Penang Hill

Following a restless night’s sleep, which was probably down to the copious amounts of Tiger beer we drank yesterday, I woke up and couldn’t work out whether it was morning or not due to the complete lack of natural light in the room. Slowly I realised that what I thought was torrential rain all night was actually the noise generated by the antiquated air con system and the final straw for me was lying there watching a steady stream of ants marching up the wall.

We get up and go next door for breakfast; we’re all starving and have porridge, a fry up croissants and coffee.( Hangover fodder) It hits the spot and we plan what to do for the day. First on the list is move hotel and we pack up our stuff and walk the 10 minutes to The Hong Ping Hotel, which is behind The Blue Diamond bar. It’s also a bit of a dive but has loads of character and its like stepping back 50 years here. Everything is so old fashioned and I’m sure nothing has ever been updated or renovated since the place opened.

Our rooms are massive, the kids are delighted to see they have a double bed each and despite the bricks on the floor blocking up the rat holes, the lizards running up the wall, the world’s thinnest towels and cold water only, I am glad we have moved. Alister’s guitarist friend, who is called Uncle Lake, is pleased to see us and chats to Ali about music. The people who hang out here are friendly and there are some “interesting” characters here to say the least! Simon says Uncle Lake looks like one of the characters in the Tarantino movie Dusk till Dawn.

We are staying in Georgetown which is the capital of Penang, just off a road called Love Lane in the heart of backpacker land. The area has a chequered history and was first called Love Lane by British soldiers. It reminds me of Union Street in Plymouth and similarly has a reputation for bars, drinking and prostitution. Although most of the hotels are reasonably respectable these days some are still brothels and there are a number of Lady Boys touting for business across the road once it gets dark.

Eventually we decide to get out and catch a taxi to Penang Hill. It would take around 3-4 hours to climb and there’s no way we are doing that and opt for the funicular railway instead. In the heat it’s a very uncomfortable journey and we are glad to get out half an hour later at the top. The views are good although it’s a little hazy and we have a drink before catching the train back down again.

We head back to our hotel and make some plans for the next few days. There are a few interesting sights but for tomorrow we have chosen to head for the beach. Despite the fact that we generally do very little, most days we’re all knackered and feel in need of a bit of rest and recuperation. Oh this is the life!