Penang - Not Just a Tasty Dish

Munchin' on the World Heritage Listed George Town, Penang. What? You can't do that to a WHL site? 

We got to have a small taste of Penang Island, Malaysia on our way to Thailand December, 2015. We loved the vibrant mix of cultures from immigrants settling from all over Asia. That meant there was a variety of food choices that had to be sampled. 


Playing with the street art in George Town, Penang.

Exploring the street art of George Town's crumbling British Empire buildings and the almost too perfect 'Bollywood set' looking streets of Little India, was so interesting, We decided we had to live here for a few months to let it soak in. We had to head to Thailand for Christmas and the overland trip to Cambodia that we planned a while back to catch up with friends, so long term stay in Penang had to wait until Chinese New Year. 


Chinese New Year - year of the Monkey. Penang put on a spectacular show, thousands of lanterns all over the city, random dragon dancing. Fireworks scareing away demons and household pets and the eyeball blowing Kek Lok Si, with its gazillion Christmas lights and lanterns. I'd hate to be the one who has to take those down.

We met up with another cruising family - Tucker, Vic and their two squids Ruby & Miles. They shared their Penang discoveries with us, the most fun was 'The Safe Room Cafe'. The Safe Room's signature was to liquid nitrogen the f*%k out of all the food. The best was the liquid nitrogenised 'Dragon Popcorn' that makes you breathe out a stream of a dragon. 

See the giant Lego robber climbing the wall? 

During our 4 month stay in Penang, the boat was hauled out at PEN Marine boat yard for anti-fouling (we all needed a bit of anti-fouling) and some modifications. There was no way I was going to live on the boat in the stinking hot boat yard, so we rented an apartment with a kickass pool(s) and a/c. I used the time to be productive with my cartooning work. I was lucky to have landed a short animation job for Johnson & Johnson, so it was perfect timing to be land based. I would wake up, do some yoga, make breakfast, work a few hours, go for a swim, lunch, work till Captain and the squids got back from the boat yard, go out for a bite then back to tooning till around 2am. 

Making animals of ourselves at the local 'Hawker Stands'. Indian, Korean, Japanese and Local dishes on offer and cost so little money. All four of us can eat and drink for under $10 in total. Cooking in the apartment was not an option.

Boaty being hauled back into the water. All the work done and extremely happy with the price and work done by PEN Marine - Especially since we need to watch our pennies as the four of us live off my modest cartoonist wage.

 Now Time to leave and meet our friends from the sail boat 'Conrad' and make a quick run up to Thailand for a few days.

Sipping a 'Singapore Sling' on my Doof bag, getting drunk enough that I can't see just how septic the Malacca Strait's waters are.


Drinking is also effective in calming the nerves as you sail the Malacca Strait.  There have been a few stories going around about cruisers having fishermen set their illegal drift nets onto anchored boats and demand to be paid for damage done to the net that's wrapped around the sail boat. One guy said he had a machete waved at him. A few dozen cans of pepper spray on board sounds like a great idea. There's also still piracy along the Strait, but they seem to have their eyes on the Tankers, to hijack and then siphon off the oil to sell on the black market.

Sydney making her 'Wallace' face - from Wallace and Grommit. A mostly chilled out trip to Singapore so far.. The new beanbags are getting a real workout. 

One of the highlights was exploring a deserted resort on an island just off the the coast of Malacca. It was a thriving resort with a massive golf course 20 years ago, but not sure why it shut down....Heh, funny, none of us noticed that before - sign warning that trespassers will have their heads blown off? We did run into the security guard before returning to the boat. I think he was happy he had someone around to talk to. We just smiled and nodded as he chatted away in Malay. 

Stay 'tooned' as I sail into the sunset Bound for Singapore. Ps. If you go sailing, I highly recommend keeping a flowing cape stashed away for afternoons like these. 

Sarah Steenland

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