Saturday, April 07, 2018

Cruise Day 2 (7th April): Georgetown, Penang (Malaysia)

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Our day began in the laziest of ways - breakfast in our room!
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The combination of a smaller shoebox Cabin compact Stateroom and the legendary in-room Cunard Breakfast meant that there was hardly room for the brekky AND us… but we managed!
Smile with tongue out

The Ship’s connection with the outside world continues to be a problem. Quite apart from no internet connectivity for the Guests (surely the end of the world for some!), there’s no email in or out of the Ship for the Ship’s Staff either - as well as many other essential ship’s services such as checking guests on and off the Ship having to revert to manual means. By lunchtime, it was easy to see that the Staff were just as frustrated as the Guests!

So, today we’re going ashore! and after yesterday’s slightly disorganised affair, we’re doing our own thing. We opted for a walk around Georgetown - literally a few minutes walk from where we docked, and also a UNESCO Heritage Centre. The town is named in honour of George III and is located on the eastern headland of Malaysia and it’s the bustling capital town in Penang (home to almost three-quarters of a million people).

After running the gauntlet through the Terminal with the local Taxi-drivers all promising ‘the-best-tour-in-Malaysia’, we headed out of the relative comfort of the terminal Building and into the hottest and most humid day so far! This was much more uncomfortable than Singapore and we therefore planned our walk accordingly - short!

As you might expect, it’s an old town, combined with a mix of slightly run-down industrial units and much older buildings (dating back to the days of the Empire). An example of the latter, was our first stop…


Fort Cornwallis

No prizes for guessing what this was in its prime! Only 20 Dingbats to get in each (£4). Named after the Governor General of India at the time, it was originally a wooden structure but reinforced in stone by local Indian prisoners. One of the famous relics is one of the weapons of war - a cannon known as Seri Rambai. It’s surely the strangest fertility symbol going as local childless women are still encouraged to fill the weapon with flowers - and in return they’ll be blessed with children.

Governor General Cornwallis
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There’s quite a few bits and bobs to see here, but we were slightly hampered by much of it undergoing renovation.

The Fort is famous for its cannons and its Lighthouse…

Leaving the Fort behind, we continued round the headland and cam across this rather magnificent building…
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With our visit to the Fort over, it was off round the headland towards the Theatre (above)…

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..and then City Hall

By now, we were both turning scarlet with the heat and so we headed back in the direction of the Ship…

…and we finished our short tour passing the Clock tower, that was presented to the town on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee…

It was only when we staggered back into the Terminal, that we noticed the name above the entrance - ‘Swettenham Pier’ - How appropriate!!
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After a quick refresh back on-board , we found a suitable spot on deck that combined a bit of Sun, but with (the more important) breeze where we caught up with our reading and podcasts. At just after 3pm, all electronic communication was restored to the Ship - as were the smiles of the Staff and many Passengers!

It was a quick change of clothes for the Restaurant before heading for the Theatre and ‘Celia and Julien’ - part of the Cirque de Soleil phenomenon.

Tomorrow would have been a Tour to the famous cable-car at Langkawi (that runs to the top of Mount Gunung Macinchang, but it was cancelled for technical reasons, so it’ll be another day of doing our own thing here in Malaysia.