Travel Journal Asia 1982 Day 9

Thursday June 24th 1982

During the evening when we left there was tv switched on. We could see that Princess Diana had delivered a baby but didn’t know whether it was a boy or a girl as the news was in Malay.

Prince William had actually been born on the evening of June 21st but news didn’t travel quite so quickly back then.

The journey was eventful. We crossed the Malaysian border without any delays and stopped at 3:30am at a roadside stall in the middle of nowhere. A lot of people got off the bus and bought food at this unearthly hour. During the stop a guy who was clearly insane got on the bus. J pretended to be asleep so I decided that was a good option only to be bashed over the head with a newspaper! I still pretended to be asleep but he continued to whack me over the head with the paper. I was muttering to J to do something, but she ignored me. In the end, I opened my eyes and looked at him. With wild eyes, he informed me he kills people and then he left… scary.

We arrived in Butterworth which is about halfway up Malaysia and well north of Kuala Lumpar which we had decided to bypass. The main reason for being here is to go to Penang. We spent 14 hours on the overnight coach arriving at 9am this morning. We froze most of the night as the air conditioning blasted through. I had almost the whole contents of my bag draped over me by the time we arrived!

As soon as we got off the bus we had to fight off crowds of men trying to carry our bags! We went to the ticket office to buy tickets to go to Haadyai in Thailand leaving on Monday. The town had been recommended by Suzie’s father.

After this, we took the free ferry across to Penang. The journey was only 15 minutes but we met a guy called Beng who offered to drive us to a hotel. We were having to use our judgement now and decided he was trustworthy (or thin enough to be overwhelmed if we got into trouble!). During the car journey we travelled through Penang’s major city, Georgetown; it was horrible. Not only heaving with people, it was smoggy and every driver had a death wish. Horns honking, maniacs on motorcycles, no respect for right of way… I won’t go on. Beng took us to a hotel called The Park Motel in a place called Tanjong Tokong. It looks relatively new so we decided to stay.

Penang is different to Singapore but appears westernised in many ways. It’s hot at 35˚C. We took a walk along the beach only to be followed by a guy masturbating. After yelling at him to get lost, we tried to ignore him and continued our walk. What with the newspaper bashing and the sex-starved maniac, Malaysia wasn’t turning out to be a sanctuary.