Friday, September 26, 2008

TBA Day 14: A Tour, a Garden, and More Butterflies

OK. So, I know that most people who read this blog are just checking in to make sure I’m having fun and/or that I didn’t die or anything while traveling alone through Southeast Asia. If I don’t manage to eat something delicious on a given day, it’s unfortunate for me but I suspect most people reading don’t particularly care… Yet, I realized as I was trying to force myself to leave the hotel (when I just want to go to bed) to go in search of delicious food (which I wasn’t particularly hungry enough to eat) that I’ve been feeling all this self-inflicted pressure to go eat something exciting every day even if doing so would be more work than fun… (And if you are actually reading this just for the food and are annoyed with me for not posting exciting food every day, to you I say “Dude. Get off my back. I’m on vacation…”)

I say all of this by way of apology for the fact that yet again there aren’t any food pictures in this post on my supposedly food-themed blog. I had muesli and an espresso for brekky up in the hotel’s “Leisure Garden,” followed by a fascinating (thousand island dressing? Really?) US$1 egg salad sandwich for lunch at a butterfly park, then a bit of delicious dried chilli pork, a couple crackers, and a beer for dinner (rather than leaving my room). Thrilling, I know… I sure do know how to have amazing culinary adventures, huh?

Now that I have the apologizing out of the way, I had a really lovely day. As I mentioned yesterday, all of the tours of the island had a 2-person minimum. When I was at breakfast, a girl at the next table asked “Are you going on our bus today?” After my answer of “What bus?” it was explained that they had heard that a single lady would be joining their group of 6 (British, German, Irish, and Aussie people aged 19-30 who are on a Bangkok-to-Singapore tour package together) on a tour of the island today. I’m not sure where that rumor started, but I looked into it and it was decided that I would be able to join them. Mostly I just wanted to see a bit of Penang outside of Georgetown, and the tour today accomplished that.

We stopped first at a spice garden, which I think even my gardening-obsessed parents would have found somewhat boring. It was beautiful, but it was still just a bunch of plants… From there we headed out to a butterfly park, where everyone was amazed by how fun such things can be. I actually really enjoyed it even though I’d just been to the one in KL, since the butterflies here seemed happier to get camera time. The white ones that were so elusive in KL were just lounging around waiting for you to photograph them here.
After the butterflies we headed up to take a look at a temple and get a hill-top view of Georgetown. I should mention, by the way, that it was also really nice just taking in the scenery along the coast as we drove from one location to the next. I was talking to an Aussie chick from the group while we were looking out over the city, and we were both surprised by how big and city-like the Georgetown area is. We were both sort of expecting a quaint little island town experience (with great food) when we came to Penang.

The tour group was a really friendly fun group of people, and it was a nice way to spend the day. At this point, though, I think I’m pretty much over this whole “doing stuff” thing and am really ready to get to my bungalow on Ko Phangan on Sunday. Tomorrow I’m hoping to hit the Gurney Drive hawker stalls and/or another culinary spot that I’d so carefully mapped out before my trip. I didn’t anticipate before I came how much I would really just enjoy hanging out in these cities doing nothing in particular. Turns out I’m having a really great time even without the “culinary” aspect of my adventure taking as prominent of a role as I’d planned… Further proof of my new-found philosophy that planning is for losers, I guess…

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