After soaking in on all those mesmerizing scenes, we returned from the nature walk and crossed to the other side of the ticket office. This is where there are many ferries and other smaller powered motor boats. They also have more adventurous boats which are not really circumvented with enough support. You need to book a boat if you wish to see the turtle sanctuary, the spot in the waterbody where they say that salt water and fresh water meet and they form two distinct layers that can be seen by the naked eye and also explore the monkey beach.
So we hired a boat (for lack of a better term). When we booked the “cruise”, we realized that there were 2 elderly women (they were related to each other) looking around for someone who would let them accompany them. They’d have to pay a very high amount if they had to hire an entire jetty just for the 2 of them. And no one wanted to let them join in because one of the ladies was quite old and no one wanted to take a risk. Oh well, we did not have any problem. We were a bit wary of how she would get on the jetty though but with 3 strong men, we didn’t have too much to worry about. They just lifted her and put her on the seat. K gave me a victorious smile and I beamed, all proud that my better half had just lifted Mt. Everest with his little finger.
For the first time in my life, I wore a life jacket. We all very much did. And I am thankful to God that I did. No no, I did not fall off or anything but I definitely felt a bit scared (sheepish grin) as the engine roared to life and sped way too fast. I was expecting a guided and slow on kinetic energy motion but that was not to be. The gentleman who took us on the ride (no pun) seemed like he was in a hurry to show us all of Penang before Penang closed down to tourists or something.
We soon realized why. Finagling through the high wavy waters, he had only meant good. Moreover, there was a lot to to be covered in 2 hours and he did not want us to waste time on the jetty.
The tranquility that the entire environ exuded had us in very high spirits. We thoroughly enjoyed the jaunty ride what with the our engine-man indulging in a lot of “Penanag-is-beautiful-and-I-am-a-Penangite” pride, the younger of the 2 elderly ladies chatting away telling us of her Professor husband in UK and about the long awaited wedding of her daughter (a UK born Malay) with her Punjabi boyfriend (She pronounced Punjabi in a very cute way), me gushing about Indian weddings and talking of the masti I had in Punjabi weddings, L clicking some beautiful snaps, K soaking in on the miniscule drops of water trying to get them to land on his nose and refusing to take his hand away from water even when I screamed about possible crocodiles and O standing at the deck, K and O doing the Titanic pose *rolls eyes* with each other when they had their better halves with them- I loved this ride! We did take snaps of all of that.
Very soon, our guide was pointing us to rocks saying “Can you see the rabbit? Can you see the hippo?” and so on. I looked far and near desperately trying to spot them, pulling K’s shirt and asking him to show me. After a few seconds, everyone was like,”Ah, there! There!”, much to my annoyance. I am always bad at spotting things when anyone points it to me from a distance. But missing a hippo? This was too much.
K finally showed some mercy and soon cleared my confusion. He said that we are near the rock island and what he is showing are rocks shaped like animals. Pooh! Okay Sir, I am interested in rock shaped animals but I don’t have the tour pamphlets like others. Please can you be more specific and say, “Can you see ROCK hippo? Can you see ROCK rabbit?”. I pretended to have seen them but am sure I had just imagined and given my own form to the rocks. The picture bears testimony to my miscontrued form recognition.
We then reached the turtle sanctuary. They breed baby turtles which are like the cutest things on earth after baby donkeys. Really, baby anything is cute actually!
As we approached the turtle island –
Don’t miss the greenish hues.
Such cuteness, I tell you ! And they seemed to love K, rather K’s hand. I think they found his hand adorable or something because when we each put our hand inside to touch them, they got scared or huddled away from the hand. But when K put his hand in, they all wanted to come close, as if K was the Saviour they were waiting for, to rescue them from this treacherous prison of sorts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When he put his finger in first time, you can see a couple of them close in. He was just so happy that he kept putting his finger in at each corner to see where he gets a majority 🙂
There were on display, some of the skeletons of turtles and other vertebrates but honestly, I did not look in very closely. I was too fascinated by the baby turtles. Now, I see you nodding vigorously!
After dawdling around for a while, we left for the monkey beach. On the way to the monkey beach, we saw the place where they said that fresh and salt water form 2 distinct layers. Honestly, we couldn’t see much. It was more of a nice bridge that caught our view than the layered waters.
When we reached the monkey beach, we did not really see many monekys.
Once we reached into the interiors, we instantly knew why it was called so. More monkeys than people ! The monkeys were having their sun baths with people. We saw people feeding them anything and everything right from groundnuts to cheezles to curry puffs to ice creams. They were all hanging on the trees, camouflaged with only their bright eyes giving them away and that thrust of hand to take what was offered to them. What a sight!
We had prepared ourselves to feed them and so had taken a couple of packets of groundnuts. They would come down cutely and take the groundnuts. All the photos I have are those with L, O, X, K and others. I wish I could show them to you. Those monkeys were literally taking groundnuts off our hand.
I started feeding them and soon people around told us that the ones who come down the trees and take groundnuts were all males. The females were on trees, fear in their eyes, afraid of the male monkeys (their husbands). They refused to come and take the food because the male monkeys would scratch or fight with them for having taken their share. Sounds familiar? 😛
Anyways, I being me, refused to allow this kind of dominance. Whether males or females, each of them owed the other equal share of profit. This was inequality, right? So, I concentrated on feeding my tree-friends.
We then returned to the shore. after an amazing journey on water, we were super hungry. We went to the hotel, changed and looked around for some restaurants that had something vegetarian. Ofcourse, right opposite our hotel we found —
Okay, now don’t ask me why we had Indian food in Penang. We were really hungry and in my defence, the Indian food had so much of Malay influence on it as well.
In the evening, we went to meet another Indian family, a couple and the cute boys – twin set. The husband was K and O’s colleague who had brought his family to Penang for vacation as well. We met up and had the typical local food.
The next day saw us indulging in a 2.5 hour spa ! Yes yes my friends from Venus and Mars ! It is exactly at this point that I want you to feel jealous. It was the most amazing aromatherapy and pedicure I have been through. Even the thought of it makes me want to cuddle off on the table right here, right now. we went to the resort spa for lack of time. Though a bit on the higher side, the service was amazing. Plus, we got some yummy green tea.
While L and I were having our spa, O was sleeping. K and X were exploring the townside. We joined them later for lunch in the only Chinese restaurant that was open. The restaurant was all in red.
There was such amazing food.
And the most delectable lychee drink.
And as we went on long drives to explore the town –
exploring the streets,
reaching narrow lanes reminiscent of sweet childhood,
looking at barbers (don’t ask me why, all for local touch), we fell in love with Penang.
Soemtimes, I am just so curious to know how people will be like. Don’t laugh at me. I know I know – homo sapiens and all. But you get what I mean? The outfits, the smiles, the noses, the attitudes, the warmth, the food, the festivals, how they go to school, how many schools, how they laze around on Sunday afternoons – all this means a lot to me !
By the end of it, we ended up totally exhausted and hungry. There is also a fruit farm where they grow lots of varieties organically. We went there to buy some fresh fruits but just as we zoomed in, the lady waved to us and said that they are closing for CNY. We felt really sad and all that sadness turned to hunger. So what if we did not get some local fruits, we could always go for local food!
These two girls played for about 2 hours at a stretch without a hint of boredom. You should have seen them indulge in pretend play, manipulative play, constructive play, solitary play – sigh!
And as we walked along the streets one more time, we saw a huge restaurant of sorts that had big big aquariums with all kinds of sea creatures in them. You could just choose which one you would like on your plate and that would be served to you. Ofcourse, they are super expensive!
I wish I had clicked more snaps without us in it. It would have been easier to share. Next time, I will remember to.
Over the past few months, I have surprised myself. I have showed myself how I can get to love certain things with so much ease; how I have learnt to acquire tastes so easily. Thank you K !
A couple of years back, the local bakery was the closest I could get to street food. Or an occassional gobi, panipuri or masala puri when I go to B’lore. I loved street food. But I was so low on immunity since childhood that I just couldn’t get used to it.
When we first went to Malaysia, to Port Dickson, I was eating at “safe” places and trying local food in big hotels just to be safe about food. I can travel, explore, sleep, read in any any place but food had to be safe, always.
Ask me now. And you will find a whole new Kismitoffeebar 🙂
With that, we come to the end of Penang tales. After 4 great days, K and I just dashed to our bed, sweet bed at home.
Folks, travel travel travel travel (short trips, long trips anything)! You won’t ever have enough of it, as long as you come back to your coffee machine, book shelves, favourite window and bed at home often enough 🙂