I would be lying if I said I didn't wake up with a hangover, I was so tired when I woke up. With the hangover and a bit of a cold I was feeling pretty rough. I decided to miss breakfast, as the extra time in bed I felt was more valuable. (I found out later, a couple of the guys were like, "Where's Gaz?) I made it down to reception for the departure time, maybe looking a little pale. I was asked a couple of times - how was I feeling, and I was doing ok by now, the cold shower helped. We left together in a minivan, with our local guide Alex. We only had 4 hours to explore the city, and we would see all the highlights that Penang has to offer. Our first stop was the cash machine, as stupid me, forgot my card the night before. Then we went to Wat Chayamangkalaram it's a Thai Buddhist temple that was build back in 1845. Inside was a massive reclining Buddha, she was massive. We walked around the building. The temple had a good luck wishing spinner thing. You paid 10p and made a wish. A spinning wheel would give you a number. That number meant something, and would answer your wish. Mine seemed pretty good, although it did say "if I am charged with prosecution, I have much hope to win the case".. That was a little weird. We then crossed the road to see Dharmikarama Burmese Temple. This had a lot of great architecture, and had a viewing point about 4 stories high. Our guide was giving us loads of information about the history and culture if the temple.
Driving around Alex pointed out some Interesting building, like the own of Honda's house, a house where the Malaysian King stayed, and a property that used to be owned by the English Queen that has been turned into a government building. We then stopped by the sea, looking over at the war monument, and the city hall. It was getting pretty hot- and the beer was swearing out of me. We drove past Fort Cornwallis, and the Queen Victoria memorial clock tower, where we could take photos. We then had a short walk up one of the Chinese jetties, that were located by the water front.
Once we left the clan jetties, we headed to my favourite, the Kek Lok Si Temple which was constructed in 1890. It was an incredible temple located high, over looking the city of Penang, amazing views. We spent about an hour here, and used the cliffside cable cart to take us to the top of the temple grounds. I could have stayed up here all day. By now- the hangover had gone, however my stomach was rumbling for food. Before we left, we all donated money so we could add a colourful ribbon that had a special saying to a branch at the temple. I think mine said "Wishes come true" it was bright orange. I wrote all the families names on the reverse.
We made our way back down to the minivan, but managed to grab a ice cream on the way! Left and was heading back to the hotel, as it was nearly midday. We were hoping to stop at a chocolate factory that sold 99% chocolate- not sure how true that is, but anyway, we ran out of time... I think Alex started to panic a little bit as we were about 10 minutes late by now. We drove down Campbell Street- sorry Sian- didn't get chance to take a photo. I knew where we were, close to where we had been drinking the night before. But Alex missed the turning for our hotel, and because of the one way systems, we had to drive around the block again. We was getting close to the parked cars on the side of the road... Then too close, as Alex is scraping the minivan along another car, taking the wing mirror clean off. But Alex keeps driving, every now and then looking to see what damage he has done to the minivan... We got back to the hotel finally, and it hadn't caused much damaged at least to Alex's motor. I showered quickly, packed and checked out. We didn't have a lot of time so went to a local restaurant about 1 minute away from the hotel. It was a buffet style place, you put on your plate what you want, and they give you a price at the end, depending on what you have had. It wasn't bad. Just you couldn't be sure what you were actually eating.
Sadly it was time to leave Penang. We then got into minivans ahead, we had a 4/5 hour drive to the Cameron Highlands. We stopped a couple of times, but I was just catching up on sleep. It seemed to go quickly, the views getting better and better as the minivans climbed into the mountains. Checked into the Hill view inn, it was an English style building, my room was massive with both single and a double bed in it. However it was located on the top floor, overlooking the car park. It was at the top of a tiny stair case. Showered, chilled out before our meeting and dinner!
We walked about 30 seconds to the closest restaurant to the hotel. We were going for Chinese. It was a small place with a lot of locals, 2 tables had been reserved for us. We ordered drinks and looked over the menu. The popular and famous thing to have was Steam Boat! This of course made us laugh, after the other night at the shining hotel. But a group of us went for it. We had a small gas stove placed in the centre of the table, on top of that was a metal dish, that was divided in two. Once side a chicken stock, and the other was a vegetable stock. As Laura is a vegetarian that was stickily vegetables only. The waiters started to bring plate after plate of raw food to the table that we would cook once the clear soup had started to boil. You name it, we had it in front of us. White fish, jelly fish Squid, crab sticks, mushrooms, chicken, shrimp, beef, noodles, eggs, mixed veg and other stuff that I can't really remember. The soup bubbled, and everyone started putting stuff in, allowing it to boil, I just chucked in an egg; and some noodles and waited for them to cook. Their was now a mixture of raw and now cooked meat in this soup, and it was ok until the beef covered with egg was poured in, leaving loads of egg floating in the top. I stuck to mostly the veg, noodles, egg and chicken. It was pretty good, but how full can you really get on soup! I then decided to risk a shrimp. Still with its legs, and head. I ended up by accident pulling the head off the shrimp off, and having brain juice on my plate.. That put me off eating it, and placed it on the dirty plate. It was a bit of a let down, and I'm no longer going to order dinner with boat in the title. After that still a little hungry walked up the town. Tried to find some presents, with the famous cameron highlands strawberries on it, like socks... Sadly no luck. We then walked past a Starbucks.!! I had a blueberry and banana muffin, and a hot milk with caramel syrup. (NO COFFEE!). It was so good, and I felt full! I have to get up early tomorrow, and on a full day trip, so walked back to the hotel, and crashed.
**** Something, I forgot to write about the other day, was at the shining hotel, we were ordering drinks at our horrendous meal, and I asked for a Diet Coke...! And she looked at me puzzled, and said "BEER?" I guess you had to be there but we were laughing so much. How did she get beer? i just said Coke in the end, which she managed to understand. ****