Previous post: Sabang, Pulau Weh
Sunday February 25th, 2018
Today was interesting. Our Garuda flight was supposed to depart at 12:05. At noon they cancelled it. Fun. Sue went to get the bags and I made a run for customer service. I still ended up behind a group of about 16 people. I figured they’d end up getting the last seats on the 1:30 pm Wings flight but I lucked out. They just got their money back. Bonus! People were talking about taking the ferry across to a small airport….etc. We had a flight from Medan to Penang at 4:15 pm so that wouldn’t work for us. Since it was booked separately, wasn’t a connecting flight, we’d lose it if we didn’t show. While waiting I was searching for alternative flights.
My turn came and I handed the fellow my information on the flight from Medan.
“Oh!” he said “I will check with my manager!” Off he went.
Upon return he purchased tickets for us on the Wings flight now supposedly departing at 2 pm and told me he’d contacted Medan and told them our situation. Nice! They also passed out cookies and water. That was lunch 😉
When that flight was also delayed…again and again, we pretty much assumed we were going to miss the Penang flight. Just as we were about to board at 3:30 (one hour flight) the young man found me and said
“I talked to Medan. Your flight is delayed 80 minutes. You can still make it”
Wow! It was still going to be tight. Upon landing our luggage was the first on the belt. That never happens! Then we raced to customs; no line up! Next we found the Wings counter as we still needed boarding passes. She had them printed and when we asked about our bags she said to take them on the plane. Wow. We breezed through security even without finding the liquids buried in our suitcases and speed walked to the gate. While going through that securtiy a man approached me and said
“Jodi?” That’s a little disconcerting in an airport where you know no one.
I said “yes?’
He said “Sabang?”
I replied “yes, I came from Sabang”.
He grinned, held up boarding passes and said “Penang. Boarding NOW.” Wow again. That flight cost us $40 each. I haven’t had such service for MUCH more expensive flights.
At this point Sue got flagged for her tiny pair of very dull first aid scissors. Oh well. We were last in line and the very back of the plane but we made it.
The taxi to Georgetown was twice the price we were told. Figures. We should just expect that now. We tried several drivers and it was all the same. By the time we checked in to the Just Inn, we were starving. It was 9:30 pm. A nice young man in the hostel told us where to eat and we tried to find it but they were celebrating Chinese New Year (a two week event) and the streets were packed. We ended up just eating cendal, an icy treat with beans, corn, and sweetened ice amongst other things. It was good, better than the halo halo we’d had in the Philippines.
Breakfast was a chore. We headed for little India and finally found the restaurant we looked for the night before. They weren’t serving food yet so we walked on. One place looked promising and a woman called us in to sit down. We ordered coffee and food. The coffee came. The man came back and mentioned the food again. Yes, I want fried rice. Yes, Sue wants the soup. We finished our coffees and waited. After about a half hour we gave up, paid for our coffee and left. The next place we actually got food. I tried a roti with chocolate and egg. Sounds weird but it actually tasted really good. Either that or I was just starving by then.
We wandered down to the water, found the Chew markets and various street art. That’s not as easy as you might think as we walked right by several of them before realizing what they are.
By noon it was stinking hot so we stopped for coconut ice cream, then headed back to the hostel for a rest.
Tuesday. After breakfast of thosia and mango juice we took our time finding the bus to Penang hill and on the way found more street art. It’s like a treasure hunt finding the paintings. A taxi driver approached us as we neared the bus stop and offered to take us there half price. After some finagling, she convinced us. It was worth the $5 (less than $2 for the two of us on the bus) as Suzie was incredibly entertaining. She pointed out interesting things and, wow, could the woman talk.
“On your left you’ll see the temple. No, you can’t see it now. Wait until the bridge. Oh that lady drives like a chicken! Lah! In November it was flooded up to your waist. Parts of it sank. I didn’t drive my taxi that day. Too much water. On our right is the prison. It was pink. They’re painting it brown. Look how tall that lady is! 7 inmates escaped and they were murderers. The police shot them in front of their wives. They won’t escape again. Oh that lady really can’t drive. Look at that! Lah! I had a woman in my taxi who came from Medan to have an abortion. Bad. Throwing away babies. Look there is Penang Hill!……. etc” Yep, she was VERY entertaining and told us exactly how to take the bus back,and thanked us for letting her take us.
We rode the funicular up Penang hill and spent the next few hours checking out many of the hiking trails. We managed to see one of their huge squirrels and several dusky leaf monkeys. By early afternoon we were hot tired and ready for lunch so enjoyed a Nasi Goreng in the cafe. After wandering a bit more we decided we’d had enough and took the funicular back down. We ended up in the front and the train was packed. The giant cracks in the windshield didn’t make me feel any better about the overpacked train going straight down hill so I looked out the side window and thought happy thoughts.
On the way back from the bus stop we found some more street art and visited different parts of the city We stopped in the mall to cool down and get a McDonald’s ice cream cone. They still do chocolate dipped here. My favourite and only 2 MR (about 70 cents)
By that time it was nearing 7 pm and we were pooped. A convenience store dinner of nuts and beer was just what we needed. Back at the hostel a cold shower was much appreciated. We’re just not into night life.