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The Crossing (aka The Arrival)

The Crossing (aka The Arrival)

December 2019 · 7 min read · George Town

I don't easily get to take shots of reflections... I don't know why, but I don't!

Particularly reflections of light or light-play on a wide body of water, like this... I guess it is because I don't live near any reasonably sized body of water, i.e. sea, lake, pond or river...

So, this ferry crossing gave me good opportunity to do so

I ramble and digress... Maybe I should start again...

This fourth part of my loose account of our recent trip to Penang will talk about our arrival there. I wondered if it would be too frivolous a subject but I got some cool shots on the ferry ride across 😬 and I admit I was kinda excited as it had been ages since I had taken the Penang ferry - I last took it when I was a kid growing up and visited the island with my mum! Yes, ages and ages ago... Don't make me say how many years ago!

See, previously, as in recent years, I had always driven or flown to Penang from Kuala Lumpur where I live. This recent trip we decided to go the 'old-fashioned', leisurely way - a train ride upto Butterworth (the Penang side that is on mainland) then take the ferry across to the island!

Penang, a state situated on the north-west coast of Peninsular Malaysia consists of an island and a strip on the mainland. Georgetown, its capital city is located on the island, and that's where we're headed!

The old train used to take eight hours and the journey is now halved to a cool four hours (and some minutes - negligible!) with the new trains!

Which gave us the problem of having too much time on our hands by arriving at an odd hour in the middle of the night, at 3am! Easily solved - we found a 24hr mamak at the station and had early breakfast there! First breakfast, I mean... now, I sound like a Hobbit, (lol) as we had second breakfast too! 😄

The first ferry across was at 5.20am, and it departed sharp on the dot!
And the adventure begins...

As they say, the holiday is not just the destination but the journey itself... or something like that!

If you wondering about parts 1-3, here they are:
1 - 'A many faceted Pearl' ~ Introduction post
2 - 'Caturday is alive and well in Penang!'
3 - 'It's the gold that brought me here...!!!'

One of the first scenes when we started our crossing...
A view of the Penang Port's facilities
The Penang Port is the main gateway for shippers to the northern states of Malaysia as well as southern provinces of Thailand, and is the oldest and longest established port in Malaysia!

I thought the black and white came out rather stunning,
what with the reflection and all...
No silky smooth misty waters, I'm afraid
I'm no long exposure expert!
Besides, the rocking and rolling of the ferry wouldn't allow much in terms of steadiness
For every shot you see here, I probably took another 10 that came out wobbly

My first view of Penang island from the deck of the ferry
Bottom of the frame (left in intentionally) is part of the gangway for cars to drive out off the ferry
If you look carefully, you can see the lights going up to Penang Hill ('Bukit Bendera' in Malay, literally meaning flag hill or flagstaff hill)

The Penang ferry is double decked - foot passengers and limited cars on the top, lower deck takes just vehicles

Lower deck
Not many cars that early in the morning
Early workers...

iPhone photo by niece

That's the steep and narrow stairs I navigated to get down to the lower deck
Those handrails came to good use

Colour comes out quite attractive too...

Facing the camera slightly backward, catching some buildings in Butterworth (mainland)
Much else was dark at that hour, so my photos focused mainly on the port (literally) side

We've arrived!
That's how our ferry looked like, minus the fancy paintwork
Background buildings are in Georgetown
I presume that ferry was being 'dressed' for some occasion(?)

Looking quite hip
Everything is exciting at 6am!

The long walk out of the ferry terminal didn't faze us...
I happily got left behind by the other passengers, intentionally... so I could get this shot!
Could be a set for some thriller or horror movie
I could imagine some werewolf hiding around some corner...

One terminal to another...
But we have other plans... we have another wait in front of us here
To collect the car in about two hours' time!
A second breakfast and hot coffee/Milo (malt chocolate drink for the uninitiated) is most welcomed!

We followed the bus drivers from the terminal heading into this lane leading to a food court across the road, an almost-all-still-closed-except-for-one-stall food court!

And found this guy
That's the owner, the main man, right there behind the counter...
He was manning the stall all by himself when we found him and settled down at a table, until much later when help arrived to give him a hand
A humble stall... but everyone who lived or worked in that area knew him and came for their morning fix!
See the grill on the left - the one with aluminium sides...

Someone wanted Milo and 'roti bakar' - literally burnt bread in Malay; 'burnt' meaning toasted, with margarine and 'kaya' spread, and half boiled eggs...

'Roti bakar' ~ is a popular choice here for breakfast and any time of day actually...
Bread is traditionally toasted over an improvised grill over charcoal, giving you an authentic crispy crust and soft insides...
Glad to see this was how it was made here...
'Kaya' ~ is a local spread made with coconut milk, eggs and palm sugar - very fragrant!
Me, I had 'nasi lemak'!

These are his ready-to-go food
My 'nasi lemak' in the packets on the left

Calling 'nasi lemak' Malaysia's most favourite dish is an understatement!
Coconut milk rice with a simple sambal (usually an onion chili gravy) accompanied by fried peanuts, fried crispy 'ikan bilis' (anchovies), slices of cucumber, a wedge of hard boiled egg, all wrapped in banana leaves - that's the traditional way to serve it!

Ooohhhh, and we found this uncle speaks fluent Hokkien!
My mother tongue!!
We caught him conversing easily in Hokkien, appropriate slang and all, with the Chinese auntie who came by to collect her morning breakfast, packed and ready to go...

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Hokkien is a Chinese dialect that is most spoken in Penang (and Singapore too!)
It is not unusual for many other races to pick up and fluently speak Hokkien in Penang, a feat not easily found elsewhere

Two sleepy heads after their second breakfast!

Soon after, we came back to the bus terminal front to await our car
Yes, it was all bright daylight already by then
And I found this rather well preserved office building
Street was still pretty quiet then
Btw this happens to be one of the busier streets in Georgetown, Weld Quay (Pengkalan Weld)
Within half an hour, it was chock-a-block with cars, buses, etc!

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Well, we got our car safely thereafter...
But not before I caught one more shot
Pigeons filling the morning sky above the terminal
Yup, it was a rather wet morning, with wonderful gloomy skies
Gloomy skies got more character than clear blue ones!

Captured with SONY A5100 and SONY Xperia M5 | © image & text original content | click image for full screen view
#monochromes and #monomad are by @brumest

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