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pulau pinang

I'm about halfway through my time on Penang Island, after catching the night train from KL and getting the RM 0.60 (that's about AUD$0.20) ferry over from the mainland at around 6 in the morning (gah). I've got a friend here I've known since I was 15 (you know, pen friends. pre-net access. pen and paper, and all that), who's been showing me around and taking me to the good food stalls, instead of the stalls that hang around tourist areas (more expensive, less taste, she reckons). After watching traffic here, I suspect I'll never ever want to learn to drive (you sorta wonder why they bother painting white lines here. And who designed the Penang Bridge without a motorbike lane?). But never mind that. The food's great - Laksa cost me RM2.50 (that's a little under AUD$1 at the current exchange rate) at my friend's recommended cafe, and just outside they sell great Chendol at some equally throwaway price. I remember all my overseas student uni friends used to tell me about stuff being 50 cents by the side of the road...well, it's true! Oh, and there's a temple with a huge statue of Kuan Yin up on the hill, that lights up every night (just for this month) like a casino. At the butterfly museum, I saw the World's Largest Spider mounted in a glass case (as for living ones, they had a few very furry-looking tarantulas). There's a Filipino cover band in the hotel bar every night (2 guys, 2 girls) - the first night I was here I stopped by for a drink after my friend dropped me off, and they started singing Delilah. Last night they started off with The Green, Green Grass of Home. What is it with all these murder ballads?

Oh yes, one last thing. The Malay word for water is, apparently, "air". I bet somebody's having the last laugh about that one.

Monday arvo I hop back on the train and head into Thailand. Seeya there, I guess.

* 18:22 * travel