Malaysia: Penang to Kuala Lumpur

After a morning spent in temples, it was good to be out and about in other parts of the city of Penang despite the blazing sun and high humidity.

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Our first stop was at Cornwallis Fort, a stone fortification which still sports some cannon.

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Aimed at the sea, the direction from which an attack was expected, they were absolutely useless when the enemy approached from inland!

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Modern Penang.

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Bright and cheery graffiti..

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Chew Jetty heritage site.

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Finally we ended up at Chew Jetty, one of a series of mostly interlinked wooden jetties which were originally used by fishermen but has now become a tourist destination with all the junky trappings. Many families live in houses built on the jetty, some of them have been there for three generations.

Our guide knew that durian fruit puffs could be bought here so we each tried one. Durian is that tropical fruit that stinks and is banned from all hotel rooms as the foul smell lingers long! They taste wonderful but do have a bit of an acquired taste about them.

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A colourful pot plant growing at the front of a Chew Jetty house.

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Chew Jetty occupies a prime piece of real estate.

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A small cafe on the Jetty surrounded by plants.

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More colourful potted plants.

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A ceiling of Chinese lanterns

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Penang supports a busy harbour.

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Coastal freighters and barges anchored in the bay.

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So that was Penang. Next morning we were up early and on our way again, this time our destination was KL.  After a very forgettable ‘included breakfast’, our mini-bus left at 07.30 for the central bus station.

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There we climbed on board our rather splendid inter-city coach which left at 08.30. The seating configuration was 1 x 2 so there was plenty of room for us to enjoy the large reclining seats. Very comfortable indeed.

What wasn’t comfortable was the way the Indian driver drove the bus. He was one of those stop, start kind of drivers who had no thought whatsoever for his passengers being tossed around behind him. Within 20 minutes of leaving the bus station, he had to swerve violently to avoid rear-ending a small car that decided to make a right hand turn in front of us. Stuff went flying everywhere.  As well appointed as the coach was, there were no seat belts… but at least we knew the brakes worked!

Our driver overtook everything that dared to be in front of him. I don’t think there was another bus that overtook us on the journey… but we overtook every other coach. The only time he slowed down was when he spotted a speed cop crouched down beside an overpass pillar. But once passed that, he was back to his old tricks. Even so, our estimated 9 hour trip took a very long 11 hours 15 minutes.

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Once within the city limits of Kuala Lumpur, we saw a smoggy view with some of the harbour and the city buildings in the distance.

On the way into the city, passed one unfortunate Mercedes Benz driver who was throwing open his car’s bonnet to expose a fire that was well alight. Considering the slowness of the traffic, I doubt whether a fire appliance would have got to him in time to put out that fire before it had completely burnt out the vehicle.

Not very much further on we passed a poor fellow who had come off, or been knocked off, his motor bike. He was lying on the road where he fell with a visible leg injury and who knows what other injuries. A policeman was standing over the injured rider. The only other protection was an orange traffic cone a little way in front of the accident scene.

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It seems like bicycles are definitely ‘in’ in Kualar Lumpur!

After finally arriving at the Central Bus Station, we jumped on a service bus for the 20 minute ride to our hotel which was very conveniently located near Chinatown. It was 15.30 by the time we managed to get to our rooms… and we had just a 15 minute turn-around before setting off on a walking tour of Kuala Lumpur. But more of that anon.

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

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