Tue 31/05: Georgetown - Penang, Malaysia

Here's a glimpse of the sights we experienced this day, the slideshow is automatic, but you can pause, go forward or backward... or, as we highly recommend, you can also see the pics in larger resolution at our Picasa website by clicking on any slide... we also recommend that you increase Picasa's default time setting to 7 seconds or more - enjoy!!!

As is usual, we didn’t pack until it was almost time for us to get to the airport: there’s a reason that we do this, but we forget why.

Anyway, as our Emirates flight was to leave at 02: 35, we made certain that we arrived at Tullamarine by 11:30 the night before so that all would be in order regarding our connecting flight with MAS from KLIA to Penang.

There was a huge queue for check-in at Emirates… we almost got to the end of it when I saw a sign saying “on-line check-ins” which we’d done on Sunday; so, I said ‘bugger’ and we bobbed under the tape and found that we were the only ones there - we needn’t have arrived at Tulla until around 01:00 - I have a vague recollection of us doing the same thing each year; however, as I see it, it has lengthened our holiday a bit J and it gave us time to sit around air-side and have a glass or two of red with a sandwich at the most exorbitant prices imaginable.

Now the flights:

Emirates – The usual very friendly service with the attendants using passengers’ names and ensuring that all is well… I can’t remember what it was that I was frowning about, but I do recall that I was thinking about something (possibly what we’d left behind, like the camera) when the attendant said to me: “Is everything alright, Mr Cameron”.

The jet wasn’t filled, however, we remained in our seats the entire flight and Jackie got some sleep as she had the window seat, as usual, and I twisted and turned and couldn’t get comfortable in my aisle seat, even with the spare ‘middle’ seat vacant – oh, to be able to afford to fly business class and lie back! But we mustn’t complain as the return flight MEL – KUL – MEL cost a paltry AUD 500 each.

We arrived early at KLIA and had plenty of time to cross from the Satellite Terminal to the Main by aero-train and wait for the time to board our MAS flight to Penang an hour-and-a-half later. Our checked-luggage was automatically transferred to the MAS jet as Emirates had listed us as a connecting flight and we only had to go through immigration at KLIA where we were the only travellers (I thought at first that it must be closed) and we had our fingerprints taken and endorsed on our passports – the whole process took just over 30 seconds.

Malaysia Airlines – it was a short 50 minute hop to Penang International Airport and we arrived at 11:15, after which, we collected our checked-in luggage and breezed through customs.

We caught a taxi (RM 47) to Traders Penang where we were greeted in the Club Lounge, given a welcome drink and then shown to our room (1714) with a view to the Penang Bridge.

Georgetown – After refreshing ourselves we decided to walk to Prangin Mall behind Traders and buy our Maxis SIMS and Hot-Tickets for the internet. We had a problem getting the broadband to connect with our HTC Desires and much configuration went on for quite some time without success.

Unfazed, we hired a trishaw each (RM 30/hour/pax) for two hours and went for a ‘burn’ around Georgetown – first to Lebuh Chulia to the money changer where we received RM 3.18/AUD 1.00, which we felt was satisfactory, and then visited the Peranakan Mansion, Koo Kongsi, Little India etc., ending up at Prangin Mall once more and a second, unsuccessful, attempt at broadband connection for our phones with Maxis. We had been sold 2 x 7 day & 4 x 2 day Hot-Tickets each (RM 80) and so, we returned the unused tickets (we had scratched 2 x 7 day tickets to reveal and use the code) and we refunded the money.

Back at Traders and to the Lobby Lounge for a Tiger or two and then back to our room for a rest and change for dinner.

We had pre-dinner drinks and canapés at the Club prior to dinner at Trader’s Islander Restaurant where Jackie was presented with a birthday cake after our main course. We then relaxed in the Lobby Lounge and had post-dinner drinks whilst being entertained by the ‘house’ trio who are very talented and with whom we made a friendship during our stay in Penang.

Back at the room, the management had delivered a substantial birthday cake for Jackie which we put in the refrigerator for another time – how thoughtful of them

And so to bed.