Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Not Getting Things Right - A Day in Batu Ferringhi

Batu Ferringhi, Penang
- Visiting Penang's version of Boracay is a product of exasperation and plans going haywire. I carefully planned the day by waking up at 2AM just to work on my itinerary, but everything went pfft due to a single reason: the new universal charger that I bought from Manila didn't work! Thus I didn't have a working camera! Problem is, all the shops in Penang open very late in the day! I was around the Komtar Mall as early as 8:30AM hoping they would open at 9. Several people I asked had different versions: 9, 9:30, 10AM. No one got it right! The shop I needed leisurely opened at 10:35AM, and i had to get right back to my hotel and wait while it is charging. This took forever! This is the very first time that I drained the battery completely! It is a lesson learned!

As a consequence, I was at the bus station by 2PM just about to start my day. Moreover, the bus (#10) that was supposed to take me to the Botanical Garden where I could hire a 4-wheeler to go up Penang Hill did not arrive at all! So as a whim, I hopped into a bus headed for Batu Ferringhi - 2.70 ringgit. I was tired of waiting all day. And honestly, I do not remember anytime during my travels when my schedule was fucked up so bad! Not even in difficult and remote areas in India or Nepal, but in relatively modern Malaysia!

Seaside Resort Town

Batu Ferringhi is a seaside resort town 15 kilometers away from Georgetown! It reminds me of Pattaya - paragliding, jetskiing, an acceptable beige-hued fine sands, high rise condominiums and hotels like Holiday Inn by the coast. To be honest, it doesn't have the "magic" of Boracay, but the place is acceptable enough as an alternative to the bustle of Georgetown. It won't go down as among my favorites, but it isn't bad.


While waiting for my bus back to the city, I noticed a couple of girls blatantly eyeing me. I look like someone they know?Hmm. When our bus came, they greeted me with a, "Pilipino ka?" (Are you filipino?) It turns out they work in Batu Ferringhi. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to exchange emails addresses or contact numbers. They had to alight from the bus. Work nearby. But it was nice seeing friendly faces who knew I was Pinoy. For a change, I was not Thai, Malay, Indonesian, Lao, Burmese, Korean, Japanese or Chinese. I was and am Filipino! I am pleased.

I am starting to see Malaysia in a different light! Though seemingly well planned, the transportation services in places far from KL are very limited. I remember visiting Terengganu last December, standing by the roadside, waiting for a trishaw, a taxi, a public bus! Nothing! Not for 1 hour! It was that bad! Similar case is true as I am discovering it here - my visit in a Butterworth temple yesterday (where I did not find a taxi or a bus at all - so a temple guy offered to give me a ride after he saw me waiting for almost an hour by the roadside). This was followed by my adventurous visit St. Anne's Shrine at the hilly town of Bukit Mertajam!

All this waiting is wearing me down! Too much waste of precious time! And I just can't help but shake my head! All those missed places - just because of a defective new universal adaptor.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day. This is the Eye in the Sky!

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