We arrive in Penang, north west Malaysia from Sumatra, Indonesia…
It’s the middle of December. Our main reason for coming to Penang is the chance for a quick stop to meet with five or six other travelling families who we’ve met ‘on line’, shared experiences and tips and enjoyed each other’s blogs. And thanks to another super cheap Air Asia flight!
Families on the Move meet up in Penang. It’s fantastic to meet up and get to know other crazy families like us who are living the dream and so nice for the kids to make friends with other kids doing the same as them!
We are invited to stop a night or two with one family and have so much fun together we end up staying ten. Lara gets to be a bossy big sister to the twins Max and Sebastian, who amazingly, let her get away with it!
We’re suddenly a family of 9 for ten days – we have such a laugh – finding a whole other experience in ‘family’ shopping at Tescos, fun days and dinners out and babysitting for one another! [Reading photo stolen from my new sister wife Darcy!]
We also have a blast with the lovely Jenkins’ family who’s kids Jamie and Felicia make a perfect match for Ben and Zoe! They miss their close friends back home so much and hitting it off so well with these guys as well as us with their Mum and Dad was another real treat!
Enjoying the Christmas atmosphere in Penang with new friends!
Exploring Penang with friends is at least ten times more fun than just with your family. We fill our ten days with hiking, swimming, climbing, laughter, sushi, Indian, evenings in the local food stalls at the beach, gathered with 13 people around two big tables, days out at Hard Rock hotel, days in old colonial Georgetown and having an afternoon playdate at their friends’ apartment, days in modern pristine malls enjoying Christmas shows and crafts, a big family shopping outing to Tescos, a morning in the air con soft play centre, an afternoon in the rain at the butterfly farm, an evening up Penang Hill on the cable car, days when no one can be arsed to go out because they’re having too much fun at home painting or playing! One day we even went out on our own to ‘Escape’ an outdoor climbing centre when everyone else was otherwise occupied. Great fun but we missed the company!
Amazing day out with the Jenkins hiking in the national park then enjoying the beaches and boat back. Memorable for the fun we had and memorable for Zoe’s jellyfish sting and the brotherly love of Ben peeing on her to relieve it (embarrassing photos withheld!) and memorable because Lara ate Mee Goreng, friend noodles with sauce! and declared that she liked it!
There is one big downside to our time in Penang and that’s that 10 days is gone in a flash and saying goodbye! We fly down to Johor Bahru at the southern end of the Malay peninsular, just over the border from Singapore and we visit Legoland! What a day. We awake in Penang at 3am, our flight’s at 7am, hotel check in at 8am, Legoland at 9am… Going without stopping till closing time at 9pm, supper at a groovy Thai place near Legoland, taxi and bed 11pm. Everyone keeps going and keeps smiling. I don’t know how!?!
The joy of Lego!
Highlights – Legoland has great water park on a boiling day but this is topped by the fun of building the Clark family skyscraper to withhold a simulated earthquake. We drew a crowd and broke the record!
After a day of Christmas shopping and a kids rare cinema trip to see Frozen in the giant Johor Bahru shopping mall, we take a bus across the border and all the way to Singapore’s Changi airport where we arrive just in time to meet Martin’s Mum flying out from England!
Back in Singapore, six of us again, and a very important sixth Birthday…
Erika, aka Oma, aka Mum was last with us in South America last February. Now she’s sold her house, packed up her belongings and is starting her own global travels, beginning with a month or so with us!
Overjoyed to see Oma:)
Oma has arrived just in time for a certain little girl’s special 6th birthday! We splash out to celebrate her day at Universal Studios where they have a special Christmas theme and a visit from Santa!
Celebrating her 6th birthday – Universal style!, incuding Lara’s hilarious premier performance with this street dance troup”
There’s just one sad event that puts a damper on our celebrations. You see below the last known photo of our companion of almost 18 months – Flat Stanley, who met this long lost brother at our hostel in Chinatown in the morning but he disappeared a few hours later at Universal Studios in the Land of Far Far Away. Perhaps he was simply ready for a different kind of adventure! We’ll miss him!
Flat Stanley – Good Luck Stanley, wherever you are:)