01 October 2010, Friday –Onboard the 12-minute-ferry-ride from Jetty in Butterworth to Penang Island, I told 2 of my housemate-friends that it has been almost a year since I extremely enjoyed thinking nothing and just stayed worry-free for few days; this was when Tina, Gabby and I experienced Boracay Island for the first time last year. Those days were really priceless.
Because of countless life’s stressors–work-related, domestic problems, monthly bills and daily hassles, I always look forward to days when life would be easy and nice. It’s an apparent need for all of us to stop, breathe and smell the roses once in a while.
And so after I’ve done my part as an expat-father and and OFW-husband to my loving family (read: our nightly skype & remittance sent!), I and 2 of my friends decided to forget about everything and just end the week and welcome a new month.
Without definite plans in mind but to enjoy our weekend, we arrived in Komtar in George Town at around 4PM and finally purchased our individual public bus-whole-month-pass. This will allow us to roam around Penang Mainland and Island and ride buses to and from work with just a simple flash of a card. The Rapid-bus-preferred ride-all-you-can-card with passenger’s name and ID photo is presently available at RM 80 (PhP 1120) for first-timers and RM 75 (PhP 1045) for monthly renewal. We’ve computed our daily and weekend transpo expenses for the entire month and it’s a sure cost-saving measure.
After our first try on our cards by hopping on Rapid for free, we found ourselves in front of a check-in-counter of Tune Hotels in Burma Road. We chose to stretch our Friday night and just rest after at an affordable hotel in the Island.
Here’s the receptionist checking my passport after we’ve paid an overnight accomodation.
With branches all over Asia, Tune Hotels-5-star-beds at 1-star-prices is indeed a must-try particularly by budget-conscious people like us.
All rooms have only 11 square-meter-space with toilet and safe; it’s the smallest hotel room I’ve been to actually. The entire accomodation cost around RM 88+ (PhP 1,232) per room, inclusive of the use of air conditioning unit for 12 hours (yes, you can opt to have only the ceiling fan for your pleasure with no extra charges).
The bed and the linens were comfy enough, toilet and shower were spic and span.
Why splurge a fortune when you’re not spending the whole day inside the hotel rooom anyway?
Few steps from Tune Hotels is a welcoming restaurant owned by Chinese called, Santorini. I initially thought Mediterranean dishes predominate their menu but it’s still Asian. We didn’t complain because we had the right choice for our dinner place. What we ate were neither intimidating nor spicy. Considerably, our comfort food for the week…
Each of us got a plate of Combo Mixed Seafood with Fried Rice, RM 8.90/plate (PhP 124.60); ang sarap! We promised ourselves we’ll drop by again sometime to savor this dish again.
As if it wasn’t enough, I also ordered one of the famous noodle dishes in Penang, Char Keoy Teow, per plate costs RM 5.90 (PhP 82.96)…
The fragrance of sauteed ingredients and delicious taste of prawns make this noodle dish one of the favorites in Penang.
One of my friends, Doc Alvin tried this Kimchi Ramen from Santorini. I’m not into Korean food and I am not partial to spicy foods either; well, depends on the mood perhaps, needless to say, I didn’t dare to sample it.
To wash down, we had refreshingly good tiny pitchers of iced tea flavored with passion fruit and strawberry…
Before hopping into Rapid bus again to go to a mall, we walked inside a huge pet shop and marveled at several fresh and salt-water aquarium tanks, some cute dogs and cats for sale, and even rare furried pets. It was a pet-lover’s paradise!
No photo-taking was allowed inside but the insistent-me still captured this : a school of blood heart-shaped parrot fish for sale…
I think we spent almost an hour inside that amazing pet shop before the 3 of us headed to Gurney Plaza Mall in Gurney Drive. We trooped immediately to the cinemas at its 7th level and queued for last-full-show-tickets. We could have watched an action-packed film but ended with a mushy one, the soul-searching movie of Julia Roberts, Eat Pray Love. Although it’s a talkie film that put me to sleep for few minutes repeatedly, I personally enjoyed some scenes shot in Italy, India and Bali.
After the movie, we felt the need to chow down again and the sight of 24-hour McDonald’s was just comforting.
Since the 3 of us aren’t that alcoholics (I only drink when occasions call for it; but rarely actually), we were content with mall-ratting and just forgo of anything but clean fun.
We headed back to Tunes Hotels at around 2 in the morning and officially called it a day at almost 3AM. We checked out at 10 the next day and walked through the breakfast place at a nearby plaza.
It wasn’t as fun as those times I had with my wife & our kid but this weekend was indeed a breather from our daily routine here in Penang. I thank God created friends. I am grateful for weekends!
To be continued…
Up next : Breakfast at Old Town.
How’s your weekend? Enjoy the new week. Be blessed!