Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Brief Moment in Time - Malaysia Part 3

I am going to write about the final two locations in brief as I am in desperate need to update this blog, and since we are staying at a place that offers free internet service I will do by best to get everyone caught up as Jay and I are actually now in Cambodia!

We arrived to Penang late and with some disappointment as it was much more developed than we were expecting. As we came across the bridge to the island we could see how the night sky was lined with skyscrapers and that the island was a hustle bustle of a place.  I was excited though when the hostel that we got, which was really the only one that had rooms available (only 2 beds again!) but this place was niiiicceee. Hardwood floors, clean bathrooms and showers (not hot water but there was a massive rain shower!!), aircon rooms, free breakfast, and the rooms were nice and we felt fully confident that we did not even have to use our cocoons. Although the place was a little more than we had been paying for, about 30-40 ringets per person per night (about $10-12) I was absolutely ecstatic to be staying here, and to have aircon!!! We laid our stuff down, went for dinner at a nice little Indian restaurant and then called it a early night.

We woke up the next morning just in time to catch the end of breakfast. They had these pancakes in which they topped with nuts and honey then cut into little pieces and rolled them, delicious! We decided to walk around the city for a bit and then hit up Penang Hill which you take a tram to the top and you can see the whole city. Last night Jay started to feel a little ill, but he toughed it up and came along. As we began to walk around I started to like the city more and more. The streets were not as crowded and were wider and it had a better feel to it. We stumbled upon this little store which sold homemade ice cream. Jay and I could not be more elated as we had been craving ice cream and almost even settled for a McDonalds flurry one night just to give in. Jay had some kind of chocolate sweet brown sugar flavor and I had the most delicious flavor I have ever had before. Seriously some of the best ice cream ever. It was margarita flavored but tasted more like key lime and it even had little pieces of lime peel in it. My mouth watered with each bite and I swear that this is what ice cream heaven felt like. On a day as hot as it was the refreshing feel of the ice cream fit perfectly into that moment.

We continued to walk around until we found the bus station to take us to Penang Hill. At this point Jay was not feeling well at all so he opted to go back to the place and rest up while I continued on the journey alone to the site. I took a 15-20 minute bus ride to the destination which was the last stop. I walked about 100 meters to where the tram is, and what do you know, they were renovating and it will not be working until April. Fabulous! On the ride there I noticed a temple on the hill which was close by. I remembered reading about in the guide book, so I guided by self in that direction. This temple though is no ordinary temple. It is up this intense hill in which I probably walked about 600 meters up this tiny walk way which is covered and lined along the sides are every little trinket shop you can imagine. I get to the top and am just utterly amazed. There are several parts to the temple and the view of the city was unbelievable. There were things lined in gold, symbols all around, magnificent colors, and lots of people course. The temple was not the best part though. The best part was what sat up on the hill which you had to take a tram to; a 300ft bronze statue of the goddess of mercy. Words cannot explain how amazing it was and the decorations that surrounded it. I took the tram up and as I took it up I looked around and noticed that I was the tallest person in there lol.

After about 3 hours of walking around and touring the temple I decided to head back. But instead of taking the bus back I thought I would save some money and just walk back. I knew it would be a long walk and that I did not know my way, but I had the energy and I thought it would be fun if I could figure it out on my own. I actually did pretty well for a while, and only took one wrong turn. I finally arrived back a couple hours later. Yep, a couple hours later. That walk back was about 8km, so technically if you minus the 15-20 minutes bus ride I had been walking/standing non-stop for about 8.5 hours. I figured it out and I walked about a total of 12km that day! Unfortunately I chose to wear my Old Navy cheap flip flops that day and paid the price by receiving 2 magnificent blisters which were mixed with the dirt and grim from the city side walks. Yuck! I was perfectly okay with a cold shower that night as much as I sweated walking around for 9 hours.

When I arrived back Jay still was not feeling well. He said he had been in bed all day and his stomach was killing him. He took some more pills and went to bed and I followed soon after as we had an early morning to catch our ferry to our first real island, Langkawi!!

Welcome to Langkawi where the smells are just as bad, the weather isn't as humid, and the water is crystal blue! We got off the ferry only to be welcomed by a KFC, Pizza Hut, and a Kenny Rogers Chicken place, thanks America (not really). We booked a cheap resort for this island, which ended up being perfect for Jay who was still feeling ill. He was cursing Malaysia and their food and smells all the way to the island (we were still in Malaysia though). We get to our resort to find out that it is in the middle of the island. Oh joy, we finally get to a beach island and we are in the middle of the jungle. But after seeing our place it actually was totally worth it. It was quiet and relaxing and away from the hustle and bustle of everything. There was not many people staying there and the staff was extremely friendly. We took it easy the first night and just hung out on the king sized bed and watched TV, played card games, watched TV, and let Jay slowly get better.

The next day we headed out to rent a motor bike. Probably one of the best things we have ever ever done. Everyone in Southeast Asia rides motor bikes. There are more of them then there are cars or anything else. It is a mix between a moped and a motorcycle and they are fuckin awesome! We rented one and Jay drove the whole time. I really didn't want to drive as I thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the back, enjoying the scenery, and letting my mind drift away.

We took that motor bike everywhere. We explored the entire island and checked out some great and not so great beaches. The one thing we did forget about though was sunscreen. Before the day was over my legs and shoulders and Jays legs and arms were completely burnt. I was at least smart enough to put stuff on my face before we left, but other than that we didn't have anything. I was so sun burnt that my legs were not red but purple. I slept horribly that night, and they finally stopped peeling 3 weeks later. Don't worry, we learned our lesson and are feigns for sunscreen now. Because we were so burnt we decided to wait until the sunset to ride back to avoid any more sun. A couple hours before that we landed at the Four Seasons Resort where we fell in love with the view, the hammock, and the cabanna on the beach, and the white sand. We made this little place our beach for the rest of the day and decided to splurge and eat dinner at the resort to watch the sunset.

Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love The Food Network Channel and as much I watch the chefs cook on the shows I have always dreamed of eating food cooked by one of them. That night I felt like I was eating food cooked by a chef on from one of the shows. It was so beautifully done and the appearance was delicately perfect. We ordered wine with our meals, which might have been one of the best glasses of red wine I have ever had, and as we enjoyed our meals as we watched the sunset slowly over the blue waters and palm trees. Everything was totally worth the splurge. The chef even came out to introduce himself. We were eating at an Italian restaurant and the chef was, go figure, from Italy! Before working here he was working in Istanbul and in Madrid. No wonder why the food was was good!

We eventually made our way home to enjoy the painful night's sleep from the sunburn. We awoke the next morning ready to hit the island to explore more parts of it, but sadly we were covered head to toe to protect ourselves from the sun. After another long day driving around, we decided to splurge for one more beautiful sunset dinner and settled on a little less expensive place called the Bon Ton Resort. This place was picture perfect. It felt like a yoga zen place, a place we both agreed was perfect for Jay's mom. After dinner we drove around for a bit to enjoy the last night on the island then headed back to drink some wine we picked up earlier. I passed out kinda early, but we had to get an early start the next day so I didn't feel bad about it. We had to get up early to return the motorbike, which somehow we were able to fit Jay who was wearing his backpack and me in which I was wearing my backpack as well. It basically felt like 4 grown adults on there and I used all my strength not to fall off the back. But nonetheless it was fun and now we are finally off to THAILAND!!!!

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