Sunday, 1 April 2012

Pollution in Penang, Malaysia 29th March 2012

Empty Beach
Batu's Polluted

It was a good nights sleep despite the heat. This fan is well powered and pumps out quite a good circulation. I need to pay for another night here, it's OK actually, not noisy at all, so no need to pound the streets seeking anything better, and for the price I doubt there would be anything significantly better anyway. This place is functional, has all I need for now anyway. Another 18 Rm and off to find something to eat.

Prices here in Georgetown seem quite good at the little cafes and canteens, I'll check the restaurants later. A bowl of fruit salad with yogurt and a coffee came to about £1.60, a bit more expensive than of late but still quite reasonable and within budget! A look at the tourist map to find the nearest beach since It's been about 7 weeks ago that I last saw any sea and sand. Batu feringgi is marked as the place to get some beach time. All indications are this is a resort town as numerous hotels are indicated on the map - Hilton, Hard Rock all the majors have a presence here. The map even has a bus guide, so it's a breeze finding the right bus and as all routes are via the KOMTAR then it's just a case of getting there or waiting at any stop on the way. Bus 101 is to Batu Feringgi and it stops at the bus stand right outside the guesthouse, according to the cafe owner.

A collection of tourists are there waiting, so that's a good sign at least. 101 pulls up and it's 2.70 Rm, about 55p to Feranggi, about 7 miles north, way to far to hike. Bus winds through the suburbs and eventually joins the coast road that circumnavigates the island. Several mosques and temples pass by, and there on the right, a giant Tesco store. It's actually a picturesque drive, climbing and descending with the terrain. On the left, mountain-side covered in thick jungle whilst on the right, looking down on little coves with small beaches. Doesn't look to be any easy public access to these though.  More beaches before these, on Gurney Drive where a string of high-rise hotels and housing blocks are located. Again, access here looks rather limited, and private for the most part.

"Batu Feranggi", mumbles the bus driver. It's a small place, just a village dominated by high-rise and hotel blocks. Bus stops opposite a McDonald's, a convenient landmark if ever there was one! Not many people about considering this is a resort area, no hive of activity that could be expected from such commercialised area. Over the main road and it's just a few meters from the beach through a lane running in between a few stalls and a cafe. Empty! No one on the beach, well, couple of tourists sunbathing, that's it though. A bit more activity in the distance, further north towards a gathering of fishing boats. Trekking along the beach towards the north passing cafes and restaurants - empty, all of them bar a couple having a drink. A prime spot for food poisoning sadly, festering rice and prawns from yesterday I would suspect! For the quiet beach experience, well, it's quiet all right and bring some refreshments otherwise it's a hike upto McDonald's. Actually, I did notice one or two food stands along the beach road, but it still means making that effort, a far cry from the beach experiences in Calangute, India, Cambodia and even Vietnam is getting there slowly!

Expand the Photo to See The Pollution Extent
Oh dear! This isn't good sign, especially for those expecting to swim, I wouldn't even paddle in this water. A brown sludge, a slick of gunk is floating just a few meters from the shoreline and continues as I walk further north, getting worse if anything. A little fishing hamlet ends the beach hike. It's a tatty scene, garbage strewn around with tumbledown dwellings although the boats anchored makes a decent photo. Up a track and onto the beach road, continuing in the hope there maybe something to discover. There was a discovery all right, the worst case of pollution I have ever seen! Thick brown sludge extends from the shore line of this next stretch of beach, to someway out - all very disappointing.

Might aswell head back south towards the village as the beach time i was hoping for isn't going to be, not in Batu Feranggi at least. No point even walking back along the beach so it's a track along the main road. A little Middle Eastern cafe, looks moderately busy, all locals, so I grab their version of fried chicken, nice, nothing like the KFC of course.  Passing the Hard Rock Hotel, worth a nose around since the version I experienced in Las Vegas a few years ago was good. Yep, I would stay here. Plenty of life, things going on and live bands most nights according to posters around the place. Price of a burger meal was about £15 eek!

Just by the Beach Road
A quick look around the village but nothing really to see. Typical beach shops and stores and towards the hills, rundown residency blocks. I guess holidaymakers to Batu Feranggi are going to spend plenty of time in their hotels and hotel pools and getting bus's to Georgetown. I wonder how much couple of weeks at the Holiday Inn is and are people told about the polluted sea.

It's the same bus back, getting off at KOMTAR this time. A wander around here, might spot a bargain. Actually, it's the Prangin Mall, still part of the overall complex, just an extension really, 6 floors worth. In an obscure corner, down a corridor is a food stand. They have chicken rice, how or what I don't know but time to find out. Turns out being chicken baked in hoi sin, sliced and placed onto boiled rice, accompanied with a bowl of chicken soup. Nice, and only about 70p. Back to base, and the search for some strong, reliable wifi begins.

NOTE: Video should be available here in the short term anyway. Pollution in Batu Feranggi

1 comment:

  1. Good to see the video Paul. Really shows the minging pollution.