My Experiences in Penang, Malaysia: January 21st - 30th [Emmet]

We arrived at Kuala Lumpur airport at two o’clock. Our ride, a large green and white van, was waiting for us outside the airport. The ride was so tiring. If we had to stand up for the whole ride, I would end up curled up on the floor. It felt like being in jail for 8 hrs. Nothing to do but wait. Our eyelids felt droopy, we started to nod off when we got there, but we had to get out. We slowly arrived at a stopping place for dinner (that had stuff like McDonalds and Dunkin’ donuts). We had dinner at a hot dog stand, and ate in the car. We bought a fizzy drink, with sweet corn in a cup as well. My brothers and I started playing video games after dinner. Our eyes were getting zombified. We were zonked when we arrived. We began to see Penang at 11:00. 

The ride from Kuala Lumpur to Penang totalled eight hours! We started unpacking our things, and making the apartment livable. Midnight, 12:00. We started going to bed, but apparently, it was Chinese New Year, so there were a bunch of fireworks. We saw people shooting them out. It was kind of disturbing, but also cool. Pretty loud. I watched them as I started to drift off. Finally, I went to bed at 1:00. Too late.

Day 1: Georgetown

We woke up at 10:10, but we didn’t want to get out of bed. When we realised that it was a chill day, we started going back to sleep. You would think that we would want to get up and have breakfast slowly. But no. Still tired.

But, you think our parents would let us sleep anymore? Nope. They pulled our covers out of our beds and said get up. We groaned, but started getting up. We had breakfast, a yoghurt and eggs. They said that we were doing no worldschooling meet-ups today, but were starting tomorrow. We went to Georgetown because it was Chinese New Year. We ate some food for lunch and walked around Georgetown. My parents bought a dessert for me. They bought me a rainbow ball made out of shaved ice and it was really big. My little brother, Asa, bought a rainbow heart which was made out of the same stuff. It tasted very sweet grape-like and my mom said it was too sweet for her.

Personally, I loved it. It tasted sweet, with all kinds of flavours buzzing in my mouth. Apple and grape, strawberry and orange. It is one of my favourite desserts I have ever had.

We walked around Georgetown for about half an hour. It was great. So many things to see! Red and yellow everywhere. It was like a party planned just for us. We saw a couple people doing henna. Some with boa constrictors on their necks. So fun! We took a car back to our apartment, and settled in more. On the ninth floor, there were games and a reading room and a gymnasium. A pool was there too. We figured that we would come back to this floor sometime. 

Our floor was the 27th. The place was pretty good. Enough beds for all of us. The only problem was that there was one bathroom! One person could go to the bathroom at a time! That was the hard part. Our view was five stars… just perfect. We could see the hills and other buildings. The streets and villas. Nothing better. We did homework and played video games. It started to rain so we chilled inside. It cleared up and our parents went to get us some food. We had dinner and had a conversation about what we did that day. We went to bed and closed our eyes in peace. But! The fireworks went on the same as last night. We all looked out my window and saw the nightscapes and the fireworks. It was truly amazing. We went to sleep at a reasonable time and had a pretty good sleep that night.

Day 2: Hindu Temple
Going to the Hindu temple was an easy hike, worth the work. We took our shoes off and walked inside, We heard the Priests' chanting to the Gods. The marble floor was squeaking under our feet as we calmly walked through the temple. 

We gave some money as an offering, and were given some sweet beans, which we ate with our hands. They were out of some orange sweets that are called “Prasada.” We hear the chanting as the people stand in line to get blessed by the Priests. The Priests put ash on the people’s forehead while we eat the sweets and watch. We look at all the shrines that have Hindu gods in them. We slowly walked out of the temple heading to the smaller temple, just to the left of the main temple. There were a few people praying with one Priest behind them. We put our shoes back on, and started walking back down the hill. 

While we were waiting for a car to come, some Indian people gave us some noodles, and chai (an Indian tea you can get anywhere in India). While we snack on that, our parents bring some more food out. Obie accidentally dropped his red bean bun, and someone said to him, “no,” while he was picking it up. He threw it in the trash and I gave him some of mine.

Day 3: Penang Hill
We hiked up Penang Hill. It took us 2 hrs and 50 min to get to the top of the hill. It was very rainforest-like, but we didn't see any snakes and only one monkey. It was a tough hike, but we had a seven year old (who was walking ahead of us leaving us in the dust, while holding her dad’s hand), a ten year old, a twelve year old (which was my brother), my smaller brother Asa (also my brother), and me, an eight year old. It was very tiring, but the sights were amazing. We had a choice to go on a minecart that looked like a subway, but we chose to hike up. There were a bunch of stations where we could stop and ride the minecart, but we just kept on hiking. 

When we reached the top, we were exhausted. Everyone was so relieved that they were done. We decided that we deserve ice cream after some other fun things. We went on a trail (paved), and we saw monkeys and insects. 

We also saw a stand that had no one in it, but clearly was part of Penang Hill. It said “Insects of Penang Hill.” There were two scorpions, spiders (each one was in a jar and dead), a snake and a couple of beetles.

We kept on walking to find the canopy walk. We found it and started walking up the painted metal.

Then a guide whispered to us, and crouched down and pointed to a green vine snake. It looked like a green rope, with a pointy nose. He said it wasn’t venomous, but had a painful bite. 

We kept on walking across the canopy, until we reached the end of the walk. The next thing was the treetop walk. The treetop walk was a big arena shaped thing with poles sticking out and as tall as the canopy. It wasn’t that scary, but the sides were made out of rope, and it didn’t feel stable. It was like a design “x” pattern rope below the railing, and you could push on it. It felt like you were leaning on the canopy, and were about to fall. 

We bought some ice cream and said our goodbyes. Then we started making our way to the subway/minecart. It was a five minute wait; when we crowded into the subway, it was packed. Good thing it only took us ten minutes (or less) to get down. When we came down, we started to go to the taxi area. We hailed a taxi, which was way overpriced. 

We came home and started doing homework and video games.

Day 5: Countryside Stables
The countryside stables is a place in the countryside of Penang. You can ride, pet, and feed the horses. We had friends there with us. We bought tickets, and started feeding the horses. You can put hay on your hand and hold your hand flat for the horses. You can also get a long piece of hay and hold it by the side, and let the horse take it from you by the other side. We did a lot of feeding. We bought tickets to ride the horses. My horse was a big white one. It had a way of walking where you wobble to each side. You get used to it though. We mounted them and took some pictures, walked around with them; then, we dismounted. It was a really fun experience that I’ve had in my life. I love riding horses as much as I like riding water buffaloes. We went back in our van for the next thing.

This is me in Hoi An, just randomly riding a water buffalo...

Day 5: Bike Ride
We did a bike ride which started on a gravel road, which I did not like. Then we started biking on some paved roads that were better. We finally reached the end of the bike ride. We went to a pier where we took some pictures and could explore. I took a lot of pictures with my camera. It was a truly great experience. Just an amazing sunset. We biked back on the same way and started the van home. We went back home and went to bed.

Day 7: Leaving Penang - Orangutan Island and the Batu Caves
Pictures below!

Orangutan Island

Batu Caves 

My Experiences in a Wat [Emmet]

You walk in the wat. You take your shoes off. If you look straight, you see an old glass shrine, sometimes with things monks have touched. To your left and right, you see paintings on the walls. If you look closely you see a statue, or a Buddha, with gold foil on it. Finally, you walk out and see people with orange robes on. Those are monks. Some are fully grown, and some are only ten. They train and train to be monks.  It is not easy. Have you realized that everywhere is so old and beautiful? If you look on the trees you might see Indian plums. They are very bitter and sour. I took a bite and regretted it. You walk out of the place and you see an old little shrine covered in vines. You walk back to your house smiling.

Update from Emmet

To me {Emmet}, I think the trip idea is amazing! I’m so excited, I have never gone to Southeast Asia or Italy! I am most excited to go to Sicily and Sardinia, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Hoi An… I’m so excited for our whole trip. So far we have been to Boston, Massachusetts, Rochester, New York, New York City, New York {which we are in right now}, and then Chiang Mai! 

Every day we write in our journals about our days. Here is the front of mine.

In New York we went to see the Statue of Liberty. I loved it so much because it’s bigger than you think, and it is made out of copper. The statue is important because it symbolizes freedom and peace when people come to New York on ships escaping persecution. The statue is the first thing they see. Here is a picture I took of the back of the Statue of Liberty.

So far my favourite place we have gone to was in Boston because I loved all the bricks because it looked so cool and red and old. After all, Boston is so old. Here is a picture I took in Boston.

Soon, we will visit Times Square at night!!                                               

P.S. we leave for Chiang Mai on Sunday!!!