April 2, 2013 - Getting the van and bikes out of the container turned out to be a piece of cake. Kelvin, the manager from the shipping office even drove us to the port and did a bunch of the running round with us. This was his first exposure dealing with a carnet de passage and even some of the customs people were a bit vague as to what needed to happen.
Since I was the only one of us who had done the procedure before, I walked with Kelvin into the chief's office and unimpressed with his decorations that would put any five star Western general to shame, pointed out where he needed to stamp and sign our carnets. A quick drive to the container dock and an hour later we had our toys unloaded.
I stuck around in Kuala Lumpur for a few more days and changed out the rear tire and oil filter, set the valves and some other nonsense. The bike also got a wash, it had been since our stay with Stephen in Arizona that it had seen some dedicated water. My next stop was George Town, on Penang island.
George Town is a wonderfully messy UNESCO World Heritage site. I drove around the island which was quite pleasant and then settled down to discover the place on foot.
One of the main attractions is the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. Quite well appointed on the inside too.
The largest Buddha statue in Southern Asia is not too far away from town, part of the Keh Lok Si Temple.
Just walking around George Town with a camera is a pure joy. Especially at night there is a lot of activity.
The concept of a "restaurant" here is nonexistent, by and large. All the best food is served from temporary stalls set up from the afternoon till late at night. The choices are mostly unidentifiable and overwhelming. Local ice cream is a delicacy.
The preferred method of getting around in the old city is still by rickshaw.
The religious mix is interesting and co-exists happily it seems. Mosques, Hindu temples and clusters of the Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian places of worship sit happily within sight of each other. My favorite restaurant is an East Indian joint, serving the traditional meat dishes (pork included) and is frequented by mostly Muslims in traditional dress. Go figure.
There is no shortage of places to photograph.
A stroll at night nets all sorts of stories being played out.
There is a fair bit of prostitution as well, mostly transvestites.
This one was positioned exactly across the street from these guys.
There is a fair bit of public art scattered throughout the old town.
There are even some drug dealers.
The bike has been ignored for at least the last ten days or so, a thin film of rust visible on the disc due to the afternoon rains we get here. Leaving South America and being back in Asia, with its much more relaxed pace, has certainly caused me to drastically slow down. Thankfully Malaysia issues three month visas upon arrival. Time to lay off the throttle for a while.