I arrived in Penang, quite late at night but felt I had to hit the streets on a Saturday night and find something tasty. It was also no coincidence that my dinner consisted of Jetstar muffin and I was starving. The streets were buzzing with people and Georgetown had the vibe of a place on the South East Asian backpacker trail, not that its a bad thing. The smells of street food and the noise of scooters dominated. I sat down at a small place well after 10pm and ordered the Chicken pineapple curry rice. It wasn’t what I was expecting, a bowl of curry broth and steamed rice on the side but I love the sweetness of fresh pineapple offset against the curry.
I set off the following morning to explore Georgetown on foot and just see how the melting pot of Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures has blended together to create this place. Walking down one street, there was a mosque, then a Hindu temple followed by a Buddhist temple, decorated with dragons. It was a fairly quiet though, it was Sunday morning after all.
Heading towards the waterfront I accidentally attended my first ever Easter mass. Standing in the church grounds while they are all singing away counts, doesn’t it? I think I hit the 4 main religions on the island just to be fair also.
My map app on my phone discovered a fortress. I can never turn down visiting a fortress. Cornwallis fortress was named after the Governor General of Bengal back in the 1780’s. The fortress itself was quite bland, but the tour guide was an amazing source of information. The best part is we did all the talking sitting down in the shade with a 15-minute walk around the small fort afterwards. I was sweating worse than after a 20/10 class at the Den, which probably doesn’t mean much to anyone else, just think high intensity cardio workout for 45minutes. In Penang the sweating starts about 2 minutes after I go outside!
Now does anyone know what the link between Georgetown and Adelaide is? Georgetown was founded by Captain Francis Light. The local Malayans were given protection from the Burmese and Siamese by the British and the British were allowed to set up a trading port on the island of Penang. Captain Francis Light, however, died like every other British colonialist from malaria. So the answer to the question is the city of Adelaide was founded by Colonel William Light, son of Captain Francis Light.
I discovered Little India, it is hard to not discover it by accident as one is drawn towards the aromas of Indian curries and the booming sound of Bollywood music. It was also a good place for a curry and some naan bread. It is easy to get lost wandering the streets of Georgetown and there is probably a lot more to discover, but its a bit like Pac-man, munching your way around the streets of Georgetown would be a fun thing to do!
I guessed the Light connection, but not the relationship – interesting. Also interesting, as an aside, when Joelle and I were on our way to IRL (from Melb, in the Kombi), the ferry – no bridge then, I believe there is now? – across from the mainland (KL-side) was free. You only pay for the Penang-back-to-the-
mainland crossing. “Hah”, we thought, “that’s good”, as we watched the Kombi being lifted by crane onto the SS “Rajula”, as we embarked for India!
So they’ve now got two bridges and the ferry is free from Penang to the mainland. Very convenient as it’s right next to the train station which I’m catching tomorrow to KL.