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Khalib left for Penang late last night to participate in a mountain bike race. After all the rain I can only imagine that the course is a crazy muddy mess. Good luck to him! Khalib's wife made us a fabulous breakfast and the kids escorted us on bikes out to the street as we left. After the torrential rains I expected the road to be flooded but the drainage in Malaysia is amazing. I don't think we have ever seen any flooding. Instead of backtracking to highway 1 we continued around another way. This road circles a big mountain and the halfway point is the city of Kulim. Khalib had given us good directions but sometimes things can look very different on the road. We found our way zig-zagging through this city and then we came to a post office. For some reason we decided this was the place to mail our postcards. Both of us had lots of postcards to mail. I also needed more stamps. Being Sunday I didn't think I could get stamps but there were so many people outside the post office I decided to ask. No problem, the post office is open until 5 on Sunday. I got my stamps and mailed all the postcards. Stamps are super cheap in Malaysia. I think it cost me 30 cents to mail a postcard to the US.
As we got going we noticed a couple of cyclists had stopped up ahead. Turns out they are friends of Khalib just finishing up their ride. What amazing timing! They were very excited to see us and we followed Koh to his home to cool off. Koh didn't live far and he is a very fun guy. He offered us food and drink and even a shower if we wanted. Koh speaks 7 languages and luckily one of them is English. We talked about all kinds of things. This was a very enjoyable visit. His wife came home shortly with food as well but we really only wanted water and time to cool off. Koh wasn't able to make it to the party last night and was very happy to see us on the road.
We started out again through many small towns until we reached Butterworth. There is a beautiful bridge to cross here and then it wasn't far to the ferry we needed to take to Penang Island. Again, timing is everything and we arrived just as a boat was ready to depart. A motorcycle security guy escorted us on to the ferry where we were the last to board. It cost less than $1 for both of us and the trikes. The crossing was quick and then we followed the long line of motorcycles onto Penang Island into Georgetown.
Khalib had given us the name of a guesthouse and even booked a room. With Googemaps we found our way. Georgetown is big and the guesthouse was fairly centrally located. The Doubletree Inn caters to Malay visitors having surgery at a nearby hospital and no one but the owner spoke English. All the signs on the walls were also in Malay. It took a lot of hand gesturing but we got checked into a comfortable room for $18. The guesthouse was also very close to the Thai embassy where we need to go for Thai visas. Penang is a UNESCO world heritage city and I expect we will need a few days to check it all out.
Vendor making apom - a very thin small pancake. 6 pancakes for $1.
Meeting Koh and his friend in Kulim.