part of the vacation, then we were off to Penang (where we are now). However, being hard-headed and ignoring the sage advice of my wife, I decided that we must take “The Train” to Penang, which meant that we were in a second class sleeper car on an overnight journey.
We boarded the train at 10 PM on Sunday night, got our individual bunks, then we were off. A Malaysian man in the bunk across the car from me insisted on playing a video game on his phone with the sound turned up for about an hour and an Indian man below him spent a good thirty minutes horking up the largest ball of phlegm in history, but after they settled themselves, I managed to fall asleep. Tracey was out well before I was and the girls had to be forced to sleep.
Then, I was up at 4 AM, paranoid that we would miss our station at 5:30. We did not. A bleary Ramsey/Girdner family emerged from the train and walked over to catch the ferry to Penang. Joining the tired, early-morning masses, we made the short boat-ride across the water before the sun came up, then emerged onto the island, waiting to go to the hotel.
A very helpful Malaysian woman saw us looking around, absolutely confused about what to do next. Our eyes were on the taxis, but she quickly poo-pooed that idea. “You don’t want to take a taxi,” she said. “They charge you double. Take the bus with us.” She was right. It cost us approximately $1 for all of us to take the bus. Unfortunately, that bus ride was forty-minutes of standing on the curviest roads in Malaysia. The girls were barely staying awake and Tracey watched our luggage fly across the bus on one particularly tight curve. Plus, there was the fact that I didn’t know where, exactly, the hotel was, so I was constantly on the lookout for where we were going.
We arrived at the hotel at 7 AM. Check in was at 1 PM. We had a bit of time to kill, so we slept on the folding chairs by the pool and tried to keep ourselves occupied.
Eventually, we checked in and got settled into our rooms. We awoke the next morning to rain, which did not deter Abbey and I, who sat at the pool most of the morning. We built sandcastles in the rain. We ate Indian food. All is well.
Next, we are headed to the other side of Penang, to a place called Georgetown. There, we will stay at the world famous Eastern & Oriental Hotel, which is supposedly legendary (and not-supposedly very expensive). From there, we take another train to Singapore! Good times!
I think there are some intellectual property issues with this shirt.
And for now, I shall sign-off! More soon!