Which means flower cape is home to the Copthorne Orchid Hotel where we are to lay our weary heads for a month. Let me be clear, it has seen better days, much better days indeed in the 1980’s it must have been quite a classy joint but now it is most certainly in the sunset of it’s career as an hotel. Quite how the maintenance staff keep the whole thing going is one of those marvels of the world. Nothing has been done to the place since it opened in 1979.
Still it is amazingly cheap for a long stay. The deal is room and breakfast for £32 ( $50 ) a night plus 20%off food and 10% off drinks and laundry. The room is huge
plenty of seating area and two double beds. The bathroom is a wonder of old style plumbing and a team of plumbers somehow keep things kind of working though the odd flood does occur.
The balcony view from these long stay terrace rooms set well away from the rest of the hotel is superb
Nice to wake up to every morning and with the large patio door slightly open at night you sleep to the sound of the waves breaking on the small beach alongside
Swimming in Penang is not for the feint of heart. You have to be very brave or maybe very foolish. There are thousands of jelly fish waiting to sting you, loads of sea snakes waiting to bite you or plenty of catfish lying in the shallows which if you stand on one will push three or four barbs up through your foot. Still the old Copthorne has a big swimming pool
a few lengths of that and you know you’ve had a swim.
Opposite the hotel is an hawkers food market with loads of different food sellers. The great news is that the price of large bottle of beer ( 660cl) there is 13.5 ringits so we have come down from the hawker stalls in K. L. at 20 ringits to 15 ringits in George Town and now a more manageable price here . It is in fact about £2.15 a pint in UK money which is 70 pence more than we pay in Puglia. The food is cheaper than George Town too with a set (10 pieces ) of satay at 7 ringits ( £1.30) and two huge bowls of noodles and chicken for 6 ringits.
At night as you enjoy a well deserved night cap the cruise ships sail out of George Town and light up the horizon as they file past and stop to drop the pilot just outside the window it seems.
I am drinking a cup of tea with leaves from Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands . In the old days the British Tea plantation owners would come to Penang for R&R away from their secluded lives up on the plantation. P&O my old company sailed ships in to Penang from Britain and often the tea planters would go out to the ships and visit them. One tea planter was well known by the officers and a heavy drinker to boot. He would often keep drinking and the officer of the watch would drop him with the pilot onto the pilot boat.
One year he was due his 1 years leave back in Blighty so joined the ship put his bags in his cabin and started drinking heavily in various officer’s cabins and on deck. The officer of the watch unaware he was a passenger ensured he was dropped with the pilot as always and the poor guy awoke the next morning in the pilot’s office while his ship and bags were on their way to Blighty.