We made it!  We’re in Penang!  Our trip went off without a hitch, Miles even slept peacefully for the 3 hours from HK to Penang (and for the 2 hours before the flight, and for an hour after – we knew this was trouble…but last night was actually ok).

We were met at the airport by the Real Estate Agent/Relocation/Everything expert.  He brought along a 12 passenger van, which held our stuff and we followed in his car.  Miles slept.  Driving into Penang, my second first impression was not as I expected.  It’s been almost 2 years since I last visited and, coming from Shanghai at that time, had a slightly different perspective.  Then, the contrast was between a high-stress, extreme capitalist/extreme communist, guard up, fast pulsed, polluted world and what I perceived to be laid-back southeast Asia.  Coming from Austin, I feel the grit of Penang: the narrow streets, the crazy motorbikes with 3+ passengers, the tented food shacks, buildings in the midst of destruction, with one wall standing – all part of its charm.  I also notice the raw beauty: orange sunset behind palm trees, a hilly green island right on the water.  I also notice the rapidly developing malls (we drove past 2 new ones) and neon-clad strip malls that went unnoticed as common place to my Shanghai trained eye.  We passed an open air steamboat (hotpot) restaurant and about 100 other food and snack stalls we’ll have to check out.    Definitely looking forward to exploring!

Today we are off to look for apartments, hopefully do a little shopping and eat some delicious food. We will get our rental car, and practice driving on the other side of the road.  Hopefully Miles will nap, and won’t melt down if we have too long of an outing.  Tim doesn’t have to work until Monday, we need phones and maybe a little downtime.  It’s an exciting life, we’ll keep you posted.

I will try and take some pictures today.  We get 12 hours of daylight here, from 7-7, different from the 6:30-9 we are used to in Austin summer.  Should feel nice in the winter.  OK, I was successful in locating the water heater and turning it on, hopefully now I can get a hot shower!