0031 A mini-world on a Malaysian island (Mal 003—new)

Georgetown Travel Blog

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Day 018: 8 hours, 9.2 kms

 From Ipoh I hop on another bus to Penang which looks like an interesting place to visit.  The bus actually only goes as far as Butterworth, where I find myself stuck in a muddy bus station in the pouring rain.

One cool thing about Malaysia are the covered sidewalks and overpasses meant to protect folks from the many downpours.  It looks like I might be able to walk all the way to the ferry station without being exposed to the rain, so I give it a try…

Sure enough… looks like I’ll have to leave exploring Butterworth until my way back. 

Mountains, skyscrapers and bright lights are beckoning us from across the bay… and by the time we arrive, the rain has stopped… so it looks like I’ll be able to do some more exploring… I head straight towards a street that’s all lit up like a carnival or something…

No it’s not a carnival… it’s just a “Little India” a colourful market neighbourhood lined with Indian eateries, sari shops and music stores blaring out the latest Hindi hits… I love it—it’s got all the excitement and charm of India, without the squalor and the ever present stench of urine everywhere… And the restaurants look clean and the food delicious…

So I have Indian food for supper… Suddenly it strikes me that I haven’t seen a single “Malay” restaurant so far!  It seems that commerce and gastronomy is mainly run by Indians and Chinese here in Malaysia… It would be nice to try some actual “Malay” food, though…

I soon find a cheap looking hotel. While checking in, I get to talking to a couple of German guys who suggest we share a big room to make it even cheaper. It comes out to about 2 Euros apiece…

One of the fellows just finished medical school and is backpacking around the world for a bit before settling in… lucky bastard… An typical American med student ends up saddled with so much debt by the end that he can’t even afford to go visit his mother…

The guys is also a singer/songwriter, so after jamming a little bit in the hotel room, we all head out to a café for a more proper jam session…

Afterwards I head out to explore the city, which, unlike Kuala Lumpur or Ipoh, is very compact and every block has something interesting to be discovered. There’s a mix of British colonial architecture and the influences of all the civilizations that have come and gone here in Malaysia.  It’s fascinating to see the temples of 4 different religions all crammed into one block…

There’s also a very modern district with fancy clubs and flashing lights everywhere… 

From there I take a quiet walk along the bay…

Georgetown has a little something for everyone.  Although it’s not exactly a “new discovery”, I’m definitely happy with my experience here…

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Georgetown
photo by: ice9van