Saturday, August 16, 2014

Permata Sports Complex, Penang Travel Series - Part 3 (Updated for foreign tourists)

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Eating so much Penang street foods can take a toll on one's weight if one is not careful. Thankfully, I discovered this swimming complex from my friend. At least now I can binge and still keep my figure. It was the first day when I arrived, and could only check into my guesthouse at 2pm. So in-between whatsapping with my ex-ATV3 classmates and planning the itinerary of my stay like a multi-tasker, my friend mentioned about Permata Sports Complex swimming pool. I wanted to go to the Penang Swimming Club, but my friend told me it's for members only. So he recommended me to this place, which is new to me. I love discovering new places, and this new place is located all the way at Paya Terubong - which is miles and miles away from Georgetown! But I have time on my side so I tried to ask my friend again how to get there via public transport. He doesn't have a clue because he usually drives there.

Being a friendly person I am naturally, I asked the manager of the coffeehouse in which I was using its free wi-fi. The manager was very kind to come back to me with the bus number after she consulted with her crew members. As I waited, I continued on my fun banter with my ex-ATV3 collegemates and discovered many interesting tidbits about them. Soon, I got the bus numbers and set forth my journey to a good workout. The buses to Paya Terubong were quite consistent, meaning I don't have to wait long. The bus that goes to Permata Sports Complex are bus no. 201 and 203. You can wait at Komtar bus lanes for these buses. The ticket price is RM2 one way, so prepare for exact change. 

Along the way, I passed through Air Itam, Padang Tembak and soon Paya Terubong, which remains almost the same and undeveloped. The first time I didn't know which bus stop to get down. Thankfully I asked the school boy next to me, who is a Penang Free School student. The drop off point is at this high-rise apartments, and the school boy pointed to me the sports complex when I couldn't see the sign. It's not located along the main road, but inside further after the rows of shoplots lining the main road - but you can still see the sign if you looked carefully from the bus.

The operating hours during Monday to Friday are divided into 2 sessions. The morning session time is 9am to 11am. The evening session is 4pm to 9pm. Since I got some time to kill, I went to one of the shops for a drink with wi-fi. When I got in to pay, the cost of entry is no more RM4, but increased to RM5! (which is quite pricey to me, since this is Penang and the location of the swimming pool is quite far away from the city - it doesn't justify the price.) You don't get to keep the ticket, instead you have to give it away to the lifeguard at the entrance. When I got in, I can see the Olympic-sized pool which is really a great place for ardent swimmers. My little concern was the swimming attire I brought which is a little bit on the sexy side, but it was actually fine.

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I already saw a few swimmers there already, and this was on a Wednesday afternoon, mind you. There's a couple of Middle Eastern men with their fair skin and conventional spandex shorts. At the children's pool which is situated in front of the men's changing room was this tall chinese man, getting his tan on. I quickly went inside the changing toom, oops, room I mean. The floor was wet. There's no changing cubicle, only the showers with its worn-out curtains. The curtains look very miserable with mildew and the shower cubicle looked even more so. There's only 2 rows of shower cubicles, and each is lined with a wooden bench to sit with hangers.

The main space consisted of only one bench, and the main sink with mirror looked quite drafty and damp. The whole atmosphere feels so seedy and damped with abandonment. There's a mirror on both sides, so you can see yourself changing. The toilet urinal stand is at the corner of the entrance. I feel this open space is best for changing into my swimming trunks, since the shower cubicles with its mildewed curtains scared me a little. UPDATE: The curtains are now gone.

The pool size is quite magnificent, primarily because of its width and length. I particularly loved the stairway into the pool, meaning you don't necessary have to jump into the water but walk into it serenading like a float. With my sexy orange bikini trunks on, I feel I could make a grand entry into the dip and out of it everytime with water splashes all around me. What a picture perfect moment, if I have a photographer there But of course, not too sexy, or it might sends off some wrong signals to the other swimmers there. Especially the only swimmer there suntaning next to the chidren's pool. I caught him looking at me a few times already, but I chose to ignored it. He was wearig his sunglasses, and I could read him wrong. He may be checking other things out, not me.

The depth at the end of the pool was manageable to me, but it's still deep and I need to hold onto the ledge to rest and catch my breath. Beyond the pool was a gate separator to a park and tennis court. I can see joggers running. When I swim back to the staircase, I can see the car park at the side. On my right was the entrance where you give your ticket to the lifeguard, and next to it was the water cooler! This is really a savior because I can then pump in as much water as I can into my bottle, because most times I need to drink after each lap.

I placed my bag under the umbrella canopy to protect it from the sun. Around 6pm, more people began to swarm into the pool, particularly the changing room. I noticed the tall guy suntaning earlier near to the children's pool and he too was getting ready to shower and change. I went over to the other cubicle away from him, and put my bag and shirt on the hanger. The water pressure is bearable, even when there's other people showering at the same time. After my shower, I pushed back the curtains and saw the tall Chinese guy at my side of shower cubicle. I could see his eyes now, in fact, almost everything since he unveiled to reveal his little cock under his white towel occasionally. Another guy suddenly dropped in to change and disrupted his white towel show. The guy who just entered looked at him curiously as though he's seen him from somewhere before. Then I caught him whispering to the tall Chinese guy something. I thought they might be friends. He quickly changed, smiled and left.

When I was getting ready to leave, the guy who just came in earlier told me that the tall Chinese guy was a Singaporean artiste. Surely I couldn't identify any Singaporean artiste, for I don't watch any of their shows. But this guy seem to have an acute facial recognition to celebrities (thankfully he doesn't recognise who I am, or does he since he came and told me this fib?), and loves to share information. I took everything with me, and get ready to leave. I counted again my stuff - goggles and swim cap - check, my towel and wallet - check, sexy orange bikini trunks and cotton undies - check, everything is in place. I hate to leave anything behind.