Food. Paradise. Penang


after a few bottles of Tiger, i bade goodbye to M.Y. girls jm and bel.. and bob marley who had been plastered smiling at us through out our drinking session in Reggae bar in chinatown that night.

it was still an hour before my trip when i arrived in the terminal. i must say its really neat for a bus terminal complete with mirrored walls and comfy couches. Plus liner; 30 RM( Malaysian Ringgit; 13Rm=1US$),Penang bound, 11:59pm. a quick 3-hour-plus ride since freeway is pretty much free during this dead hours of the night.

hopped into the bus. intently eager to leave Kuala Lumpur and all that unfortune done deal with the hindu.

now, a couple of bucks less on my budget;
holds no more ids aside from my passport;
and no more safety net as all my cards were now lost and  left in kuala lumpur( somewhere there) together with my sanity and security. just some of the things that bugged my mind during transit.

onward i braved my backpacking trip carrying a lighter pocket and a heavy heart( damn i did really lost that fukcin wallet.) phew.

i arrived in Sungai Nibong bus terminal past 3am. taxis fixed rate at 20fukcinRM. haggled with the driverSS. i told my story me-then-walletless but damn they just coudnt be shaken. i gave up and let go of the ringgits. the cab dropped me off in Bukit Jambul, the couch i was crashing for that leg of my trip is sree’s- my fukced up indian boy.
my broken hearted indian boy do keep a decent stash of liqours and cigs. a couple of shots of vodka before i hit the sack.

first on my itinerary was to hit the beach. Batu Ferringghi is one of the better beaches on this side of Malaysia; Georgetown. from B.Jambul i took a bus to Komtar( georgetown central terminal) then hopped on a bus 102, 2rms, to B.Ferringghi. bus charges normally range from 1rm to 3m. its cheap to move around.

its a nice beach but not spectacular. fine sands but not pristine. the beach caters more for water sports than lounging around. i suspected watersports cost cheaper here( just a hunch since there are lots of people doing it… and its not that those people didnt appeal to me as affluent or something, just saying =)

since its a muslim country, its very conservative as evident on the beach sans babes in bikinis. what?.  yes, its missing the best accessories/ornaments to beaches.

a beach without babes in bikinis, i mean, is no beach at all. lol

George Town is beautiful with its well-preserved colonial buildings turned to shophouses and cafes. the town is very laid-back and charming. no one will suspect it as the second largest Malaysian city. theres no city vibe at all( i mean it in a good way.)

i would spend afternoon walks along old streets adorned with century-old trees. no smog, just fresh provincial air.

and the best part of George Town or Pulau Pinang in general is, unmistakably, the food. i think there are more number of restaurants than people here. i wonder. lol

restaurants and hawker stalls abound every street corners. choose your poison: malaysia’s nasi campurs, chinese dimsum houses, indian curry houses… thais, what-have-you’s. name it, its here. all available and convenient.

eating your way around Penang is cheap in general. a lauriat can cost less than 5rms for 4 dishes.

i spent more days in Penang more than what i planned for and i didnt even notice not until after a couple of days after i checked on my calendar which showed i was way behind my itinerary( i had no itinerary really, haha… it just sounded nice since i was  travelling. and travellers usually have itineraries, right?)

i left Penang one early morning. sree arranged a cab that picked me up in Bukit Jambul Complex at 4am which trasported me to  Sungay Nibong(20rm) where i took the van(35rm) to cross the border to Hatyai in Thailand. Krabi-bound. i intended to reach Krabi before night time, thus the early travel.

my fukced up indian boy did hosted me very graciously. ballerina graceful. lol. sree is an ex of my oh-so-sexy-ex-officemate JM( siya na ang maganda; tirador ng mga malay na walang kamalay malay.. lol… i mean it in a good way. lol) who also hosted me in KL. lucky to have these peeps. a saving grace for all the misfortunes this muslim country had thrown at me.

All in all, Penang is like your typical Filipina barrio lass. Charming. Laidback. Affordable( abot kaya este abot kamay pala haha.)
and above all she is SIMPLE. but if handled well, she could be fun and exciting and definitely will leave you begging for a second round.

I want a second round. NOW =)

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dont mess with the Hindu

after my fucked-up indian friend’s girlfriend told me about Batu Caves, it being a wish granter( if and only, one has climbed the 270plus stairs with out stops) i knew i had to pay a visit.

i woke up to a beautiful morning tucked under fresh cotton sheets of our beautiful oh-so comfortable bed in our beautiful  hotel. it was a very sound sleep indeed(for me, as for my host michele/jm/watever.. i doubt, haha… i was told i snore when im pulling one of those hibernations).

the irish beers i had the night before, in upscale Changkat Bukit Bintang, surely delivered the goods.

we headed down to the hotel resto to get our filling of nasi lemak, pancakes and the gang for breakfast. then, she took off to work while i headed to Kl sentral and took the direct train to Batu caves. some 13km away from the city center.

we agreed to meet-up at night after her work, and after i closed the deal with the fairy godmother of Batu Caves.

whenever i oversleep, i tend to be sleepy the whole day. and that morning, i was not only sleepy in the train… i actually slept. good thing Batu is the last train stop, and another good thing were the two european girls, spanish if im not mistaken, who were nice enough to woke me up. they were smiling maybe because i looked cute sleeping or saliva was dripping( probably the latter). i tried  to engage a conversation with them but they speak no english( tsk tsk tsk).

the batu caves complex is right beside the train station. one of the temples is perched inside the cave some 270-steps above ground. and there sits the wish granter( aha!). a couple of interesting Hindu statues and shrines scattered around. lord Murugan being the focal point.

but the rain that morning made taking pictures an ass. bad lighting etc. and the rain of course.

it was cold and gloomy. i walked around the smaller temples, and wandered around some more. i waited for the drizzle to stop or atleast die down a little before i climbed the stairs but it didnt.

the gameplan was to ascend slowly so not to tire myself too much so i can avoid stops thus getting my wish granted(sounded like a plan.)

i looked up and scaled the whole set of stairs. “this is in the bag” i said. you see, i tend to esteem myself a little at most times. i always think of myself as very healthy and athletic ( even if the image in the mirror seems to not agree almost always, swear, there are mirrors that tend to make you thinner and taller just like the ones in SM department stores, those mirrors are damn accurate).

i wished for the rest of my backpacking trip to be a smooth-sail and perfect; then i took a deep breath then proceeded with the stairs. one step at a time. no looking-up or looking down( heck i didnt look at anything else aside from the stairs in front of me). i did not stair-count. i was focused; i reminded myself that the fate of my backpacking trip on the following days layed on my hands( ok, feet). as i made it, the WISH.

maybe i was over the hundred stairs when i felt my calf muscles to tire and ache a bit. i was not breathing anymore, i was panting. i surged forward.

and when i was on the last 3 or 4 remaining steps it dawned on me how stupid my wish was. what was i thinking right? a perfectly smooth-sailing trip? BORING! a LITTLE mishap here and there would spice up the trip(i was very particular with my words specially the part l-i-t-t-l-e). so i changed wishes at the last minute, at the last 3 steps. from a perfect-smooth-sailing-trip wish to getting laid(now, thats what i call a w-i-s-h).

i stepped on the last step and… ohboy what a relief. at that time, i was sure that i will not have a perfect-smooth-sailing trip and that i will get l-a-i-d. sweet. victory(haha).

at the top i saw the fairy godmother  hindu god/goddess sweetly smiling at me… so i sweetly smiled back…
and so she owed me one.. haha. gotcha.

happily, i commuted back to explore the rest of KL. good vibes. an old guy in his 50s i met on the train was even so kind to tell me more about the city. show me around the train station and even accompanied me to the ticket office in kl sentral( i was headed to Penang the next day.) after small talks, he finally led me to the ticket counter and then he graciously went his way out of the terminal and went wherever his home is.

filled out the ticket form and then i searched my bag for my wallet. and then i searched some more. and more…
and more. but found none.

damn it. demmit. tang.na. fukc.

my money was there, cards( the fukcin mastercard was my safety net for this trip, incase i ran out of cash i can always withdraw… and the money on my card is actually included in my backfukcin budget), ID’s, hotel keycard and other valuables were there too. i just got fukced. bigtime.

…and i was not even half-way on my trip. my plane ticket to the Philippines was due not until after 12 fukcin days. Thailand and Laos still awaits me.

i made the deal with the fairy godmother that noon for “a l-i-t-t-l-e mishap”. i was clear on l-i-t-t-l-e. i made sure on that. i repeated it( you know, incase he/she didnt hear it clearly the first time). but this is no way close to l-i-t-t-l-e. cards and money? cmon.

and there i was in the counter with my bag inside out, all stupefied infront of the now puppy-eyed malaysian ticket seller.

***i headed to Penang the next day walletless. broke. and damn, i havent even gotten laid. tsk tsk tsk

***********
-no entrance fee for the main cave; however there is a fee for some caves since they will require you to get a guide
-2rm, train fare, kl sentral-batu caves

ONE fukcin rocking year of trains and airplanes

my backpack trip
*last part of 2011
backpakcin trip

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all trips this year

january- cebu(sinulog),siquijor,dumaguete,davao,general santos,saranggani,south cotabato

february-aklan(boracay,borongawan),iloilo,clark(balloon fest)

march-batangas,puerto princesa,el nido,coron,borawan(quezon)

may-lucban(pahiyas fest),catanduanes

june-laguna(enchanted)

july-hongkong,macau

august-puerto princesa,el nido

october-qatar

qatar,bahrain,malaysia,laos,thailand
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if i was asked days before 2011 about my travels for that year… chances are, i couldnt have mentioned any of these trips. none of these were planned.

i think i missed out on some my of trips. NOT because there are so many of them, but because i am just stupid to recollect events, that took place further than a couple of days, most of the times. (alcohol effects?)

it was the best year to date. of travels and life in general.

now, looking back, though i have the faintest idea on how did it all happen, i am ecstatic… and this ass did have a fukcin rockin year…
people met, dreams realized, places seen

big thanks to THE ONE up there… yes you =)

*demmit i should document more… lazy ass