Traffic and weather: probably our two biggest reservations about life in Penang before we moved out here.  Tim had his own horror stories about the traffic, including one five hour jam on Penang bridge, sitting idle as he missed candidate after candidate at the university on the mainland, with cars only starting to move as he finally hopped out of his cab to use the guardrail facilities.  And then the tropical climate, which sounds like heaven from a middle of Austin summer or a dreary Michigan February day, but threatens to bore for the monotony or drown for the humidity.

As it turns out, both have been quite bearable in the 10 months we have spent here.  Penang is a spaghetti mess of one way streets with very few traffic lights and fewer conscientious drivers.  Besides the fact that there is a single highway that circles the island, navigating the roads, at least in the beginning, was challenging to say the least.  However, over time, we learned.  Learned the fastest way home from the office, and the least stressful (arrange vanpool with driver).  Learned not to try and go anywhere on Saturday at 12:30 pm or towards a shopping center on a public holiday.  Learned to work the traffic parking system (hint, leave a one RM note under your wiper if you don’t see the attendant – green/yellow tickets are unpaid, pink are paid).  We share a car, and drive mostly only when necessary.  Traffic, no problem.

The weather.  I realize I have come to appreciate the monotony of the weather.  I never second guess what to wear (shorts or a dress will be just fine) or whether or not to bring an umbrella (of course you bring an umbrella!).  There’s no compulsively checking the radar page on weather.com, or looking at the weekend weather to plan an outing.  Every rain shower that comes up is isolated, intense and short lived.  Great weather is a strong breeze off the ocean and a low sun.  Yes, I sweat every day, but as a friend’s mom put it, the humidity is like “botox everyday”.

So, the “big two”, debunked!  We can stay forever!  Not really.  The BIG two (friends & family) are still there, beckoning us back.  We won’t stay forever.  But rest assured that while we are here, we’re riding well under pleasant skies.

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