On our first night our main achievement was checking into our manky, cockroach infested hotel, although we did end up having an excellent Indian meal at a restaurant nearby where we had to eat off of a leaf. We also stumbled across the most haunted house in the world completely by accident... it must have been an abandoned old colonial mansion but it looked like terrible things had happened there, you could just tell. There turned out to be a whole street of them called Millionaires row or something, and although they were all neglected and falling apart you could tell that it was once an extremely exclusive street, and it's just a shame the city doesn't have the money to refurbish and maintain them.
The next day we walked up to Fort Cornwallis, the first fort built by the British after Penang was embraced by the loving arms of Empire. This wasn't the best idea, mainly because of the heat but also because we had to walk along an open sewer for most of the way. Paving over these things for hygiene's sake is not a hard concept to grasp, they should learn this lesson. Anyway, there wasn't much left of the fort, just the walls, chapel and a couple of cannon. After that we wandered around the streets and took photos of the old town, and it was interesting to see all the old mosques, temples and churches built almost next door to each other. In the afternoon we wandered along to Khoo Kongsi, which is an old Chinese clan house that was the sight of riots during colonial times. It was easy to find once we'd sussed out the easiest method to navigate Georgetown: just follow the open sewers and you usually end up somewhere interesting. In the evening we ventured out to find the grave of the man who founded the Penang colony, as our book said the overgrown church yard in which he was buried was near our "hotel". When we found it the gates were locked, so I guess you could describe what we ended up doing as "breaking in". Vaulting the walls wasn't hard but finding the grave was a disconcerting experience, probably overtaking our millionaires row adventure in the league of most haunted places in the world. Once we found it funnily enough there wasn't much to see, just an average grave lumped together with all the others, strange considering the guy founded the city.
During our second full day we got the bus to the other side of the island to try to find the war museum. After over an hour we were dumped off the bus in the middle of nowhere, with the driver shouting "WAR MUSEUM" and pointing in a direction that didn't really lead anywhere. So, without a better plan, we followed his directions up an unnecessarily steep hill and eventually found it. It turned out not to be a war museum at all, just an abandoned ex-british fort that had "Museum" painted on the side of one of the pillboxes by the entrance. It turned out to be quite a find though, as hardly anyone was there and it hadn't really been cleared of debris or anything, so you really got a sense of what it was like when it was being used in the thirties. It was overrun by the Japanese during the war, and their presence can still be felt due to the bullet holes and bloodstains still adorning the walls of the room they used for executions. I thought the whole thing was fascinating and I think Jacqui might have even enjoyed it had it involved less walking and reading.
On our final day in Georgetown was spent trying to find something modern to see/do. We headed to the 60+ storey Komtar building in an attempt to locate this, but it turned out to be rubbish. The "shopping mall" was about as diverse and Kingsbury, in fact the building felt like Kingsbury had been packed up and stuffed into a really crap building. We shelved that idea after a few minutes and found ourselves another colonial mansion, this time one that had been restored, and joined one of the guided tours. It was moderately interesting, but the guide was like one of those strict school teachers who everybody hates for being angry all the time for now discernible reason. Most of the tour was just her either telling us how the Chinese invented everything ever in the universe and how every other nationality copied every they ever did, or sending people to sleep with lectures on feng shui. By the time we got out of there I think we were both ready to move on to somewhere else, and luckily our next stop takes us back to the beaches again!