Finally, a beach day. We were actually so excited at the first sight of clear blue water that we hopped off the public bus a few stops early (and by a few, I mean many). To get to the actual beach area, we ended up having to walk five kilometers in blazing heat on the side of the highway, essentially dodging cars as they came speeding around turns because there was no sidewalk. Still, it made the beach all the more better. Laying out, parasailing, sipping on some coconuts… I had been disappointed that we ended up not having enough time in Thailand to hit the beaches on the gorgeous islands of Koh Phi Phi or Koh Samui, but I guess the beaches of Penang Island will just have to do ;D
Gotta make do with iPod snapshots. Andrew left my camera on a song-thaew in Hat-Yai, Thailand. Story is: I paid a dude from the bus company an exorbitant USD 20 to be driven all across the town to track down the exact vehicle we had ridden from the airport to the bus station (this guy spoke absolutely no English…in hindsight, this was probably a terrible idea, especially since I went alone while Andrew waited at the bus station). It didn’t help that every single song-thaew looks the exact same and is painted the same shade of blue. It was actually a stroke of luck that we found the vehicle after 20 mins of circling the city; the driver had parked at a rest station with a bunch of other song-thaews. I searched the vehicle but didn’t find my camera. SAD PANDA :’( $700 bucks right thurr. Gone. Boom. I’m actually probably going to purchase a new one here in Malaysia (splitting the cost with Andrew). I want to keep documenting this trip, and the electronics here in George Town are purportedly cheaper than in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.
I’m staying at an awesome hostel called the Red Inn, on Love Lane. There’s a great little hawker district down the street at the intersection. All the stalls are congregated along the streets and alleyways, and there are tables and chairs set up on the sidewalks. It’s pretty amazing – you can order from any stand and sit at any table, you can even order from multiple stands (food from one, a drink from another, dessert from yet another). Meanwhile, the stand owners are able to keep track of which customers ordered what from them, and where they sat. Money is collected at the end, and it seems that they have “general cleaners” employed — people who clear out and wash the dishes and utensils, which are then returned to their respective stalls because the plates and bowls and such are all differentiated by shape, or even COLOR-CODED! Fascinating system.
P.S., Food blogging is HUGE here in Malaysia. Rasa Malaysia is one of my favorite food blogs; check it out! Drool…