Penang (iii): Botanical Gardens & Monkey Beach

After the reclining and standing Buddhas, and the Colonial Penang Museum, Raj drive me to the beach, via the Botanical Gardens. Not much to write about the Botanical Gardens – it was too hot and humid for me to walk far, and though I followed the signs, I couldn’t find the things they pointed me to (although it’s possible the Japanese Garden was there but still under construction/reconstruction). I did however see the cannon ball trees (the only ones in Penang according to this guy) and a monkey:

Raj recommended we went to the national park in Penang, and I took a short boat trip across to “Monkey Beach” to have a swim, as he said that beach is cleaner than the others nearer the hotels.

On the way to the beach this song by John Legend came on the car radio:

“…Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Love your curves and all your edges

All your perfect imperfections

Give your all to me

I’ll give my all to you…”

Throughout my Southeast Asian experience, I have been lamenting the state of my overweight body. (Asian women as so uniformly petite and beautiful. I felt like an elephant most of the time!) It’s a cheesy song, with not a lot of musical merit, but it seemed to me in this instance that God was singing it to me. The voice of God is like this wherever I go, even across the other side of the world, God sings an intimate love song over me. Relentlessly gentle and kind. The boat trip cost quite a bit. But I know when I’m being invited to something beautiful. I had a 12 seater boat all to myself. And the sandy beach had very few people on it.

I guess there were monkeys at Monkey Beach. But I preferred to swim and then lie in the shade watching a huge hawk glide over the sea then plummet for fish. And to admire the unshifting clouds.

Those who live in England or other cold countries – you know how, when you brave the beach in the height of summer, you sometimes swim into a warm patch of sea and it’s lovely? Well, here in the Andaman Sea (part of the Indian Ocean), the whole sea is like that warm patch, and when you swim into a cool patch it’s glorious.

Later in the day, and in fact for the rest of my time in Penang, I ate very little. Probably partly to do with the heat and humidity, but also I think to do with the fact that I had been reminded that I am greatly loved.

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