We spent most of the day sitting in another full minivan en route to Penang, Malaysia. We arrived in the evening and found a decent hotel in Chinatown, then set out for an Indian feast. It took quite some time to find an ATM to withdraw some Malaysian ringgit…

Penang is a fairly large island off the coast, not far from the Thai border. Georgetown (where we stayed) is the largest town there and there are several other towns and villages scattered about the island. Sarah and I spent the next day exploring the place on our own; I went up to Kek Lok Si temple and Penang Hill.

Ceiling DetailAnimal Farm

I went up to the temple first, which had nice views but was partly still under construction and so not too exciting. I left the temple grounds and started to walk towards the railway going up Penang Hill, but got lost and wandered deep into a residential area. On my way, I walked past a small trash dump and was stopped by a guy: “Hello! Where you going?”. I told him I was going to Penang Hill so he immediately offered to take me there. Everything seemed cool until he started huffing a bag of paint he had been carrying around… He told me his name and some random stuff in broken english but it was so badly slurred I couldn’t understand a word. I was starting to get nervous - then he led me down a narrow, dark shortcut through a patch of trees. He could tell I was starting to act a bit tense and assured me that he “no robbery you, i no robbery!” It ended up perfectly fine - he took me right to the ticket counter. We each bought a ticket (I was really hoping he would leave me at this point) and boarded the train. The ride up was quite depressing. He continued to huff various things from his pockets, horrifying the orthodox Islamic family sitting around him. Every couple minutes he would point at something and ask me if I was going to take a photo of it - I did my best to ignore him. By the end of the 20 minute train ride the car reeked of shoe polish and I was dying to get away from this guy. Luckily I started talking with some other travelers and he wandered off…

Dont Sniff GluePortrait

Penang Hill is full of monkeys who aren’t shy about approaching humans so I was able to take a lot of photos of them. After hanging out for a while, I took the train back down and caught a bus back to Georgetown to meet Sarah for dinner.