The first day in Penang we thought we would try and take it easy by doing some things close to our digs – just a few steps from our doorstep! The first two things that sprung to mind were a visit to a huge temple (Kek Lok Si Temple) that we had seen on our taxi ride to Air Hitam and the other was something I had seen on the net previously – the Funicular train. The train that puts the ‘fun’ back into rail travel – at least this was how I sold it to Liz! We also decided that if we were not too tired that we would take a run back into Georgetown on the night.
Kek Lok Si temple is quite a sight as it seems to tower over everything it surveys and at this time it was even more impressive as it was being trimmed up for the Chinese New Year. The whole placed was adorned with Chinese lanterns in readiness for the celebrations. In the main prayer room people were getting in some last minute super-praying so they would be granted all that they required/deserved over the next twelve months and this spirit was catching. First Me and Liz looked up our ‘signs’ and it turns out she is a Pig/Boar and I am a Snake – well there you have it(?) –
so we later bought the appropriate necklace each, then to ensure our continued ‘enlightening’ we put our wish on the Wishing tree – good eh! The whole place was on a grand scale but then had beggars on the stairs as an accompaniment! Be warned this is a serious religious building therefore you will find yourself walking round speaking in hushed tones and trying to look as if you can actually understand all the squiggles and squirls laid out in front of you as language. However, it was all to no avail I came out quite as unenlightened as I went in but it was still quite impressive even on a day that was becoming quite a toaster!
After the temple we stopped of at a cafe with a London Underground logo as its sign – it must be good quality food and fortunately for us, it wasn’t half bad. Next thing I must point out is that I would like those awfully clever chaps at Google to stop messing about with the maps they have and create a new one. The same as the present map except instead of having the choice of Public transport / Car / Bike and Walking – I would like a bit more emphasis on this last category. I want not-quite-so-fit people on an unbearably hot day directions and accompanying times, perhaps a few different weights of people walking too and the map changes distance in according to the time, the scale being an acknowledgement of how fit you are in the given weather conditions – so fit people would have little tiny maps – fat or unfit people huge maps – and those of us who are not so fit but walking in unbearable conditions mights have a map that more accurately gives the impression of the distance between two points. It looked two inches but felt closer to a good 6 miles – Google I want my new map and I want it now – it will stop me walking silly distances just because it looks closer than my body will allow it to be!
Okay rant over, we finally reached the Funicular Railway a good few days after we started – at least it felt that way. The train took the hill climbing strain and soon enough we were at the top admiring the wonderful views all the way over to mainland Malaysia.
There was also a Hindu temple which we popped in so we could say we had truly OD’d on temples. Hindu temples are great for imagery but not so good for laughing Buddhas – therefore thus far temple to temple it is probably a 1-1 draw.
There was also a bird garden that was crap – more garden, less birds! After we had done everything at the top of Penang Hill it was back down via the railway and off home which was quite a long old haul.
For the night wed decided to venture forth using public transport – the day had taught us some harsh lessons! This was not quite as simple as it at first seemed still after a couple of goes we had the hang of it – however, this was attempt number one! Getting on was not a problem, getting off was the problem and we missed our intended target by quite a ways, We had set off with the intention of using the Bus to save our little legs yet here we were walking miles yet again – argh!
This was one of those trips that seemed to last and last especially as we were both hungry but had no idea what we fancied to eat or as yet really had a handle on the price we should be paying.We walked and we walked and we walked until exhausted I saw a restaurant called the Kapitan which seemed to be full with a good mix of people so this is where we stopped. What a goldmine this was, Indian food at its best and very tasty indeed the naan was excellent and so was the Tandoori Chicken – Result! The trip home was far easier than getting there and almost eventless except for the fact that there was a film going on down was of the sidestreets we passed so we stood around to get a glimpse of the actors and the ‘lights, camera and action’ of it all. Needless to say, we did not recognise a single person but I have included a photo just in case any of you foreign movie buffs (of Indonesian films!) spots anyone!