I slept surprisingly well on the night ferry, actually not that shocking seeing as I normally sleep like a rock. I once fell out of the top bunk on the canal boat in my sleep and didn't wake up...
A minivan picked a few of us up from the pier at Surat Thani and dropped us off at the main bus station. I had an hour or so to kill here so cracked open my first tea bag that Adam had given me in a letter before I left! Can't believe I'd waited this long to be honest - Yorkshire tea never tasted soo good ha!
Buses came and went, including a tuktuk (which should hold 8 with luggage at a push..) that took away 15 people! It looked like something out of a cartoon. Finally another minivan arrived which was to take about 8 of us across the border and into Malaysia. This journey was another couple of hours before dropping us off at a travel agents (still in Thailand) where we waited an hour to transfer to a 3rd minivan which actually ended up taking us to our final destination - Penang. On this last bus I was sat next to 2 French women, Julie and Lea, who had also just met. We chatted the whole way and after a successful and stress-free border crossing we were in Malaysia! Turns out the girls had met on the night boat and had planned to stay together on Penang and had asked if I'd like to share a room with them so I said yes. The place we looked at first was called Banana Hostel and had pretty good reviews online so ended up staying there. There was a reggae bar opposite which had "free drinks for girls" so of course we headed over there that evening ;) Turns out you can't actually choose what you have and you get given a very watered down vodka lemonade, but hey - it's free! Every white person that came to the bar they shoved together on the same table (you had no choice, they practically dragged the chair you were still sat on) which was quite funny cos by the end of the night it looked like a giant family 'do' with 5 long tables all pushed together haha. As I got up to leave I accidentally dropped the room key and it landed on the grid of a drain by the road, millimetres from falling into the sewers, whoops..
Lea was quite annoying because she had come from Koh Tao (where she'd been for the last 3 months) but after only an hour on Penang she was moaning constantly about wanting to go back to 'her island' and saying she wasn't used to civilisation :/ She starting umming and ahhhing at buildings and cars and taking pictures of traffic which was a bit weird. At about midnight she went on a hunt for mcdonalds and got in a massive mood when it wasn't open and huffed and puffed about it being a Muslim country and that they shouldn't shut things so early. In fact the whole night she was just really needy and attention seeking. So I ignored her.
The next morning Lea had booked a boat back to Koh Tao (phew) so Julie and I headed off to explore the area, Georgetown. We were on Penang, an island off the north west of Malaysia and was colonised by the British in 1786 when Francis Light took formal possession of the island and tried (but failed) to rename it Prince of Wales Island in honour of the heir to the British throne.
We went off sightseeing - headed towards the coast and following it round looking at sites such as Fort Cornwallis, the largest standing fort in malaysia, and the lighthouse there. We pretty much just wandered around the town, coming arcross sites as we went. We ended up in a 2nd hand bookstore as I had 2 I needed to exchange and another that I was reading which was rubbish. Julie was looking for the sequel to a book called The Hunger Games which she'd finished, a book that I'd heard a lot about while travelling as everyone seemed to have read it! There was a bundle with the trilogy in so she bought it and I paid for the first one (which I ended up finishing in 2 days). After here we headed towards little India to find something for lunch and came across a vegetarian place. We had NO idea what to order to just asked the waiter to pick for us, something I'd never done before cos restaurants normally serve meat.. and he came back with what can only be described as a 3 foot rolled up crispy cheese pancake with different curry dips. It was amazing!
That night we went for some drinks at a place called Soho Bar and ended up drinking with 8 Australian guys from the RAF. They were HUUUGE and kept picking us up which was a bit weird. I think the aim was to go to pretty much the only club in the area open late called "Slippery Señoritas" but we got there at 3 when it was closing so we stayed out at some bars til 5 then headed back.
The next day we had arranged to meet up with Julie friend Carlos who was from Penang (they worked together in London about 5 years ago). We'd agreed the day before to meet at 10am where and he would pick us up outside where we were staying and give us a tour of the island. It was a really nice gesture but come half 9 we were NOT feeling our best. Either way we dragged ourselves up and waited outside, and waited.. and waited... About 40 mins and numerous unanswered calls later we headed off for hangover food and txt Carlos where we were going should he wake up! He finally got back to us at 12 and we were soon on our way around Penang - first stop = seaside! We'd picked the worst day to see Penang's finest beach as it was grey and cloudy, but on the way Carlos pointed out the complex where Jackie Chan lives when he stays on Penang ha. A couple hours into our little private tour Carlos unfortunately got a call saying his his cousin had been in a fatal car crash and so had to rush out of the city to see him. He kindly dropped us off quickly back at the hostel before darting off and we spent the rest of the day sleeping, before going for dinner with 2 people we met on the first night, Rachel and Craig.
The next morning I booked a bus to Kuala Lumpur but had an hour to kill so bought another book (i'd already finished the Hunger Games) and we found a French supermarket. And here I am now sat on a coach eating whole grain crackers, fake cheese slices and cherry tomatoes. And mum, I found braeburns!!! :D