Penang

I slept for most of the ride from Cameron Highlands to Penang. In the few moments of conciousness, I saw us climb down a steep road, surrounded by pretty cool limestone formations and back towards flat-land hot and humid tropical climate and oil palms. We arrived in Georgetown in the afternoon and started walking towards Love Lane, where we knew of some possibly cheap accommodation options. As we were getting near, an Indian man called out to us and asked if we were looking for a place to stay. We noticed a “room for rent” sign behind him, and asked him for the price. We tried to hide our amazement at the extremely low figure he threw our way and instead asked to inspect the room. The stairwell leading to the rooms upstairs was steep and painful, but apart from a thick layer of dust accumulated on some unused surfaces, the room was ok for its cheap value. We grabbed some food then and there and set out to explore.

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This island right off the coast of the peninsula is a famous Unesco World Heritage site.. To complement the beautiful old architecture, street art has sprawled all over the place, and we were astonished. We soon found plenty cool images on the walls to admire and photograph. Apart from those, a bunch of wire made cartoons tell the story of the town and its streets.

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We headed towards the waterfront and the old fort. We passed through the “time museum” that features a bunch of really cool 3d paintings, but the entrance fee was above our budget and we kept going. The fort itself also had a pretty steep ticket price so we just went around it and enjoyed the waterfront and old structural designs instead. It was pretty warm and muggy, so we had to stop often to catch our breath. We finally rounded up our afternoon walk and found a small space that told the story of Penang, where we spent a while reading and learning about the place we were visiting.

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The next morning we started early to avoid the worst of the heat. We set out to explore our surroundings, mostly paying attention to walls and buildings trying to spot street art. As usual, I made friends with some cats on the way. There was so much to see and yet we got very excited each time we found a new art installation. A few Chinese temples also made the stroll quite interesting, with their intricate dragon figures and colourful sculptures. It was a magical day and we had a lot of fun being silly along the walls!

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So cool!

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Leading to the wharf, a small alley with raised wooden constructions spread. It was a tourist oriented strip, with souvenir shops and little juice bars. The water end featured multiple potted plants that gave the area a very nice homely feeling. Unfortunately the eternal haze did not make for very nice pictures…

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Penang has a huge Indian population, and their Little India is the most authentic we have seen thus far. The streets were alive with vendors selling all sorts of things, including traditional Indian clothes. Some shops played really loud music, so walking and dancing around were hand to hand. Most locals walking by honoured their culture with its colourful outfits and painted dots on their foreheads. We visited this neighbourhood for food on multiple occasions: Banana leaf tali for lunch, which consist of multiple curries, papadam, rice and dahl (with some variations) and delicious creamy northern Indian dishes for dinner. No regrets…

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