For a change, my wife and I decided to go up to the Bellevue Hotel at Penang Hill to usher in the new year. Thanks, of course, to my very old friend, Oon Hup, who had invited us to the hotel.
We arrived at the bottom station of the Penang Hill funicular train service at about 7.30pm. Not many people there at about that time and the coach was practically empty as we deliberately chose the compartment at the end of the carriage. Quite a different experience to see the bottom station disappear in the distance as the train pulled away rapidly. Anyway, the dark gave us a different perspective of the train ride and we could see the lights of Ayer Itam and Rifle Range opening up beneath us.
We moved to the garden at the back of the hotel which looked over the city. Breath-taking view. But at first, the mist persisted and so, we couldn't see much. Maybe, just some hazy lights in the distance. But after about 8.30pm, the mist rolled away to reveal the twinkling city lights. (The above picture was taken on manual mode with a time exposure of more than a second. Click on the picture to reveal better details.) We thought the weather would hold for the rest of the evening but right on cue at midnight, the mist rolled in again and totally obliterated our view of the city.
Leaving the hill was a bit of a nightmare. Because of the crowd that had lingered on at the hill, no thanks to the Penang Hill Corporation, we had to endure a 45-minute wait for the train to take us down. But once we had entered the carriage, it was just five minutes before we reached the bottom station. By the way, just because of the new year eve celebration, the trains ran past one o'clock just to accommodate the crowd. Normally, service would have ended by nine o'clock. My friend says businesses at the hill top are being held to ransom by the train schedule. Yeah, he's right....