Penang, the 'Pearl of the Orient', UNESCO Heritage site and food capital of Malaysia. They forgot to mention it's full of dirty men that stare at your 'assets' at every opportunity. Chinatown, it had pretty lanterns but no people. It was like a ghost town. The restaurants are only open for three hours (12-3). There are a lot of cute old people scattered around who may drop dead at any moment but they always have a smile on their face except when it's wide open from falling asleep. Luckily we stumbled onto 'Little India' which has more life. Bollywood blaring from the shops, colourful sari's blowing in the wind, more gold and gems than the Queen has in the tower and sweet smell of spices from the curry houses making our mouths water. Dressed in as many clothes we could to reduce the wondering eyes of the Indian men (some even after leaving the Mosque). I had a nice sweaty neckline on show (thanks to the 35◦C) even Rachel was feeling the heat (without the sweat patches). We found shelter and shade in a local curry house. Not only were we the only white people in the place but the only girls. There was a curry buffet at the front but thank goodness a waiter came over and picked the food for us. It cost nothing, was piled high and was bloody delicious. We ventured back out into the scorching sun into the hustle and bustle of the shops when an elderly gentleman insisted we come over to his stall. We left armed with a refreshing lemon juice drink with black seeds floating inside it. No idea what they were but it went down a treat. Leaving the area with more 'travellers pants' we explored the local shopping centres. Thank God for air conditioning. The shops where pretty crap but I did find some underwear (at long last) in the reject shop. No comments please. Back to little India for dinner we went to 'Curry Kapitan' for the 'best biryani and masala tea in town'. The food lived up to this statement, mutton & quail biryani, Aloo Paneer and garlic naan's washed down with masala tea. We ate like kings that night (well we do most nights).
Feeling like we should indulge in some culture, we took a wonder round the local churches. First stop was a Catholic Church, where there was a small shrine at the front, with a statue of the Madonna. We had a look, and obviously managed to attract the local nutcase. Who had painted his toenails pink. We tried to be polite, but the conversation came to an abrupt stop when he pretty much asked us if we, well, have sex. I think he meant with men, not each other. Hmmm, time to leave. Right next door was a an Anglican Church. Maybe we could find sanctuary (and shade) in there. As soon as we stepped in, we were told to go outside and read the rules, then I was told off for not buying a bookmark or church keyring. Hmmm, what would Jesus do? For the next couple of days we explored the area even more, indulged in the great local food and markets and spent our evening listening to Bob Marley at the Reggae bar.