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We're Not There Yet

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The Best Restaurant in the World – Pulau Weh, Indonesia -> Kuala Lumpur -> Penang, Malaysia | We're Not There Yet

Sign at an airport in Indonesia

Yes, we went back for more. Our flight from Band Ache to KL was all of two hours long, but in that time we wrapped up a whole, huge chapter of our trip and were about to finalize the plans that would see us home in the US within 2 months time. We were a little sad to be leaving Indonesia, especially on such a high note as that paradise that is Pulau Weh, but we had plenty to look forward to. I’m talking about food, of course.

Is it weird that this photo makes me hungry? Indian food, Chinese food, and Malay food: Malaysia’s got it all!

We stopped in KL long enough to go down to the Burmese embassy and apply for our visas. We were given a receipt and told to come back in 5 days, so I started to search the Lonely Planet book for places around KL that we hadn’t seen yet. After about 5 minutes of talking it over, we both decided that all we wanted to do in the world was go back to Penang and eat ourselves silly. We had emails and blogging to catch up on and we had to buy tickets to and from Myanmar and figured we might as well hammer out everything else while we were at it.

I’d like to say that we spent our days cruising around on motobikes and discovering all the hidden places we hadn’t seen on our first visit. But we didn’t. We just ate. Usually at the same restaurants, and we were never disappointed. We stayed in a partner hotel of the one we stayed at last time; this time around it was Traveler 75 instead of the Star Lodge, but they are interchangeable with the same cast of weird 50-somthihng white men with ponytails and laptops who never seem to feel it necessary to put on a shirt. These guys just lounge around the hotel’s ‘lobby’ (four chairs and one table, next to the fridge full of Tiger beer) and smile at us strangely when we go out in the world. I’d say they were sex tourists except that I don’t think they’re motivated enough to go out and procure a prostitute- besides, these guys appear to be on tighter budgets than we are. Anyway, they are seemingly harmless and keep to themselves, aside from a little stir when I Skyped my mom from the common area and she saw a mostly naked Ponytail heading towards the shared showers, there were no problems with the other ‘residents’.

Love Lane is the hangout for backpackers and ponytailed middel-aged men

We were there to eat and eat we did. Our dim sum place was the first stop each morning. We were usually too stuffed for lunch, but we’d sometimes find room for a thosai or at least a fruit juice in the afternoon. By evening, we would head out to our favorite Indian restaurant, Sri Ananda Bawan where we would go giddy and just point to things on the menu that we had never heard of and wait to be amazed when piles of bread, fried things, sauces, and vegetables came out. The waiters loved us because we’d always order big (and finish most of what we ordered), but our checks rarely came out to more than $15 no matter how extravagant we’d try to be. This is pricey by Malaysian standards, but when you’re spending like it’s on fire and you can’t even break $20, life is good.

Best. Dim. Sum. Ever.


The streets of Little India

Before we knew it, 5 days had passed and we needed to be back in KL to collect our passports and visas and go. I wanted to feel guilty about not having seen more of Malaysia, which both of us rank as one of our favorite countries we’ve ever visited, but we were so happy and content with our stay in Penang. Besides, it was a productive trip. Not only did we book our roundtrip tickets to Myanmar, but we also bought tickets for Korea, Tokyo, and California. It is official: we are coming home! June 24th, LAX, then the homecoming tour.

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