Make the trip or not was my dilemma until that Sunday night, Monday morning, even.
And then, I decided to go. The child and I, to a new country for a total of four days, travel included. It was more like two days, plus the travel days to and from with flights in the middle of the day leaving you little to do around those. But, I’m NOT complaining.
The news of schools closing a week earlier than the Chinese New Year break to contain the flu was making rounds a few weeks ago, but they confirmed it that Wednesday. I spoke to a travel agent on Thursday, got my visa on Friday afternoon and then booked the tickets later that day for this trip starting Monday.
Georgetown was the pick for safety reasons and a relatively decent last minute fare. The capital city of Penang, is a UNESCO heritage site. It is renowned for it’s street food, but not plenty vegetarian options, I am told.
All excitement until Saturday night when the child got fever. Sunday morning and I was very keen to cancel the trip. For the child’s sake, but more because I was chickening out. I was sure I’ll be cancelling it until around 9:30 AM Monday when I decided to face my apprehensions and give it a go.
Picture this – feeling like a superwoman [with my hair blowing in style, trumpets in the background] as I equipped with essential oils like rosemary, lemon, tea tree, lavender to keep viruses away from the child, I started packing.
Packed one carry-on for the both of us. Read dumped clothes (beacuse I didn’t want to buy more there in Penang) and moisturizers (the child’s eczema) and toothbrush (an attempt to be green), collected the accommodation and return flight prints for immigration and off we went.
I was really nervous of this travel alone with the child (understatement of the year already), but there’s no other way I’d know if I could do it. Got early to the airport (I prefer it that way), called the maternal and paternal grandmoms to get their blessings and a little later, we’re on our way. The child, who was so tired and I thought would sleep soon after, watched TV the whole time in the flight. Not at all surprising for people who know his father 😉
On the flight, it was amusing watching the child relish his ice cream, juice and TV while I happily polished up both the portions of bhindi and chana daal of the requested Hindu vegetarian meals!
We Cheers!ed with apple juice and red wine (because no whiskey). And had a good flight. Spilt juice and dripped ice cream don’t and didn’t bother me. But the hubster!? Oh, well, he wasn’t there.
By the time we got to our hotel, it was 20:30. Went to the room to tidy up a little and then came to one of the hotel’s restaurants for a quick dinner. I wasn’t too hungry but came hoping the child would eat, but he didn’t. Not even his dessert. We hurried back to the room, the child took his shower, wailed for five minutes and then slept off in five seconds. It was almost 22:30 and I couldn’t have blamed him for being cranky.
The next morning, waking up late at 8:30, we spent over an hour and a half at breakfast where the child took his own time to play with food and his truck. Strangely enough, the breads, muffins, crackers didn’t go down his throat as quickly or easily as I thought they would. The fruits did. Yay!
We had the breakfast at Planters Lounge with a great view, your continental kind breakfast replete with quite a few varieties of breads, croissants, muffins, fresh and dried fruits, milks, yogurts, tea, coffee and juices.
By the time we got ready and got out of the hotel, it was around 11:45. Walked a bit to get some currency exchanged, got to Komtar via the free CAT shuttle and then ended up spending a good 45 minutes to get a SIM card. From Komtar bus stop, got to Penang Hill by bus 204. And that was the same bus back. Great views from up there, after the funicular ride.
Some coconut ice cream up there. More like coconut sorbet.
Was lazy to go to the Kek Lok Si temple, which was relatively easy from here but it was enough for the day.
The wait for the 204 bus was long, but super cheap. A hop-on hop-off would’ve been a better idea, in hind-sight.
We came back to the hotel to enjoy their 17:00 refreshments. This included red and white wines, whiskey, gin, vodka, juices, cheese, finger cheese sandwiches, peanuts and cakes for the vegetarians.
Met an extremely friendly and nice, elderly couple, chatted with them for a bit while sipping on my wine, got their blessings and then quickly got ready to go for a quick dinner at Veloo Villas. And after that, it was a wrap for the day following the usual bathing brushing regimen for the child and I.
The next day started around 8:30 too, followed by leisurely breakfast again, at Sarkies this day. Sarkies had all that the Planters Lounge offered and more. Much varieties of breads and muffins, both sweet and savoury. Cakes, doughnuts, fresh fruits, dried fruits yogurt, milk, tea, coffee, teh tarik, crepes, waffles, pancakes, roti canai, noodles, dumplings, fresh juices, cheese, crackers.
The outdoor seating was packed so we sat inside.
After finishing breakfast, and getting ready to step out, it was again past 11:30. I first chose to take the CAT bus and walk around, but realizing the hand-drawn rickshaw (also known as trishaw) tour might be an easier option, opted for that. I did their street art tour.
Georgetown is famous for their graffiti and we covered a lot of them. And the clan jetties, Khoo Khungsi temple and the famous mosque. This was for about an hour or more. And a bit more for us because we squeezed in lunch at Woodlands as well.
Enjoyed the refreshments at the hotel a bit too well to call it dinner, because I was tired to step out. Or maybe lazy. Or call it vacation?
And then it was a wrap! Not bad for an impromptu and almost solo trip earlier this February.