Travel in Asia

Penang, Pink Floyd and Shirley……


As assumed, our departure from Thailand was right on time for the two of us. Malaysia, a recent addition to the travel itinerary would be but a 26 hour bus ride away.Penang, a small island to the northwest of Kuala Lumpur would be our first destination as it gave us a few days to kill before meeting some new friends in he capital later in the week.The city was named a UNESCO World Heritage city in 2008 which keeps much of the cities architectural history intact. The city is also a cultural melting pot as most of Malaysian cities tend to be. Within the city you’ll find people of Chinese, Indian, Arabic, Malay, Achehnese, Siamese, Burmese and European backgrounds all living and working here everyday. Certainly that makes for some good eats and an eclectic scene that we are both excited to check out.

Penang, a small island to the northwest of Kuala Lumpur would be our first destination as it gave us a few days to kill before meeting some new friends in he capital later in the week.The city was named a UNESCO World Heritage city in 2008 which keeps much of the cities architectural history intact. The city is also a cultural melting pot as most of Malaysian cities tend to be. Within the city you’ll find people of Chinese, Indian, Arabic, Malay, Achehnese, Siamese, Burmese and European backgrounds all living and working here everyday. Certainly that makes for some good eats and an eclectic scene that we are both excited to check out.

Back to the bus journey though where unfortunately, sleep was a rare happening for the two of us as we ventured southward. Coupled by the fact that a sweet Thai lady at the travel agency straight-face scammed me out of $70 for a phony overland departure tax didn’t help me catch a single z.

Upon our arrival we scoped out the accommodation offerings which all had a similar “I made that mark on the wall with my own feces” vibe. We took the advice of some fellow travelers to check out The Secret Garden Guesthouse that was only a few weeks old but had a lively staff. After taking a tour with a very sweet hostess named Jennifer, we handed over a few ringgits and booked a night.

Now, the place is owned by an English guy (forget his name…but then again, I’m thinking he’s not to sure of it either) and its decor was very inviting but we both got the vibe that this guy was definitely into “the host with the most, I come from England so lets drink and rock out with out c*$ks out” scene…or something like that.

Funny thing is, we were right. Beginning at about 10pm, the much acclaimed Bose speakers in the lobby were set a effin blaze to the sounds of Pink Floyd. Now, i’m totally into some Pink Floyd and even vaguely remember through a haze of alcoholic existence my college days where nothing made me happier than an air guitar session to my Live Pulse CD…… but this was not college, it was a guesthouse and we were tired as hell….and sober.

It became clear after 2 hours that this was not a mistake and that it was clearly forgotten that this was indeed  a guesthouse. Nicole made the first move and kindly asked when the music would stop to which she received to what our English owner deemed a reasonable time of 1am. Ok, sure we thought, we’ll stick it out since our choice was either that or sleep on the curb. Fortunately he did us the great favor of turning the music down at about 12:20am. (see our youtube for one vid Nicole shot during)

2:55am, time for some Franz Ferdinand!!!! Even louder but now your are messing with my sleep so I took the initiative to check in and see if this guy had mistakenly fallen on his crack pipe and inadvertently turned on the music again during a seizure. He did not. He calmly watched me stroll across the lobby to which he explained “we had a bit of a crash”. I recognized his clever use of a european phrase to throw me but I don’t think he realized that the “crash” was something I could foresee in his near future judging by the utter reluctance he showed in lowering the music again.


Ok, so enough, it was done, he lowered it to a mildly acceptable level, we slept and that was that. Until the morning to which we came down to a nice included breakfast which was gracefully spoiled by our humble host feeling the need to awkwardly greet us with “we did turn it down you know” and then asking me if “i had come down now?”. I hate to verbally assault one dude, especially an elder (who claims he was an attorney) but this guys only saving grace is that he’s got a very nice couple in Jennifer and her boyfriend to look after the place. I guess our final thought would be the idea that as a new guesthouse, our owner should be aware that without any current internet presence that guests like ourselves and anyone else should always be treated like guests or at the very least, as possible lonely planet or tripadvisor contributors because guess what….it happens….and now your on the internet old boy.

Needless to say, we peaced out and made our way down the Road to The Red Inn which kindly offered us a 3 dorm room all to ourselves for a small upcharge. The place is clean, the beds were far more comfortable that the springy Secret Garden ones and the front desk lady, Shirley is an absolute gem. The woman even took us to dinner that night and paid for everything, not to mention her offering to bring us out tomorrow night as well.



More on Penang once we log a few more ours of sleep my friends. Till then, don’t crash, be excellent to each other and remember, quiet time starts at 10pm sharp 😉


adam

One thought on “Penang, Pink Floyd and Shirley……

  1. Hi, I would just like to echoe the comments about Mark at the Secret Garden Inn. We, unfortunately had a similar experience whilst also being conned out of 2000 ringgit which he still owed us when we left. My partner had helped him out with some electrical wiring he was struggling with, as the guest house was new. He offered him 2000 ringgit to stay at the guesthouse an extra 3 days than planned to do the work. We had been backpacking for a couple of months at this point- so the money would have been very useful. We missed our boat to the islands on the east coast and stayed an extra 2 days- my partner working 8am-6pm in the heat with only a 20-30minute break in the afternoon.On the last day he went off to the cash machine to get the money but came back empty handed, said it was broken and he would go to another. As you can imagine each cash machine seemed to have a similar fault.We complained, he lied, we complained again and he lied even more. This continued for a while and eventually he promised to bring the money to the Cameron Highlands. We were quite aware that this was never going to happen but what else could we do?We had been far too trusting and very naive.

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