Thankfully during the night we hadn't been attacked by any monster rats decided we'd get an extra early breakfast. As suspected we joined yet more middle aged, ex-pat males in the guesthouse café. The breakfast was pretty decent and cheap and also allowed us to clear the remaining Thai Bhart. As we sat there our thoughts about the place proved reality. We'd been thinking the night before this place was a little dodgy/weird and as we sat there we watched the previous nights hires leave the building, it was a brothel! It must be said not a brothel as you'd imagine at home but none the less it was a little seedy.
Anyway, we caught the minibus ready to take us over the border into Malaysia. It turned out there were a couple of Polish girls on there who we'd briefly met a few days earlier. They'd opted for a train/bus journey to cross over the boarder rather than the route we'd taken. It sounded as though we'd defiantly done it the right way round (just two sperate buses), they been up pretty much all night and still weren't going to get there any quicker than us!
The border was pretty easy, no "extra charges" for the guards to put in their pockets although it does seem they scrutinise Tom's passport each time now as he doesn't look much like his picture. After handing over the book and looking through the passport, the guard turned round and said "What is your name?", after flicking through the passport and giving Tom a good stare, he finally let him through. If you're going to cross any border with a dodgy passport one thing you're going to do is memorise the name!
First impressions of Malaysia were very positive and surprising really. The motorways were smooth and much nice than the UK, the surrounds seemed green and full of expensive Golf resorts. We were heading to the Island of Panang just off the Malaysian mainland easily accessible by a road long bridge.
Penang was the first place the British colonisers arrived in and announced their arrival. They introduced some industry to the country and shipped in immigrants from India soon joined by the Chinese. As a result the island is full of multicultural faces, languages and cuisine.
We had big hopes for Panang as we approached from the mainland over the bridge, it looked different, highrise and seemed more developed. Unfortunalty as with any city this also brings its darker side and infact as we arrived in the city of Georgetown it appeared run-down and dirty. Agreeing we'd stay there at least couple of nights with the prospect of "Little India" and "China Town", we checked into a guesthouse which seemed fine if not lacking a window, a en suite toilet, hot water and space, but better than a dorm!
We quickly got some cash as we had no local currency, Malaysian Ringgit. That evening we went to an Indian restaurant/takeaway advised by the guesthouse owner then walked around Little India reminiscing of our trip only a few weeks ago.
One major flaw (as Tom sees it anyway) with this country is the price of alcohol. As it is a Muslim state alcohol is heavily taxed to the extent that its the same price in bars as it home,even if you buy it from a supermarket! Criminal! Anyway as a result we had little to do in the evening, odd really when you cant even afford to sit anywhere for a few hours. We headed back to the cell and watched Bruno hoping for a good nights sleep ready for the big city tour on public transport tomorrow.