On Skinny Dipping in the Pacific

We skinny-dipped after dark amidst slow waves in warm water.

Sunday, June 23

I arrived late in the evening in Penang after 40 hours of straight traveling and 24 hours of fasting when Urumqi airport wouldn’t take my American credit card. The chicken burger I had at the airport was the best burger I have ever had. I waited for five of my IMSA friends at the airport for another hour and a half, before we called a Grab to our Airbnb. Unfortunately, only Rajiv had Grab downloaded and so the driver was kind enough to call us another.

By the time we fumbled our way into our twelfth floor apartment, it was past midnight, and so all of us just took turns showering before crashing.

Monday, June 24

We woke late the next morning—around 11 am. We were quite hungry and so after washing up headed into the downtown area of Georgetown to stop at Hameediyah Restaurant that Quinn found. It was an Indian diner that served up platefuls of food from massive platters on display. JJ and I shared cause the plates were absolutely massive. Stuffed, we walked around until we hit upon a cute coffee shop, Rabbit Hole.

The opening to the shop was this rotating class wall. At first we thought the shop consisted of just a single counter, but it turned out that the fridge actually led to a two story sit down area! We also had the best thai tea ice cream I have ever tasted. After, literally, chilling for an hour, we headed back outside to brave the heat. JJ needed a local SIM card and so we headed to the nearest mall. He wasn’t able to get his SIM cause he didn’t have his passport, but Rhea picked up three cute pairs of shoes.

By this time, it was around 4 o’clock and so we headed to the most famous temple, Kek Lok Si. Our Grab driver laughed at us because the temple closed at 6. Still, we powered on and hopped on the very last furnicular up the mountain to the massive Buddha statue at the top. Unfortunately, this meant that we had to walk down, so, after buying some prayer ribbons and incense to pay respect to our ancestors, we started on the trek down. It ended up only taking 15 minutes.

After a final bathroom run, we caught a Grab back to the city. We had the intention of trying street food, but after Rhea saw a massive rat the size of a small cat, we headed to the local eatery Yeap noodles instead. The noodles Quinn and I originally ordered were so spicy they were inedible. Overall, I was generally unimpressed with the establishment.

After dinner, we got dessert at a small dessert café nearby. While the ambiance was cute, the apple crumble and brownie we ordered were a disappointment. After a sequence of culinary disappointments, we headed to Wheeler’s for a night out on the town. Alcohol tends to be quite expensive in Malaysia, and we had just hit happy hour. Between the six of us, we ordered three towers of cocktails and played Uno with soggy Uno cards. Altogether, the cocktails were terrible but did their job. This was the first time we were all really able to catch up as a group and it was super fun hearing about everyone’s experiences in college and reminiscing about high school.

A quick run to the grocery store later, we headed to the beach to just chill. After we moved away from the lights of the nearby restaurants, Rhea suggested skinny-dipping and so almost all of us decided to do so. The water was actually super warm and the sand was super soft and we so just floated and talked before heading to bed.

Tuesday, June 25

We woke up super late today with the intention of going to the beach. The restaurant we initially wanted to go to actually closed for lunch and wasn’t open until dinner and so we headed to the nearest establishment, Rubin Mardini, which actually had a higher rating on Google. The server was super nice, as we ordered salad, juice, lentils, chicken and lamb. He even offered us free tea after. Everything was very delicious.

Stuffed, we began our original itinerary of just hanging out at the beach. Some hawkers tried to sell us jet-skis at American prices and we declined. After a couple of hours of fooling around and attempted acrobatics in the ocean, we took a Grab to Penang Hill Station. Although we had meant to watch the sunset, by the time we arrived, it was already dark.

Still the view from the top was spectacular. We took some photos and had dinner at David Brown’s Restaurant. The ambiance was amazing and the food was alright but definitely overpriced. Almost all of us ordered pasta. After a slow dinner, we headed back down the furnicular and took a Grab home. We then headed to bed for our 6 am flight the next morning.

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