God was it a mistake to try Windows XP 64 bit.
Now that I have a laptop with 4 gigs of RAM, it felt dumb to be running a 32bit OS (which can’t even address all that memory). But after struggling for half a day in Krabi, until 4am last night, *plus* a few hours this morning, I have just one thing to say:
Stay away at all cost! That crap OS isn’t supported by anything. 😳
My first day in Malaysia was clear and sunny, but I spent the majority of it on unfun chores – looking for a better place to stay, getting a new Malaysian SIM card, and reconfiguring Windows.
Given the ample supply of near-perfect lodging in Thailand I was shocked just how difficult it was to find an appropriate room; virtually nowhere seemed to satisfy my short list of “private, has windows, WiFi, A/C, and reasonably clean bathrooms.”
It seemed like almost NOWHERE had windows, making them dark and depressing – and I have to say that as a whole, the staff often felt pretty unfriendly. The flirty young receptionists of Thailand had all been replaced by toothless, scowling, grumpy old men in skullcaps. It was a pretty stark difference.
Eventually I settled on Love Lane Inn (mainly because the room had a window) before taking a short stroll across Chinatown to Komtar. Komtar is Georgetown’s biggest shopping complex, and the nearest spot to pickup a new local SIM. Even for the few hours I’d been in the country, not having a data plan has felt crippling (now that I’d grown accustomed to the convenience of GMaps). Looking for guesthouses easily took twice as long without one 😛
Tip for other nerd-travelers in Malaysia: if you want prepaid data for your iPhone, go with Digi, not Maxis. For 15 ringgit a week (under $5USD) you can get unlimited 3G – versus Maxis charging 20 for just 1.5 gigs. I started with Maxis, discovering Digi a week or so later.
In all honesty, that’s about all I did on my first day in Penang. Pretty boring, right? It took until dinnertime to finish up the reformat and by then there was little else to do but have a quick street-stall dinner.
Ah well, at least now I can put that annoying task behind me. Tourism starts tomorrow!
Note: These posts are behind realtime; the above narrative took place on Saturday, January 15th.