Having missed the connecting train at the border through no-one’s fault except train timetabling at it’s finest, it was a 2hr wait for the komuter from Pedang Besar to Butterworth. Fine upstanding, clean Malaysians being forced to sit / stand alongside travel weary stinky folks with bad Nescafe breath for nigh on 2hrs to Butterworth and then on the ferry to George Town, over on Penang island.
Out of the ferry terminal, the full force of the humidity hit, as did hunger, probably a touch of dehydration, a desperate need for a wee and the recognition that my bag was very, very heavy. It was only stupidity and a belief that I was unable to get lost with already worked out map that made me decide to walk to the hostel and not stumble onto the free CAT bus that would have got me 2/3rds of the way there all a/c’d up and in comfort. The 17min walk took about 30mins, which included a couple of sit downs, and a couple of requests for directions. None if this is helped by the fact that the roads in Georgetown can have 4 or more names, based on whether you’re Chinese Hokkian, Malay, or Indian, also it was not helped by me completely missing the road I needed to go down as I thought Jalan Sehala was a road name (and a rather long one at that, based on the amount of times it cropped up) but no, it turned out just to mean ‘one way’. Doh. Lobster faced and thereby having secured a job opportunity to work as an aircraft beacon on top of the Komtar, the tallest structure in George Town, I arrived to House of Journeys Hostel.
The guy on reception was super sweet, handed over my towel, told me not to worry about not having cash to pay for the room right there and then and took me across the road to my room, which was in a Chinese style house at the end of the terrace. It had an internal courtyard and upstairs 4 bedrooms along a corridor. Whacking the A/C and the fan on in the room I was left to start to cool down and unglue my clothes from myself and get a shower and start to feel somewhat human again. Joy of joys, laundry could be done in a day – woo hoo, so I handed in my rancid bag of clothing and headed out. A quick meal of chicken murtabak at Hameediyah Restaurant .
Then it was back to my room, being thankful for its lack of windows so it was completely dark, and I crashed for 11hours – bliss…tomorrow I’d start the foray around town.