Why, thank you oh so much for clicking 'read more', or whatever you clicked. As promised, here's the reason we undertook a grueling 350km long journey on a weekend which we could have spent wasting away in bed: a month or so ago, a few friends and I popped over to Genting Highlands to waste a weekend. Two of them were from Penang, so we decided that the next time, we'd make the journey to them instead, to save them the trouble (never mind that Genting is out of town for the rest of us).
Well that was rather short. We decided (largely a unilateral decision by me, actually) to make the journey by overnight sleeper train, because (a) we would have a bed to sleep on on the way there, (b) we would wake up in Penang, (c) I'd much rather lie down on a bed in a shaky train, (d) I don't trust bus drivers enough to fall asleep at night on a bus while they drive over a cliff, and (e) the other two chaps who'd be making the journey with me had never traveled over land by train before, and thought it would be interesting.
Well actually they pretty much went with what I said. There was some unexpected trouble- one was sick and had trouble sleeping throughout because of it (the shaking and multiple stops didn't help), and the other decided to use my phone to watch anime- all the way there, which gave me a shock when I woke up to reclaim it from him, and discovered that not only had either of them slept much despite having a long day ahead of us, but that my phone had a little red warning triangle on it, and it's battery was down to a miserable 10%. For the record, the show he watched was the ridiculous Level E.
We were probably the last to get off the train, when the conductor came around to poke at us saying that we'd reached our last stop, Butterworth. We didn't hear any announcement saying so, but I figured that that was the case since everyone else had gotten off and the train was dead quiet- a fact I ignored recognizing, being somewhat too groggy to bother.
We ported ourselves to Penang island via a short trip by ferry, during which we spotted a rather large number of jellyfish, doing what jellyfish do best- float around like dead plastic bags, waiting for something to kill. Horrible little creatures. Hard to believe that these things are actually edible.
Skip forward a few hours- I was faced with a worrying sight: both guys were glued to their beds, and one was snoring heavily. We had two full days ahead of us, and the trip looked like it was in trouble from the very beginning. Not that I should have had much reason to worry, of course, what with my own master plan for the whole trip being 'get there, walk around, eat, look, do things, sleep, get home', which probably had the snorer feeling rather tense. To their credit they fought off their drowsiness and sickness to get out of bed to meet the girls when they arrived.
First order of the day- to find food. Our self-appointed driver/guide for the trip (much obliged) took us to our first stop: Harvest In Cafe, a little restaurant in an old building on Irrawaddy Road. The snorer couldn't eat much no thanks to a little case of stomachal suicide (stomachal seems to be a real word, but frustratingly rare).
...well what about lobster? Oh shut up.
It was packed and we couldn't get a table, though, so we headed to the cluster of stalls opposite and had some dessert instead. That's cendol in the photo above. Tasted a lot like cendol elsewhere, only less diluted than the diluted crap they sell at Ramadan markets, and with more goodies. I didn't have the ABC (basically shaved ice), but the Penangites say that it tastes different from ABC elsewhere, with a distinct sarsi (sarsaparilla) flavour to it.
Yes, I'm saying this (again) despite the fact that I was already jokingly accused of flirting with her- a dangerous thing to do, mind you, since I'm apt to start imagining possible outcomes and scenarios almost immediately. In excruciating detail. It's like giving a vampire the keys to a blood bank. Oh well. No harm done. No need to apologize either, driver-cum-accuser! Food for thought. -slaps myself-
On a side note, the strawberry syrup makes that ice cream look like it is a crying face...
After that- a movie. Ice Age 4: Continental Drift. Not the sort of movie I'd choose to watch if I were by myself, but since I'm notoriously picky, if the choice of what film we were to watch was left to me, we'd have ended up- oh, I don't know, playing monopoly instead. Anything but watch a movie. In any case, the show was alright, thanks to the absolutely ridiculous geology involved. Don't even think about debating it with me because I'll end up choking instead of saying anything meaningful.
The girls arrived around eleven, minus one, which meant more space for us at the back.Missing person, for what it's worth, you were missed! ...looks like it's my job to invite scandalous comments this time, but oh well. That's the risk of being a writer (now in pretentious mode, ignore if possible).
After that, another movie to please the other bored person I forgot to mention- Mr. Sucked Your Phone's Battery Dry While You Were Sleeping. We watched Total Recall- slightly more interesting for me compared to last night's Ice Age, but still nowhere near as good as the original. Not too bad, though.
The girls sent us back to our hotel and that was the last we saw of them. We left Penang the next morning by bus, me with a grumbling stomach, which I tortured further still with a plate of the spiciest Nando's chicken available.
All in all, a trip well done. Most of our (my) outlined objectives were completed: Invade Penang (done). Harass the dental students (done). Eat (done). Sleep (somehow, done). Act like asses (OH YEAH). Perhaps give Selangorians a bad name (they thought we were foreigners, so, fail) so that Lim Guan Eng would declare Penang to be an independent state and invade the rest of Malaysia... remains to be seen. But we can't be too greedy, can we?
P.s. In case you haven't noticed by now, most of the faces here are censored for their privacy, since they're all probably really shy folks, and would rather not be stalked by a bunch of Russians (I say Russian stalkers since the majority of my traffic comes from Russia- and it's all silent. Hello there, tovarisch!). Names have not been mentioned either- you can't believe how hard that was. Now to get back to work on the Turkey travelogues...