Day 29, Year 5: Temporarily Transported to Penang
Date: Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Weather: Beautiful Day, No Rain (yeah!), Cooler Temps
Location: Windbird at Rebak Marina; Mark and I in Penang, Malaysia

First I have to back up and tell you a bit of a scary story that I just didn’t have the heart to write about last night. But the story has a happy ending, so all is well. Yesterday when we went to Kuah with Cory and Barbara, Mark was driving. He made a sudden right turn (thought he was turning further on until Cory pointed out that he needed to turn immediately) and didn’t put on the right-turn signal. As he slowed and turned, we heard a thud and stopped immediately. We had collided with a young couple on a motorbike passing us on the right. None of us had seen them. We were all stunned and horrified, but when we got out of the car, the young woman was getting up and had only a few scrapes. The young man was a bit slower to get up and had one shoulder and one foot that were really hurting. We were immediately so thankful that they were not hurt seriously, but then we scrambled to know what to do. When you rent cars here, there is no written agreement and no insurance of any sort. So we got on our cell phone to call Mr. Din from whom we rented the car. No sooner than we had dialed he arrived on his motorbike. The young couple could speak some English and we learned that they were visiting from Korea. They called the manager of their guest house and he also arrived quickly. At this point, the bike and the car are still in the middle of the road and another young man who witnessed the accident called the police. They arrived and asked if we wanted to file a police report. We understood from Mr. Din that we should by-pass that if possible, so we said no. So the police told us to move the car and the motorbike and they left. The guest house manager called a driver to take the young couple to the clinic. We exchanged phone numbers, and then we left. Of course, we were worried sick all day. Mid-afternoon the young man called to say he was fine but wanted to meet with us today. So on our way from the Rebak ferry terminal to the main ferry terminal in Kuah this afternoon, we had the taxi driver take us to their guest house. We paid the guest house manager for the bike repairs and understood from the young couple that they are actually traveling slowly around the world by airplane and this accident is going to cause them to have to cancel flights planned in the next three weeks as the young man’s foot is very sore and he can only hop or walk with crutches. The young man kept saying he was unlucky, but actually I think we were all incredibly lucky. Motorbike accidents can be much more serious, so we are just thankful that he is really fine. We made a settlement paying for most of the cost of the flights that they are going to have to cancel, breathed a big sigh of relief, and traveled on.

We arrived in Penang at 8 pm tonight and decided to walk to the backpacker guest house we had booked, or so we thought we had booked. We successfully walked through the back streets and found the Banana Travel and Tour Agency (and guest house). But they thought we were arriving yesterday and didn’t have a room for us. They are running such a successful business, however, that they have a NEW Banana guest house about a ten minute walk from the first and there were rooms there. So here we are in the new guest house just a stone’s throw from the Hotel Malaysia where we have stayed previously. Tomorrow we will walk back to the OLD Banana and arrange to get our two-month Thai visa. We will have the visa by 4 pm tomorrow, but there is no ferry back to Langkawi until Thursday morning. So we will spend time touring Penang tomorrow and will get directions on how to find the Cold Storage here. We heard from another cruiser last year that they have canned green beans, and if they do, they might be the only place in Malaysia or Thailand that has them. It’s not that I love canned green beans, but it would be nice to have something green as we make our way across the Indian Ocean and up the Red Sea. There are not a lot of stops to get fresh vegetables, so canned ones will have to do. And the only canned vegetables that you can readily find are peas and corn. So tomorrow will be the search for green beans and canned salmon. Canned salmon is one of our staples and you just can’t find it easily in this part of the world. I feel like I am in search of the Holy Grail.

This morning we walked over to check on Robert and Tina’s boat, Shirena, and walked on down the dock to Fatty and Carolyn Goodlander’s boat, Wild Card. On a whim we invited them to our boat for a Thanksgiving dinner that I will have to prepare after returning to the island in mid-afternoon on Thanksgiving Day. Fatty and Carolyn were in the midst of aligning their engine and prop shaft when we arrived, but they took the time to talk with us and happily agreed to the Thanksgiving invitation. For those of you who are not avid cruising magazine readers, Fatty writes almost monthly for Cruising World. We had briefly met the Goodlanders in New Zealand and then said hello to them again late last week when they were still on the hard at Rebak. They suggested that we get together, so what better time than Thanksgiving.