Parit Buntar to Georgetown

Short ride (40k) into the city. Stopped for a great Indian breakfast, had roti and some kind of enormous slightly fermented batter pancake with tons of little dips. Stopped again at a Starbucks in “Icon City,” a strange fake modern town, for coffee and a bathroom.

Some intense highway riding into town and to the ferry. Passed by a monkey on a bridge eating a bag of spicy peanuts. Snack monkey! We saw some other bikers in the ferry line and chatted with them on the boat. A couple, Chris and Nick from New Zealand. They’re at the tail end of a seven month tour—started in Europe then a month each in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia. They fly out of Singapore in a few days. Fun to talk to them and hear about their trip, sounded both fun and strange to be gone for seven months. They were crazy tan.

Said goodbye and rode off the ferry, short trip through town to our hotel, the Noordin Street House. Really lovely place. Our room wasn’t ready yet, so we sat in the cafe and had a long lunch. Then upstairs, past a gorgeous sitting room and a sun room and a rooftop deck to our sweet room. We napped for a bit and then went down to their pool, sort of tucked inside the building. Covered but still felt outside. They brought us afternoon tea! Great tea and super weird sandwiches with half a jar of mayo.



Then back up to the room to shower and rest, and look for a place in Langkawi. Hard to find a spot: all of the cheap places look kind of grim and all of the nice places are crazy expensive. Went back and forth for a while, Stuart being very patient. Me kind of going into an anxiety spiral. The way that thinking about going home makes Stuart uncomfortable, thinking about money makes me uncomfortable. We are fine financially for this trip, thanks to generous honeymoon gifts, but it still feels weird to just blow money.

Finally got out of the hotel and walked toward dinner in the old part of town. Passed by a big market in front of a mall (called the Cosmic Leisure Cafe!) and stopped for a bowl of laksa. Funky and sweet and spicy—kind of good and kind of weird, had a sweet/funky combo that was  little too close to barf for me, really. Then on through pretty old streets, past neat old buildings, to the China House, which was recommended by the New York Times. They  made it sound like a big warehouse with tons of shops and restaurants—really not that big, but still neat. Lovely garden in the center of it all with a long pool and lots of trees with far-reaching branches, all spangles with little red strips of fabric for the New Year. We walked back into the restaurant and they were playing “Baby,” the song we danced to at our wedding! Couldn’t believe it. Love that song. Written by two lovesick teenage boys in the Washington woods, and getting played at a bar in Malaysia. Made us both happy. We had Tiger beers then walked toward a street a gal at the hotel had recommended for street food. Found it, but it was kind of mayhem so instead we went to another NYT pick, Tek Sen. Big and old but nicely updated. Sat on little stools at a metal table under the awning and had wing beans with little prawns and spicy sweet roasted pork belly—at first seemed too sweet but turned out to be so good. One of the best meals of the trip. Malaysian food is good, but heavy. Looking forward to vegetables and fruit in Thailand!


Walked back to the hotel and back to bed. So tired. Slept in a little. Had breakfast downstairs, great smoothie and fresh fruit: watermelon, papaya, honeydew. Walked to the Choeng Tze Fatt mansion for a tour. Now it’s a hotel, but it was was a rich Chinese guy’s house in the 1800s. So beautiful and lushly detailed. Interesting combo of East and West—Chinese screens and then fancy cast iron work. Really neat tour, and we didn’t want to leave so we had lunch there. Set lunch: 35 ringgit for salad with prawns, then crispy rice with seafood soup, which turned out to be rice crispies and some fish in broth (actually good), and dessert. Stuart had mango cream and ice cream, delicious, I had some “sea coconut” thing—odd dried fruit and lychee jelly. Strange. Stuart said it was dolphin balls. Heee.