Penang In A Day

By Elie - 1:23 PM

Cue the blog abandonment, sorry not sorry kind of message. Truth is, I find it so difficult to sit in front of my laptop after work nowadays because I've been looking at the work laptop all day long. I shouldn't however use that as my excuse so I guess I really am a little apologetic on my 10 day strike. Oh but here's a photo heavy kind of post about life over the past weekend!

Midnight road tripping!

Following an entire month's worth of planning along with back and forth decisions, the QWERTY trip to Penang finally materialized and I shot off to Penang with the lot of friends right after work last Friday! The ride took us just a little over 3 hours which was a shock considering how it's a long weekend after all. We met up after a go-around in the island and got into our apartment unit at Birch Plaza, Penang Times Square.

It's in the heart of downtown, a 5 minute walk from Komtar and this is our view from the hall!

I insisted that we stay a little closer to town because that's where everything is; food, fun and everything awesome. Birch Plaza was a find from Becky and Kat's epic find and in all honesty, it's perfect. But I'll really just talk about that in a separate post. Today it's all about the eats and the company!

Char Koay Kark @ McCalister Road.

We started our Saturday morning with the food trail as planned and went for char koay kark (Fried carrot cake) that costs RM 3 a plate. I guess I can't say it's expensive since it's priced around RM 5 in KL but the taste of the koay kark really didn't justify its price. While the egg was flavourful and the bean sprouts were crunchy, the koay kark was completely bland. I didn't even know what I was biting into and that should just say something because it means the stall needs to be labelled as fail. Funny enough though because a LOT of people seem to go there for this even when it's not tasty at all. Tourist spot much?

Penang Road Cendol.

Drowned away that part of a morning disappointment with the famous Penang Road Cendol that now costs RM 2.40. I remember when it was RM 1.60 at a point in time. I guess that's how long my family has frequented this place because the man even owns a shop for his customers to enjoy cendol in right now.

And half of Edward in the picture. Becky took this, she's totally half American right now and needs to record down places she has been in Malaysia!

The touristy photo we took. 
"We're technically tourists now" -Becky

The entire day was made to be impromptu and we decided the next touristy thing to do was to take photos at the Ernest Zacharevic murals around the Heritage Zone of Penang. I mean, it's the fad in Penang nowadays after all so why not just go with it? We did put a twist into the trip however as we decided that the coolest thing we could do is to rent bicycles and go around the area. 

Katrina found her cycling muse.

I cycled also, okay?

Well I lied. I can't cycle to save my life but the extremely nice uncle found a tricycle for me...which was passed on to Edward a little later because it was much more comfortable to hitch a ride with Jian! And this is why I am fat. I mean, come on! It was freaking hot that day!

And bike off!

Each bicycle was rented to us for RM 10 while the tricycle costs RM 12 and there were no time limits to how long we could ride it for. A map was included in every bicycle and locks were also given so we could keep them safe when we stopped at places and abandoned the bicycles. It's good idea for tourists actually seeing as that it's a good way to experience Penang.

Us in an alley because it's the only place free from cars.

Apparently it would have been much better if it was a Sunday because then the authorities would cordon away designated roads for a pure cycling day in the area so everyone cycles without worries of cars or motorbikes. We did have to scurry our way through cars and be really careful with motorbikes simply because it was a Saturday but they're seemingly nice to us anyway.

Us in front of the famous siblings on a bicycle picture.
From L > R: Jian Haw, myself, Wei Kin, Edward, Steven, Katrina and Rebecca

We have a thing for group pictures in front of sibling arts.

New favourite artsy shot.

I thought this was a good use of our bicycle too and Jian got a good gist of it.
 Becky and Edward in front of the mural on the walls of the Ming Xiang Tai pastry shop.

Most of us got a sunburn from the heat after a few hours and cycling and we decided to just forget about the hunt for all the murals around 2 PM; a time when we thought food would be a good idea. No surprise for those who would have guessed but I took them to the famous "mee goreng" shop at Bangkok Lane in Pulau Tikus.

Steven ordered a monster sized rojak for 7. This set us off RM 20 with tons of squid and too-die-for rojak sauce.

Super delicious mee goreng. The uncle is still as friendly; I saw him taking a photo with a girl as we arrived. Celebrity chef status maybe...

By this time we were fairly drenched because of how tired we felt from the cycling and sweating. I mean, it does get very uncomfortable to be sticky and sweaty after all. I had hoped for assam laksa from the coffee shop opposite the police station along that road too but they were sold out by the time we went ahead to order. I was truly disappointed that I didn't have any good assam laksa this entire trip. In fact the one Steven got on the same night for dinner was horrible but I'll get to that.

What we managed for the remaining of the day was to visit Batu Ferringhi all the way for the sake of the feeling of sand by our feet and to look out for the sunset by the beach. It sounded feasible considering how tired we were and it was too late to tour over to Air Itam for amazing assam laksa anyway. Again, still very disappointed.

One of those cliche feet on the sand shots.

No beach trips are complete without selfies, I suppose.

And none like a girly picture by the sunset, just for the fun of it.

We buried Steven too, just for the fun of it.

Granted there's tons more pictures of us and the beach but if I had them all here, you'll probably just stop reading my blog forever. So here's ONE of the gazillion sunsets I took that day.

Sunsets are pretty, okay? Don't judge.

We left soonest as the sun was gone and went back to our apartment unit for showers and prepared for dinner after because it was close enough to 7 PM anyway. While our initial plan was to go to Air Itam for o chien (Fried oysters with eggs) and pork satay, everyone was just too tired to move around and settled for dinner from a coffee shop along McCalister Road instead.

Feeding monsters.

I lost track of whatever we bought but the o chien, assam laksa and pork satay was actually quite horrendous. Plus the drinks from that place was horrible too so I guess it wasn't a very good end to the food trip. I wish we had more time for more food too but that's all we could manage as we fitted everything into a single day.

I suppose even when the food was terrible except for the mee goreng and cendol trip, it was the company that really counted. We had tons of laughs and made much more inside jokes that only we will now know because that's what friends are for right? We harass each other with stupid things then patch on horrors with good talks.
I had longed for a vacation, an escape that wasn't too expensive from the city life and hustles or work and I totally got it over this trip. It costed me not more than RM 250 for the entire weekend inclusive of accommodation and travel splits! 
I could do more weekends like these but until then...goodbye Penang.

More than anything, this trip taught me the value of friendship, of getting fat and of how much a retreat from a regular life brings. Next stop is probably Ipoh with Callie over another weekend. Maybe, just maybe...

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