Pulau Pinang: Day 1
24 July 2009
I was able to sleep earlier than I thought, we arrived at the airport at half past 8 (too lazy to take the MRT and we ended up paying 21 SGD for a cab) and immediately after clearing past immigration, I grabbed a seat in the waiting area and fell asleep. I woke up at around 10:05 and saw that it was already final call for the Penang bound plane. Off we went, running and running until we reached our boarding gate. It resulted into further exhaustion – once again after the plane was in the air, I was in slumber land.
I woke up only during touchdown but still very exhausted I took the opportunity to get more snooze for a few more minutes as the plane was taxiing itself.
Finally, we got out… First thing I noticed about the airport was that it had a distinct characteristic, something familiar yet at the same time strange. Anyway, it took sometime to clear past both health declaration check (to safeguard against H1N1) and immigration – 20 minutes at the very least for both.
After getting our passports stamped, we immediately proceed to buy taxi coupon (38 MYR) to take us to our guesthouse in Georgetown. Again, I slept throughout the ride to town, which took probably another 30 minutes. We were inside our room at about 1:30 in the afternoon. Still too tired, we decided to catch a nap and wake up just in time to have lunch and take the guided tour inside Cheong Fatt Tse Mansion scheduled at 3 PM.
Alas, we woke up at around 10 minutes before 3 and we decided to take the guided tour on another day. We began our hunt for a good place to eat. There were a lot of places to eat but somehow, we held back because we found it either as not to our liking or it wasn’t too hygienic. It wasn’t long though before we got a decent place to eat Hokkien Mee paired with an ice cold Coke on a very hot afternoon. Food was good, really good!! Not to mention it was really cheap (total 9 MYR for 2 noodles and 2 coke).
We immediately resumed walking afterwards; it really helped that Georgetown has lots of marker that would identify and describe the various worthwhile sites around the area. I guess this was as a result of having been granted a UNESCO World Heritage Site status sometime last year.
It was really a very hot and humid day that we decided to stop for a few minutes in The Chocolate Boutique just to look around and enjoy a rest with an air-conditioned facility. It turned out to be a one-hour long pit stop as they conducted a chocolate sampling tour for us. Dubbed as Penang’s latest offering – “The Chocolate Boutique” offered more than 90 different types of high quality chocolate from Beryl’s. The place is divided into various rooms with different theme, which included fruits, tiramisu, health, sweetheart, coffee, panned chocolate and the Malaysian collection. Inside were also noteworthy facts about the history of the evolution of chocolate.
As the products were very good (and not so expensive) – my girlfriend took the opportunity as well to hoard up on some of the products to be given away to family, friends and ex-colleague when she goes for a visit to the Philippines next weekend.
Finally, after being poorer by several hundred MYR, we continued our stroll. The stuffs we bought were a bit heavy, so we decided to go back to our guesthouse and leave the bags. We managed to steal another hour of rest and woke up at around 730 PM which surprisingly still had ample sunlight left.
We worked our way from down from Lebuh Chulia and eventually found our way to Edelweiss Cafe in Armenia Street. The cafe is very cozy and is set in a beautiful Chinese shop house built in the 1800′s. Accordingly, this cafe is a favorite hangout place for local artists and conservationist. Food was a bit expensive but it was I guess worth it considering you are paying for the ambiance and the fact that the food itself was good.
We were already tired after dinner so we decided to retreat back to our guesthouse – we passed by several beautiful attractions along the way including Khoo Kongsi and the Yap Kongsi Temple. It would have been great to wander around for a few more hours but we barely had enough energy, I guess it would be more rational to rest well tonight and save up our energy for a full day tomorrow.
I immediately treated myself to a hot shower and not long afterwards I was in slumber land again…