Jeez! I was not expecting such a small island and so little time to turn into such an adventure. Georgetown was amazing, but the real reason we had come to Penang was to visit the Bao Sheng Durian Farm on the opposite side of the island. In order to have better access to the farm, we moved our living quarter to Miss Loh’s guesthouse in Teluk Bahang, an adventure in and of itself.
We were welcomed to the guesthouse by half asleep Ralph, an 80 or 90 something jovial South African expat who informed us that Miss Loh herself had recently passed away and that he was likely the next one up. The other occupants were three other gentlemen aged 60 to 70 from Germany, England and Australia, all living there on what appeared to be a permanent basis. The long haired bearded pot belly original backpacking hippy crew and us. It felt as if little had changed in several decades in this peaceful neck of the wood, and for some reason it was absolutely charming and turned into one of the most memorable stays we’ve had in our travels so far. The guesthouse itself is extremely rough around the edge but has a lot of old school character, and the presence of these old dudes with their two dogs who slowly but surely warmed up to us, paired with the grounds of the guesthouse where durians, rambutans, cempedaks and coconuts grow at arm’s reach (and reach, we did), the lament of the call to prayer in the sweltering night mixed with the explosions of celebratory Ramadan firecrackers all made for an atmospheric stay like no other that somehow grew on us after a few days.
And then there was the day trip to the Tropical Fruit Farm:.
As per the pièce de résistance, Bao Sheng Durian Farm itself, I was unfortunately left with mixed feelings that had the least bit to do with the quality of the durian itself, which was stellar.
I will let the following video speak for itself for I have not yet managed to articulate my thoughts about the whole experience into written words properly. We left the farm feeling let down by our very own community, trying to understand other vegans and raw vegans’ motives for their own life choices, and trying to come to term with South East Asians’ relationship with animals. Fortunately there was light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a German lady called Barbara. This is hopefully not the end of this story.