Wow first of all I cant go on any further without talking about the heat and humidity of this place, my good lord I have never felt anything like it, and if I have then its been at a place where there is either the pool or the sea right next to me, not a busy city. We had read up a lot about Georgetown before we came and the heat was one thing that was mentioned on almost every travel blog, website or book.
We have spent the whole morning chasing the shade, you litterally look for anywhere with even the tinyest square inch of shade to catch your breath. Damo brought travelling with him a small towel that he takes to the gym with him and all day we have been having to dab ourselves down, I very sensibly decided to wear green shorts and a grey top, not the best colours for a very sweaty day, I am now named sweaty back pink eye fat finger by my loving other half!
Now to tell you about Georgetown, wow its definatley a sensory overload, so much to see, smell and taste! We started our day with our map in hand a bag full of water and a list of all of Penangs must eats and where to find them, this was the most valuable item of course as penang is famous for its culenary mix of malay, chinese and indian food mmmmm nom nom nom :)
Our first stop on our maigcal mystery food tour was little india, it was awsome, so bright and colourful, we just wanderd in and out the streets taking in the sights, with the bright colourful sari shops, the smells of the incence sticks burning and the curry houses cooking away and the sounds of all the music that was being blasted from each street corner. Damo has said he would never really be that keen on a trip to India so this gave us both a little taster of what it may be like. We found a food stall that was selling lots of delicious things, samosas, baji's and lots of brightly coloured indian sweets, they are so cheap too, like 20p a piece, so we went away with a few things to try and mmm mmm mmmm they were scrummy!
We knew we couldnt make our whole day just about food, as much as I wanted to, so we went in search of some of the historical sights, by this time it was almost midday and we had already been walking for almost 2 hours, needless to say the historical 'fort cornwallis' and all its many cannons and explanation texts to go along with them were not so interesting and we spent most of our time there jumping from one shaded bench to another!
On our way back to our hotel we stopped off at an indian cafe where we ate some really good naan bread and tandori chicken, not a napkin in sight and its all fingers go when your eating so it got pretty messy! I think we have both had our fill of the indian foods for a little while now, with dinner last night after our long day travelling and lunch today, I dont think our poor little bathroom can take anymore! :) (this half of the blog was written during our much needed afternoon break, dinner ended up being indian again...long story)
So after our much needed rest in our aircon room, which has a slight jail like resebelence with its borded up barred windows, we headed out for another cultural tour, this time with a new map in hand, a map of all the different street art locations. Georgetown is well known for its many displays of wall art, it all started in 2008 and has developed since then, there are a lots of cast iron images that use a picture and writing to explain little facts about each of the streets they are on, and then there are the wall paintings, from a giant ginger cat, to a painted boy sat on a real motor bike, really cool and interesting stuff and its dotted all around town. We had great fun going on a hunt with our map in hand, and we weren't the only ones, some of the images had quite a few people all fighting for a photo, most of them though want to be in the photo, I had to ask a lady to wait so I could take a photo without 10 people all pushing to get in a shot! We made it back to our room after another 2 hours of walking and again getting rather hot and very sweaty....not nice.
The nights dont get dark until about 8pm and most food stalls dont really get going until 7 so its all later than we had gotten used to, we set out for dinner at 7 and wanted to track down a food market we had read about, when we got there it was really busy and it wasnt very easy to understand what anything was, unless you could read chinese or malaysian then you were pretty stuffed and all the staff that we asked for help in understanding were either too busy or couldnt understand us, we gave up in the end and headed to another food market, the same senario again, so it was off on the hunt yet again! 2 hours later of walking from place to place and we ended up at the same indian restaurant that we went to for lunch, starving, hot and both a little fed up, the yummy curry just about made up for it though :)
Penang has been exciting, a culenary and cultural overload, there is such a mix of people here, you dont know if your in malaysia, india or china! but its a great place to explore, just maybe a tad too hot a sticky for us after 8+ hours walking and with no pool or sea to cool of in. Off to Melaka next which is 8 hours south, another city but its supposed to be just as diverse and exciting as here so we are looking forward to exploring some more of this interestng country, if we can stand the heat and our clothes can stay dry enough!