Wednesday, 12 October 2011


After the marathon of travel I thought I would sleep at least until sunrise but just before dawn I had one of the most beautiful wake up calls of my life.  The Muslim call to prayer reminded me that I was somewhere that was certainly not familiar.  In spite of the challenges of the day before, I was excited to discover what Malaysia had in store.

After a pretty relaxing breakfast we set out to explore Georgetown.  What a place!  I certainly never expected to see an area as diverse as this in Asia.   Racial and religious tensions are apparent in various areas throughout the country but you would never know this in Georgetown.  Temples, mosques and churches sit side by side with little India, China Town, street markets and hawker stands. Old seems to blend harmoniously with new and the architecture of both is gorgeous.  The beauty doesn’t stop with the buildings but extends to the people as well.  The warmth and helpfulness of the Malaysians is evident in every encounter.  The Thais were not unfriendly but we certainly did not experience the warmth that we have experienced here.  Perhaps it is that Malaysia has not been as jaded by tourism as Thailand has been or perhaps it is because the British influence here has meant there is less of a language barrier. Whatever the reason, the smiling faces of the Malaysians and the hospitality they show is amazing.

This is the Benggali Mosque that the prayer call was coming from at dawn.

The colours and intricacies of the Chinese temples never cease to captivate 

Rob and I got out for a tourist jog before the kids opened their eyes and we enjoyed quiet alleyways and a city just about to come alive.

The colours and the conservation of the heritage buildings in Georgetown are outstanding 

Not what we are used to seeing in the middle of the road in Victoria!

I had been having computer problems and had to get my MacBook to an Apple centre for repairs so in the evening we decided to leave the old part of the city and find the Apple store.  There are not a lot of these in Asia and the proximity of one was one of the reasons for our visit to Penang.   When we got to the mall, for the first time since we left home, we actually felt as though we could be in North America.  Many of the familiar chain stores were present and the generic nature of the monstrosity we call the mall was the same.  It was a relief to be getting the computer looked after and we enjoyed the familiarity of the whole mall scenario.  We were also happy to take in cheap movie (no complaints with $2 tickets to Johnny English).

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