As first timers in Penang we’ve been welcomed by crowded streets full of noisy tourists, extremely high prices (or so we felt back then), hideously ugly and dirty beach of Batu Ferringi and in general – nothing you can call nice.
But Penang got another chance. They say there’s only one chance to make first impression and it’s not so easy to replace bad taste with a good second impression. Penang made it.
Like Alice we looked through the looking glass and experienced the place in a fresh , new, more positive way.
After getting 2 weeks’ visa stamp from the rude guy on the Thai border on the way from Pulau Besar, we had no choice but to go back from Koh Lanta by the time visa ends and get the long term visa from the embassy or consulate in Malaysia. Still not sure why we didn’t go for KL and the embassy with quick visa process (so the other travellers told us, many of those who stay longer in Thailand sooner or later will have their visa run excursions). Well, maybe few more hours in the bumpy minivan was just too much to bare
So after 18h, 3 minivans and one try to scam us on money for already paid trip we arrived in Red Inn, the not so cheap but friendly, clean and well located guesthouse in the centre of Georgetown. One good thing – we went through the bridge so there was no need to visit ugly Butterworth.
But Penang is Penang, even through the looking glass there had to be unpleasant surprise – cracked screen in our laptop. Too tired to even bother we left worries for tomorrow.
Next morning with our passports, photocopied as well, 2 passport sized photos and 110 RM per person we headed to the Thai consulate. As the GPS told us it’s just 4km from the guesthouse, we opted for a walk. As we were passing ACER headquarters we thought – why not, let’s ask, maybe they can help us fix the screen.
This afternoon we not only had our 60 days’ visas (visa form completed by 11.30, visa permit obtained at 3.30PM) but also thanks to most helpful ACER employees our ultrabook got a brand new screen. Not a bad outcome of a day, I’d say
Funny how nice the place looked from then – vegetarian eateries run by Chinese here and there, yummy Indian food, lovely temples. On the third day packed and ready we headed back to Thailand, this time to Koh Tao for a couple days of diving. It didn’t quite ended like that for us, but that’s another story.