Caught a bus from Kuala Lumpur yesterday afternoon, and spent five hours driving up the west coast of Malaysia to the city of Georgetown, on the island of Pinang (Penang). It's an old colonial city, with a really strong Chinese influence, but so far, all I've seen of it is our hostel and the inside of this internet cafe. This evening, we're planning to go up to the big hill on the outskirts of the city, but so far, this vacation has been very much about taking it easy. After the bustle and heat and crowds of KL, a smaller city will be a nice change. What I'm really looking forward to is going to our next stop and meeting up with everyone else to laze about on a beach for a good solid week.
The food here has been incredible. I've eaten load of excellent Indian and Malay food, had some Thai TomYum soup the other night, and here on Pinang I think I'll be able to get my fix of Chinese. After five months of Japanese food, the variety of spices is a real treat. Not that I don't like Japanese food, but it isn't up there on the list of spicy foods. Much more austere and about the natural, raw flavours of the ingredients. Here, street stalls sell all varieties of delicious curries, fish, fruits and everything else for so cheap! Yesterday I had lunch at a busy street stall, and my plate of fried rice, fish, chicken and salad cost me a whopping 9 Ringit (about $3CDN). And it was incredibly good. Just typing about it is making my mouth water... not helped by sitting just up the road from a big conglomerate of food stalls.
Alright, off to find some food!