After Phuket, we were in Penang from July 30 – Aug 7. Stayed at a condominium on Gurney Drive found via Holiday Lettings. It turned out to be a very well stocked place with a lot of movies to watch (I only got to see 3) and close to the Cold Storage in Gurney Plaza which was essential for groceries. In a spurt of environmental activism that surprised me – the shops in Gurney Plaza do not use plastic bags from Mondays through Thursdays so we either had to bring our own bags or carry our purchases. One could argue that this was no skin off their backs since these are the least busy days in the mall but it was the awareness and the desire to do something about it that surprised me. (We won't see this in Bangkok malls!)
The touristy things we did: Kek Lok Si, butterfly farm and batik factory up in Teluk Bahang. The butterfly farm was impressive – probably on par with the collection we sometimes see in Wheaton. The weather was very mild and it only rained one or two days while we were there. It was even cooler than in Washington. There was too much eating on this leg of the trip (as expected) – it has probably undone a year's worth of exercise and diet. (And the reason I started on exercise and diet was because of last year's trip!)
One meal we had was at the Hollywood Restaurant at Tanjung Bungah next to the another defunct restaurant (Sin Hai Keng? I forget the name now but the food there was much better than at Hollywood.) Sad to say, the beach fronting the restaurant has not gotten any cleaner. We used to play at a beach where the Spring Tide restaurant was and there used to be a large pipe that discharged effluents straight into the ocean. (The site is now a high rise condominium!) We used to think it was so cool to see a river of 'water' come into the beach and would stand near the pipe and let the 'water' wash over our feet!
The memory that I will probably have of this trip is sitting out on the balcony of the rental apartment and enjoying the view of the hills in Penang and the coastline of Tanjung Tokong with the cool breeze on my face – while brushing my teeth or having coffee.
One thing of note was that at McDonald's I saw three women – a Chinese, an Indian, and a Malay together – who seemed to be friends and I thought of Rehman Rashid's A Malaysian Journey.