Trip Report by Paddy September 2003
We go back to Australia tomorrow afternoon after 24 days in our second home. As always, we have had a fantastic time, which would have been topped off nicely by our trip on the ferry this morning to go to LIMA on Langkawi. But all our hopes for a break in the stormy weather came to nothing as we awoke this morning to even wilder weather, and the decision had to be made to cancel the trip and wait till '05. Not that it has spoilt our trip in any way. It was even exciting watching the wild sea crashing over the wall at the E & O but once again our stay here has been marked by the kindness of all, the Manager, staff, chefs & Mailoon for another unforgetable anniversary.
Our second day here, we were privileged to be invited to a Malay wedding of a young man we met on our last trip when he was working at the E & O. The immense amount work involved in the preparations, all shared by the people of the Kampung ensured that the couple and guests had a fantastic time with more food than I have ever seen at a Western wedding(tasted better too)We felt very honoured to be part of the 1200 guests at the wedding of this delightful couple and have the opportunity to get to know the grooms gracious parents better.
All told, we also spent 3 evenings at the Temple of the Nine Emperor Gods in Butterworth, even though we have wittnessed the festival before, it is always amazing watching those brave people having their cheeks pierced by 20ft stainless steel spears and then proceeding on a 9kl walk lined by thousands of encouraging spectators,and interspersed by brightly lit floats. Our assignment was to hand out sweets to the watching children(and some of their parents), its amazing how many sweets are needed, we ran out (7kilo) about half way! We also saw the firewalking on another night, in which our friend took part and if we can work up the courage, we will try next year. Again, everyone made us so welcome and went to great pains to explain all the going's-on.
We had many evenings out with friends, made a valiant attempt at eating ourselves into oblivion, just about wore out our feet on many shopping expeditions, new digital camera, laptop, pressies for the grandkids and friends and of course replacement shoes for those we wore out!
Also visited the new Kwan Yin at Kek Lok Si and tried out the new Elevator which wasn't in operation last time, very impressive and like everything else in Penang, a photographers dream. On one of our spare days we took a bus to Balik Palau and after that bus driver, I think the fire walk would be a breeze, I think he got out of the wrong side of the bed that morning, but it was worth it, had a lovely vegetarian lunch at the far end of the town and bought squeeky shoes for the youngest grand kid. Spent about half an hour talking to a delightful Malaysian family at the bus stop and that was enough to make the trip woth while on its own.
Watched some of the Full Moon concert held beside the the E & O for a while, lots of fun but we are getting too old to stay up till 5am like the local young bloods, we staggered on till about 12.30, but it was nice to see the young ones enjoying themselves. without the Western problems of excessive alchohol and the accompanying problems it produces.
We have started some tentative 'house hunting' in preparation for eventual move to make this our first home, but we think this will be quite a lenghty process between doing that and slow job of organizing our business in Aus. prior to that, but it will be something we will be really looking forward to.
Hope and avoid thinkinthis was not too long, but anything to delay starting to packg about getting on that plane tomorrow arvo! But we hope to be back here in late Jan. for another couple of weeks if we work hard enough in the mean time! Thank you again Penang with a special thanks to Rashid, the best Satay maker in Penang (outside 20 Leith St) and his wife who welcomed us into their home for an afternoon at Bukit Jambal, we will see all soon.