13th May 2014

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A first for us flying into Penang, Malaysia. With 2 mountain bikes. Destination, somewhere in Thailand. It will be a 2 country trip, seeing that our neighbours are very close, within a day’s ride out of Penang. We fix up our bikes at Penang airport and ride right out of it. The taxi mafia, with paid coupons bought at a counter have going rates at $50 for a sedan to almost $90 for a minivan. Cool if you have 9 other friends, not so if it’s just 2 mountain bike boxes to haul into town. We will return to Penang in a few days, where I shall source for 2 boxes for almost nothing..

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After the bikes are done we ride 15 kms into Georgetown proper, settle into our hotel and look for dinner. It’s been some time since I was here, in 2010, after riding in from Southern Thailand. This is also the first time that the American is touring and with a Minoura low rider front rack that hasn’t seen action since the early 90’s.

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The view from our room at the over aptly name Grand Inn. The island’s main drag Penang Road and street level coffee shops that come to life at 5 am, meaning noisy for light sleepers.

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We headed to nearby Chulia Street where crowds start to form around the better hawker stalls, people hovering over other diners, waiting to grab their spaces. I order mine and it came quite quickly. This was because, the person who ordered it didn’t show up or wasn’t within earshot, so the hawker just passed a plate of wonton noodles to the next eager person, meaning me ! I paid and retreated into a dark corner, lest the original owner showed up….

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They’re sold in a small or large versions only. I got the small, even though a large was desired. RM$3.50/$4.50 Anyways we will be back in a few days. Any bike trip that involves Penang should start in Penang. Our quandry is that after feasting in Penang, we ride out but will still be coming back to the island, mainly because we also fly home from of the airport. Ride hard and eat less. That might work. Might.

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Love Lane lamplights under a full moon.

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At Rm$90, this is the deal for an overly famous Penang downtown hotel. OK rooms but crazy door slamming neighbours at all hours made for fitful sleep. A restful hotel is only as good as the neighbours you have. Same principle applies to public toilets or even those in $1000 a night hotels. It’s wholly a user problem. God bless ours at the Inn who seemed to be vommiting their lungs out too at 4 am.

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