Monday, May 21, 2012


There were omens. Once the date was set for our marriage registration, we went to travel agents to work out our honeymoon arrangements, but quickly discovered Wednesday and Thursday departures were scarce. We had wanted to go to Thailand but an earthquake and tsunami warnings caused a lot of people to cancel plans, and airlines to cancel flights - and we wanted direct flights as well. Then we discovered a mid-week flight to Penang - but departures were arriving at 10:00pm and the return flight would leave Penang at 9:05am, meaning that we'd lose both travel days completely. Penang won out though - the idea of three whole days of swimming, eating and sleeping was to powerful.

Fast-forward to the plane descending above Malaysia, the captain spoke first in Mandarin: "....It's raining in Penang, with a temperature of 19 degrees." We took a double-take and waited for the English to confirm the inclement forecast. As it did, we shivered: we had only summer clothes. On the ground, we found a taxi and told the Indian driver to take us to Hydro Hotel, and prodded him about the weather. He said it had been like this for a week. It was raining everyday and was this cool. He weaved through the traffic on a "1 hour" taxi ride to the hotel. When we pulled in, it took a moment to figure out why we were at Hardrock Cafe Hotel. I said our hotel name again. He sighed, pulled back onto the road and criticised my accent.

We backtracked 10 minutes around the coast to our hotel - and despite the omens - everything from then went off like a dream. The weather was as we had imagined prior - hot with occasional thunderstorms bustling and bristling by. Malaysia is reliable for a good range of food and warm water beaches. Three whole days in Penang was never going to be enough but it was a nice time to refresh.

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