Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Penang again!

Pussy cats in a gutter!

I’m writing on our last afternoon, we’ve been here a while – what’s not to like? Big room, A/C, good shower, TV and free DVD’s to borrow (all original, no knock offs obviously!) There is even a cat burglar that sneaks in the window next to our room – we’ve never seen it but the pawprints both in and out today wiped off the wall on a regular basis bear witness! All for 88 Ringetts (£16.60) Oh yes, and the food outside is very very good!

A bowl of chickens feet and some other prawny stuff
So, to start with the food again – we’ve done it, we had chickens feet as one of our dim sims at breakfast the other morning! They were ok, lots of bones, not much taste really except for the spicy ‘spare rib’ sauce (shame they weren’t spare ribs really!) I just felt a bit funny when I felt the little pad, of what would be its palm and thought of all the scratching about it must have done! So all in all, not too bad, but probably wouldn’t bother again! On the whole Dim sim (or sum?) for breakfast has suited me, B quite likes it but is complaining of my usual problem, so we spent today looking for fruit and roughage! 

Mmm, tasty!
The making of the dim sim 'shells'

Throwing in the filling, wrapping and chopping. All very quick, but all very nice
Penang Laksa. Spicy and really good!
We went to the nightmarket again last night and had a much better (all be it much more expensive) experience than last time. We stood our ground and only ordered the one item from each stall, sadly the stalls I really wanted (satay and soft shell crab) were both shut, oh well, B just had to suffer the messiness of a ‘normal’ crab instead, but both it and the huge garlic prawns were fabulous. We even had two beers, back to normal Thai dining, but not at Thai prices! Most expensive Malaysian meal to date, fresh crab (so fresh it was still walking so B had to look away) big prawns, prawn fried rice, yam icecream (it was purple, so had to be tried and was very nice) and 2 beers – still under £15.

Georgetown wall art. There's loads of this all round the town. You can pick up a leaflet with map and follow it round the town. There's 52 to find, including some wrought iron free standing one's
Skippy the cat with rat hiding round the corner

The motorbike's real, the rider a drawing
The bike is real, the riders are drawings

The modern funicular car (2011) on a 1923 line
We’d had a busy day, after our previous chilled day, we’d headed for Penang Hill which at 833m above sea level was actually a bit cooler. Fortunately there is a funicular railway – the longest in Asia and the steepest tunnel track in the world! We looked at the Mosque and Hindu temple right at the top, next to each other, shame there wasn’t a church really, walked to the viewing platform, said hi to a family of monkeys showing off their athletic prowess in the trees, before going to the café to cool off. My passionfruit juice was lovely, B’s hogplum with a sour plum in was very green, and very horrible! 

Ice Kacang
Having had one disaster he seemed determined to have another as we sampled ice kacang. A big bowl of shaved ice, flavoured and sweetened with palm sugar syrup and rose syrup with a blob of icecream on the top. Sounds ok so far, it was surrounded with jelly, palm fruit and nuts (still ok) and sweetcorn and sweetened red bean (that’s the odd bit obviously!) I’d probably have another one, I just have difficulty with red bean as a sweet!

The Hindu temple on the summit
A very English house. The British built them up here as it's a cooler climate
This was all to fortify us as he’d decided we were walking the 5km (or 8 according to our book) down, back to the botanical gardens. It started off marginally cooler (8 degrees he’ll tell you,) but still warm and got warmer and warmer, and boy, was it steep? 

My knees were screaming by the time we got to the bottom and my hips are still feeling decidedly odd today! Fortunately for him we did see two giant black squirrels – must have been 2’ nose to tail though with very slimming brown stripes down their cheeks and upper bodies. The first one was very cute until the second one appeared and wouldn’t leave it alone, when lots of strange noises occurred and they chased off.

I thought we were mad, until we got to the halfway point, where there used to be a café, half of it has now fallen over the edge, when we met a very chatty Ex-pat (74 he is you know? You wouldn’t actually he looked very good on it). He hadn’t planned on going up, just found himself on the path, but lots of people seem to, there was then a steady trickle of people walking up. They really were mad! Our man obviously thought so too really and having had a quick drink at the half way mark came back down, he caught us up talking to more monkeys, after which I had great difficulty keeping up with him. Did I mention, my knees were screaming?

The great architecture of Georgetown, a UNESCO heritage town
Saw the bus pulling off as we hit the carpark, so decided on half an hour in the botanical gardens which were very pleasant and probably deserved more time. But not then!

Pinang Peranakan (Baba Nonyan) Mansion
Today I feel a little like I’m on another planet, cracking headache last night, and vague today, B’s got the headache now, so really I’m not sure we are suited to this climate! We went over to Butterworth to try to buy our bus ticket for tomorrow, “no, come back tomorrow!” So returned to Georgetown and had a very enjoyable visit to the Baba Nonya, Straits Chinese Mansion. Absolutely amazing, very opulent and ornate, and some of the jewellery, wow.

Beaded slippers in the museum. Made by upper-class ladies to prove their skill and status

We could always go back to the Kapitan Indian again. The tandoori chicken on garlic nan bread was great!

All we have left is to decide where to eat tonight!


  1. The food is not for me! How can you suck on a chicken's foot for crying out loud!!! I think I would be very, very thin if I came out fact, I'm packing now!!! ;-) xxx

  2. You'd love it, 9% of the population is Indian and there are many completely vegetarian Indian restaurants! And lots of Muslims so they tell you whether a place is Halal or not, so no hidden surprise pork in your prawn dish here! xx