Just chilling-out at the Stardust cafe where I’m staying. The guy at the counter said I couldn’t get a late check-out at 1pm. At least there’s free wi-fi. The small laptop I bought last-minute before Christmas was a really good idea as all the guesthouses I stayed in had free access even inside my room.
I skipped a trip to Penang Hill as there might not be enough time. The funicular ride to the summit already takes 30 minutes up. There are easy hiking trails to the Botanical Gardens and it would have been great to try them. But that would have to be for next year when I come back hopefully during the Lenten break.
I went to Fort Cornwallis instead which had great views of the channel. A guy in a soldier’s colonial uniform guarded the entrance. I showed him my ticket and took pictures of him. The fort wasn’t very big. Only the chapel and the gunpowder storage were left of the original buildings. Some of the cells were converted into museum displays that traced the history of Penang particularly how it was founded by the British. Truly, as Penang’s history tell us, there is nothing more stimulating for a country to expand its empire than the quest for more trade and commerce. It was intriguing to think of the power of the East India company in forging the creation of a new community-state. Another cell had informative photos and accounts on how the fort was excavated and restored it.
It was nice just walking around the fort as there weren’t too many people unlike Melakka where there was a horde of tourists jostling for space. The fort was very peaceful and except for the classical music coming from the speakers spread out on the park, it was quiet.
Opposite the complex was a couple of colonial buildings at the area they refer to as the Esplanade. I was lucky to see a processions of monks walking across the green. They seemed to be blessing something as the head monk was holding what seemed to be an instrument similar to what Catholic priests use when blessing the crowd.
I really enjoyed my brief stay in Malaysia. I will definitely come back. 2 days at the Cameron and a day at Penang is simply not enough. A boat ride away is Langkawi with its beautiful beaches. There is yet so much to explore and of course, to eat 🙂
My summer and a sem of Bahasa-Malaya-Indonesia way back in college was a big big help as I managed to use some helpful phrases.
My AirAsia flight to Bangkok is still at 5:25. Planning this trip, I was hell-bent on spending on greeting the New Year at Bangkok with all its clubs and action. Seeing the esplanade getting ready for Penang’s own Selamat Tahun Baru, I wish I stayed here instead.
I like Bangkok but I’m suddenly not so sure if I want to go back to city frenzy and even the nightlife. It was just great soaking the atmosphere at Cameron and getting lost in the maze of little streets of Melakka and Georgetown.
I will be staying at Silom Rd where the nightlife is at its touristy action peak. Perhaps, I should have stayed at Khao San instead which is the backpacker district. I booked a Khao Yi National Park tour (the only way to get there conveniently on a day trip) so at least I can get some outdoor action before flying back to Manila. Ayyuthaya will have to be done on my own.
Selamat Tahun Baru!