October 21, 2016

21 October 2016 Kayaking on Brunswick River

Bit of breakfast in my room then off to find some decent books. The one I got out of the library is not thrilling me at all. Op shops are the best source of everything up here. Vinnies is frequented by a constant stream of tourists. Couple of books in my bag, I stopped at the Bayleaf for a coconut and berry drink and another version of banana bread. Very popular here.

Got picked from Ruskin House and travelled to Brunswick Heads for my kayaking experience on the Brunswick River by Go Sea Kayak.

Took a while to wait for another bus and get the kayaks off the trailer to the river. I went with the instructor because I didn’t have a partner. Good move. She was always in front and I heard everything she said about where we were and what was going on.

The wind was stiff heading away from where we got in the water. On the way we saw a few stingrays, one was mostly buried in the sand with his tail hanging out. Some fish darted in and out of the mangroves as we glided by.

Stopped on the beach at the heads to check out any whales passing by and to have some fruit. There were whales but I wasn’t quick enough to see them.

Back in the kayak with the wind this time but against the tide. Wouldn’t have wanted it to be much longer than the two hours it was. I will have sore arms tomorrow! Waiting for Go Sea Kayak to put up the photos on Facebook. Hope there’s some good ones.

Ventured out to have Pinang curry at Success Thai just down the road for me. Byron Bay is jumping as usual. I am so tired I just want to go to bed!

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October 21, 2016

20 October 2016 Farmers Market Byron Bay

Woke up a little later than usual, about 9am. Had breakfast at my accommodation then walked to the farmers market. Lots of people about, many of them dressed as if they came straight from the 1970s. Many of the shops play ‘70s music. I feel like I’m in a time warp!

Didn’t see Ruth or Peter there so I continued along Bangalow Rd to their house. They weren’t home so I kept walking along Bangalow Rd to The Ranch and stopped for cacao milk and banana cake.

Walked back to Ruskin House and read for a bit. Went back to Ruth’s place to pick up a bike and rode towards the lighthouse. The Pass wasn’t open so I kept going and stopped at Top Shop. Had more chocolate milk and banana cake! Back to Ruskin House for a shower and read a bit.

Wandered down to the Rails to meet Ruth, Peter, Ollie and Kim (from Sydney) for dinner. Had the salmon, which was very tasty. The entertainment was quite loud and not good for conversation. Ollie and Kim are doing the yoga retreat. Had a couple of drinks and then back to Ruskin House.

October 19, 2016

19 October 2016 Byron Bay

img_0995Cape Byron State Conservation Area

Out for breakfast at the Byronian Cafe for porridge with berries and almonds. Very filling. I take a walk towards the beach, along the foreshore and up to the Byron Bay lighthouse. It is very pleasant weather, not too hot. There are many others out walking. Someone spots some dolphins in the water below so I watch them until they disappear. There are numerous sightings of whales as well and I finally get to see them and photograph them although they are a fair way away. From the lighthouse I walk towards Wategos Beach. A tourist is trying to see what’s making a rustling sound in the bush. We can hear it but can’t see it. It remains a mystery. Another tourist sees a snake. I keep walking!

I stop for lunch at The Pass Cafe. A pair of colourful birds stop to play in front of me. Of course I’m too slow to get a photo but the picture is still in my head. Keep going past Clarke’s Beach towards the town centre. Take a ‘shortcut’ down Patterson St, past Evans St where the yoga retreat will be, towards Top Shop Cafe and back to Ruskin House. Good to know there is only 1km between the two places I will be staying.

Spend some time relaxing in the courtyard of my accommodation. Venture out again but I have trouble locking the door of my room. Not sure if I’m holding my mouth right but it’s not working for me. I seek out Gavin who tries another key that works perfectly. It’s not just me!

Off for another walk around town. Settle on Mexican (again) at Miss Margarita. Get a mojito while I wait for a table. Doesn’t take that long but the wait for someone to take my order stretches beyond what is reasonable. I’m not in a hurry though and when my nachos finally come they are worth the wait.

October 19, 2016

18 October 2016 Melbourne to Byron Bay

Craig picked me up to go to the airport but by the time we were halfway there I got a text to say my flight had been delayed to 2pm. Oh well, kept going and I killed a couple more hours.

Terminal 4 is interesting. Jetstar has grown a bit since last year. They require you to check into a ‘kiosk’ to get your boarding pass and luggage tag. I already had my boarding pass but it spat out another one anyway. Putting my luggage on the conveyor belt was fun. It wouldn’t accept my suitcase until I took off every other old sticker. Took a while to realise that was the problem though!

The waiting area is full of eateries and not many other kinds of stores. There wasn’t any place I could sit without hearing noise from screens or advertising, not to mention the constant information from airlines about flights. It did my head in.

Finally my flight was open so then I traipsed along to Gate 44, which is not the furthest away but quite a long way. More waiting while people disembarked the plane.

On the plane I was boxed in with a family beside me and behind me. I know the little boy didn’t really know any better but my patience for small children is zilch when they are constantly kicking my seat from behind or slamming the table into it. Daddy was next to me and did request he stop but it didn’t really work. It was a long 2 hours.

By this time I really need to get to my accommodation to chill out a bit but wait, there’s more waiting! The shuttle bus has to wait for another plane to arrive before we can move off after another half an hour delay.

I get to Ruskin House about 5pm (instead of 3pm) and have to call Lucie to come and let me in. She is volunteering for a film festival on here at the moment. My room is great. Just what I’m after. Finally I can relaaaaxxxx . . .

After settling in I take a walk down Jonson St, which leads straight to the beach. I wander around re-acquainting myself with the area and settle on a couple of tacos at Chihuahua for dinner. Catch a drumming band on the way back and the supermarket beckons so I get supplies for my stay.

 

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September 28, 2016

28 September 2016 Last day in Penang

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Our room – top floor, middle window

Had breakfast outside at Sarkies today, until it started peeing down and we rushed inside. Waved goodbye to Peter at 10am. He’s back to Cambodia today. I don’t leave the hotel until 3pm so there’s a bit of time to kill. Got upgraded to business class again! Yay! So I can wallow in the lounge to kill time until my flight at 6pm tonight. I could do a bit more shopping as my luggage limit is 40kg now!

Went for another walk to kill time before I need to get out of my room. I got a later check-out but only till 1pm. Found Campbell St where food/meat/veg/fruit markets are. Also found a fabric shop. Couldn’t resist!

Going to ride the free bus to kill a bit more after I check out.

The CAT bus meanders around Penang with no apparent reason for the way it goes. It took about an hour with traffic to get back to the same bus stop near E&O. I had to get off at the bus station at the piers and get on another bus to keep going but I got did it.

September 27, 2016

27 September 2016 Back to Clan Jetties

img_0625Caught the shuttle bus to Batu Feringgi where the O&E Hotel, Lone Pine, is to pick up more passengers. The shuttle driver was a maniac. On to Straits Quay, which is a large new shopping complex. Devoid of personality and so humongous we took half an hour to look around and decided to get the next shuttle boat out of there! The shuttle boat ride gave us the opportunity to see Penang from the water. We talked to another passenger who is a resident and she told us that E&O own a heap of real estate and are planning to cover part of the water with a hotel – a la Dubai.

It was a big rough getting in to the dock but we made it.

I took a walk back to the Clan Jetties to pick up a seal I ordered yesterday. They look pretty spectacular. It was worth the weight. They have a horse symbol on the top and our names in Chinese characters in the seal with the date.

CF food court is handy to stop for lunch. I have the duck and rice but it is mostly bone. Find a Magnum ice-cream on the way back and eat that before having a look at an art gallery. No one about so I just wander in.

Met Peter at the pool after I got back. It rained a little bit but not enough to stay indoors. Stayed there for a while reading. It really is a great way to relax.

Peter left then went to Farquhar’s Bar so I met him in there and we had dinner at Olives, which is not far from E&O. Peter chose Irish stew – bad choice! My biriyani was great with a mix of meats. A mojito washed it down. Our last dinner in Penang. Really sad that our holiday is coming to an end. It has been wonderful.

September 26, 2016

26 Sep 2016 Walk around Penang

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Chinese seals with horses carved into the top

Breakfast at Sarkies was leisurely this morning. No plans. I left Peter in the room and walked to the Clan Jetties again. Perusing the many shops along the way, hardware, framing, pod hotels. Wandered around the jetties are a myriad of houses/huts/walkways. Some you can walk down, some are private. It is hard to tell which is which though.

On the way back to the hotel I found a ratten maker and Chinese seal cutter close together. The seal cutter was just opening and I sat and looked at what he had. Intricately carved figures on the top of three sizes of seal. Just tell him what you want on the seal and he will do it for you. Need to go back tomorrow to pick my order up.

Back at the hotel I come out again with Peter and we go to get some money changed. The Odeon Trick Art Cafe is across the road near the corner of Penang and Chulia roads so we try it out. It was once a 1920s theatre and has some strange displays that I think is the ‘trick art’. Lunch is teriyaki chicken for me and cajun chicken for Peter. Food was okay, surroundings were pleasant.

Off to the pool for my daily dip and reading session after lunch. Peter joins me eventually. It would be really nice to stop in Penang on a cruise, I think, as a ship glides into Penang Harbour.

September 26, 2016

25 Sep 2016 Taxi to . . .

img_0510Hire a taxi for the day to take us to Penang Hill where there is a funicular train. The queue looks daunting but the taxi driver tells us to go through the fast lane. Still a fair queue in front of us but not as bad as we thought. The view from the top is not very clear, which is disappointing, so we came down.

On to Kek Lok Si Temple, which is Chinese and fairly impressive. A 30m bronze Kuan Yin statue that can be seen for miles around. We bought a tile for the roof and had it inscribed with our wedding anniversary date and names so hopefully it will be there for a long time. We also lit a candle.

On to Batu Ferringhi Beach, which is so similar to Surfers Paradise. Very touristy and very hard to get to the actual beach. We passed a few market stalls and got to the sand, saw a couple going up in a parachute then back to the taxi.

Entopia, is a butterfly farm but also for other bugs and their lifecycles. Bigger than the enclosure at Melbourne Zoo. Some of the butterflies are truly beautiful but it is hard to capture them with your camera as they flit around so quickly.

Fatty Loh’s Chicken Rice is on the way back to the hotel so we stop there for lunch. Interesting place with many old wares all over the walls. Finally tasted hainan chicken.

Relax at the pool for a long time. Read my book and update Facebook with photos of our wedding for our 40th anniversary. Hard to believe it has been so long, until I look in the mirror!

Dinner is at the Planters Lounge at E&O. Very quiet, probably because it’s Sunday. We both have the filet mignon, which is very tender. I have a passionfruit meuille feille dessert but it’s not what I expect with pastry.

September 24, 2016

24 Sep 2016 Northam Beach Cafe

Caught a taxi to the Northam Beach Cafe, which is really a food court with lots of varieties of food situated right on the beach. Hai B Seafood had the best sweet and sour pork for me, ribs and honey chicken for Peter. The glass of pineapple juice was enormous. We left before the cheesy entertainment started. Our taxi picked us up 1 1/2 hours after he dropped us off. Perfect timing.img_0437

September 24, 2016

24 Sep 2016 Clan Jetties and street art

IMG_0393.JPGPeter makes a route to go to the Clan Jetties and then see the tons of street art nearby.
I spot The Camera Museum on the way. It is worth a look. So many different cameras that I used to have! We get in the back way via Over Exposed cafe and stop for a drink on the way out.
There are so many shops the Heritage area that have not changed in a long time. Hardware stores that Craig would love! Also plenty of temples. I find the artisan batik shop and am tempted to buy more than the one serong. Through Little India drawn by the aromas. Spot an old printers shop with an archaic press. Dimattina Coffee is served at the Black Kettle!
Many sculptures and street art in this area.
The Clan Jetties are still people’s homes for the families that originally owned them. They make the most of the tourists by having street stalls along the piers. Chew Jetty is the largest.
Stop for lunch at Chew Jetty Cafe. Not sure what I ate but it had a massive spoonful of chili in it! The owner gives us a map with the street art so we explore a bit more. Also find an artisan beaded shoemaker. Three months to make one pair!
Get a taxi back to the hotel as we are both exhausted. At the pool now. Great place to relax.