The only time I pray is sitting on a minivan in South East Asia. I find myself sucking in air, the way my mum does which is extremely annoying, I get passive aggressive road rage in my head and I hold on for dear life.
This is much to the amusement of other passengers who seem to think it’s ok to drive bumper to bumper with the lorry ahead carrying tree trunks. Stopping distance people! Its rainy season here too and during one downpour we had no visibility, did the driver slow down? hell no. He did, at one point have to stop because his windscreen wipers were broken. This was easily fixed by placing a plastic bottle under the hood of the van, PROPPING IT OPEN, then the wipers worked, phew…(not really)
Onboard there’s constant commotion, wailing Thai love songs, a phone ringing, or someone chatting on a phone or a phone message beeping A LOT, there’s always a pit stop at a roadside cafe where the curry looks as though it’s been there a while, alongside the nondescript meat sticks and squat toilets to practise your aim, or lack of.
Of course our little lady took it all in her stride, napping and boobing, she’s happiest strapped to me with full access.
Thank you to the angel Nicola for treating us to an Ergobaby which easily is my favourite piece of baby ‘kit’
When finally we reached Penang, after a full day of travel, I was excited to get to our hotel. (My current dreams are of hotel rooms with fluffy sheets, pillows and an entire night of undisturbed sleep) We were greeted by a VERY small room, one which had the bathroom in the room that was surrounded by a cement step which was awesome health and safety for an adventurous 10 month old. We went out for laksa and then all crashed out except for baby who always gets overtired and instead of sleeping flings herself around.
Gratefully the next day we were moved to a slightly larger room and then I understood why the Apollo Inn gets such rave reviews. The breakfast was amazing; french toast, roti with massaman curry, fruit, toast, weird coffee in bags?!
We made the most of it and over the weekend the rest of culinary delights in Georgetown:
Bagels from Mugshot cafe easily one of my favourite cafes in the WORLD! The building is stunning, art on the walls, friendly staff, great homemade yogurt and delicious coffee makes this place very special. We had a feast in Little India after walking around in the BOILING heat; well deserved dhal, tandoori chicken, garlic naan and my favourite panel palak! The last night I ate dim sum alone with just a teapot for company as the baby was restless, it was (really) good. I was reminded of how much I loved Georgetown, the cultural fusion and the buildings…ahhh the buildings just blow me away!
The last day we tracked down the Hin Bus Depot, a new art space in the city that smacks of a cool, urban east London hangout and I think will only get better and better. I would recommend a visit!
Finally we made it back to Thailand after a fun, unexpected trip. I was glad to see my bicycle which currently feels like the safest way to travel… very, very, mummy, slowly.