After a 30 minute flight from Langkawi we landed in Penang. Taxi’s are a little different over here as you pay before the journey begins (less chance of runaway passengers) then you are whisked off to your choice of destination. Ours = Yeng Keng Hotel. Vikki with her trusty Lonely Planet guide in hand and myself battling with my technology managed to meander through the serpentine streets at F1 speed. With a quick u-turn in the middle of the main road and bell boy or two we jumped out at the curb and made it safely to the reception area.
Feeling rather hot and steamy we were kindly refreshed with a glass of iced apple juice and shown to our room on the ground floor (very happy!). After being instructed how to use all of the ‘mod’ cons sans vagina tap (!) we were left to unwind. Although the hotel is situated on a main road in the middle of town there was still space for a small pool and the room felt slightly sound proofed from the outside world. That is of course not accounting for the nearby mosque at prayer time. Slightly unpacked and comfortable we went out to the outside garden/lounge area for a cigarette and some much-needed beer. Tiger in hand and the hotel chef eagerly gesticulating to his staff whilst flames roared and scents of authentic Malay food filled the air.
With our stomachs growling we wanted some dinner. After many emails were sent and received we got into contact with the lovely Alison from Bon Ton and she was down the road at China House. China House is not just a restaurant, it is a coffee shop, bar, restaurant and general hang out area with a small library of books at the back for you to peruse at your leisure. The staff are friendly and attentive and give you a massive sheet of paper and oil pastels to doodle whilst you wait for drinks and food. Cocktails arrived and boy were they strong my food arrived shortly after and it went down a treat and the mash potato was out of this world!
Alison came to sit with us with all intentions of a quick chat however we managed to kidnap her for the rest of the night and what a night it was. General chit-chat and stories that go way back were told including some that bought a few tears to each eye. After dinner was done and the last drop of wine had been poured we decided on our next move.
Two more bars (one more of a street pub!) and lots more drinks and we were sufficiently sizzled and ready for bed. Alison bid us farewell and we hot-foot it back to the lovely Yeng Keng. As it was quite late we had to wake up the security guard but once the gate opened we were in for the night!
With a wicked bad hangover we stumbled into the cafe for breakfast (just in time!). Feeling rather haggard we managed to get our laundry together and take it down the road and for less than a fiver we got around 13kg done for the next day. BARGAIN! As we were still not the full ticket but on a time limit we went ahead with the walking tour of Georgetown and found ourselves at Old Town White Coffee – Vikki decided on a Wheatgrass concoction that tasted like old feet whereas I went for the sweeter option of Spirulina and Orange Juice (Great choice!). Drinks in hand and we headed to the much talked about Fort Cornwallis.
What a disappointment!
If you are in Georgetown I honestly would say save your legs and don’t bother going as it was quite boring and basic. Unless of course you are a history buff or have a key to a hidden gate where it becomes magical. The upside of going this side of town was however that we managed to get to experience a Tri-shaw after some street food and Vikki’s broken flip-flop. Otherwise known as the Tri-shaw of death with a bit of rain and the power of our driver we made it to the central shopping centre in one piece after weaving in and out of cars, bikes, trucks and many other dangerous vehicles.
With a small amount of money and hungry bellies we got Vik some new footwear and got back to our digs in sufficient time to shower and go in search for food and beverages. A short walk from the hotel we found a delightful little place called Mike’s, situated on Love Lane this garage come eatery served up so delicious authentic and western food and the most delicious dessert we had tasted yet.
Eric – the owner went from table to table finding out where his guests were from and telling them stories that filled the time between courses. Eric advised us on things to do at our next stop Ipoh and what cuisines we should try out. With a bit of love and all the information we needed we headed off into the night in search of a bar.
Which brings me to Alex and his lovely wife June.
B@92 (Belgrade 92 – and Alex was there!) was a bar filled with laughter and music selected by our very own owner/dj/bartender/stand up comedian. Alex has a sense of humour as dry as Gandhi’s flip flop with a darkness of the pitch black night. If you cannot give as good as you get and take things with a pinch of salt you may be offended. There was a couple at the bar who we were informed that the lady could play the sax, Alex went on to inform us that playing the sax and smoking is like being kissed by crocodiles!
With a voice like Gru from Despicable Me and a belly to match Alex was just delightful. According to him i have a positive energy and Vik likes attention because she twiddled her hair. The man does not mince his words and if you don’t like it then you need to leave. Another positive thing about this bar was that we met a lovely man called Siva, originally from Melaka but travelling around with his job he gave us some invaluable advice about various destinations and his email address so we could remain in contact.
After that we were done for the night and headed back to base. With not much else done or said we left Georgetown for Ipoh.
Thank you Georgetown we miss you and will hopefully see you again one day soon.
PHOTOS WILL BE ADDED AT A LATER DATE