Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pretty Penang

The bridge from mainland Malaysia to the island of Penang is a glorious affair.

I first saw her during my 2013 visit, when I flew overhead on my way to Langkawi. Her smooth sine curves undulate across the wide water, and the white cables of her distinctive design stand out clearly even from cruising altitude.

I was smitten from the get-go.

Sadly, my inaugural trip across her 8.4 mile/13.5 kilometer span happened during the dead of night. Swallowed up in the darkness of a touring bus full of sleeping Malaysians, I could barely make out that we were even crossing the water. It was a bit of a letdown.

So as my bus pulled out of the Penang station (stesen) in late afternoon, with plenty of daylight still in the sky, I perched myself on the edge of my left-facing window seat, ready for a treat.

^ The scenery was gorgeous. With the urban landscape of the city fading quickly behind me, the adorable terrain of mini islands popped into view.

And suddenly, there they were. 

^ The crisp, white lines of the cable supports whistled by in no time. Yet as they flashed before me, my mind's eye recalled the sight of the very same support structures as I had seen them from my plane. I saw my red bus passing between the white towers; I even imagined myself inside the tiny bus, huddled close to the window, holding my breath as the beautiful scene swept before me.

^ Suddenly, in an instant, we cleared the array of cables and my unobstructed view of the open waters returned. Though my iconic moment passed in a heartbeat, the landscape was still gorgeous. The sweet little island bumps remind me of Langkawi, and my own San Juan islands; the long bridge snaking across the open seas took me back to my days of travel in the Florida Keys

^ Just before we reached the mainland, I noticed a sparkle on the waves. Twisting in my seat, I delighted to see that the evening sun had burned through the clouds just in time to cast a happy spell on my last glimpses of the island.

Goodbye, pretty Penang! I'll be back to see you again soon.

* * * * *

I spent a weekend in Penang, Malaysia and lived to tell the tale. Read the full story here:

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