Our first experience of Georgetown was brief, it was when we first arrived at penang island, so at the time we were just passing through and didn’t stay to have a look around. It looked and sounded really interesting though so we wanted to spend a good few days checking out what Georgetown had to offer. The first stop however, was the hospital.
Jethro: The cat ladies had both recommended the Adventist Hospital. This not-for-profit Jesus hospital was awesome, and their slogan is gold. The Doctor disappointingly had neither beard nor Jesus sandals!! ): He did however prescribe us a month’s supply of stronger drugs. (:
Peach: The hospital was the busiest one we had been to so far, and very efficient. Within a minute of us wandering in looking foreign and lost a suited lady came up to us to ask what we were there for and to give us a ‘menu’ of doctors to choose from, recommending a few which she said were appropriate for my maladies. We were sent up to the busy 6th floor to register and wait to be seen, during which time I was taken into another busy space by a nurse to have my weight, blood pressure, and temperature taken and symptoms and a brief medical history note.
Naturally the doctor spoke excellent English and after a bunch of questions and some poking and prodding of my stomach, diagnosed me and prescribed a month’s worth of double strength acid reducing medication and told me to avoid acidic food but also said that some spice is actually OK (!). It was such a relief to feel like I was finally going to get better, and in as little time as one month, I might even be able to have a cheeky glass of wine with a relatively spicy curry.
George Town is rich in interesting history and old buildings which look a little English and clearly have Asian influence, I read somewhere that many of the early architects in George Town were actually trained in England so that makes sense. Right next to the fort were trainee archeologists digging trenches and looking for archeological type things. We took a tour around Fort Cornwallis where a lady walked us and another couple around the fort and showed us what various rooms were used for back in the day (gunpowder stores, kitchens, makeshift prison cell for drunk fighting etc..) and also told us a bit about the Dutch cannons that were there. She tried to take a photo of us but, bless her, she couldn’t quite figure out the camera and we didn’t have the heart to tell her she had pushed the wrong button.
Another tour that we took was around Peranakan Mansion, a recreation of a typical rich Baba’s house from about 100 years ago. Which was decorated with Scottish ironwork, English floor tiles (from Stoke on Trent) and Chinese wooden carved furniture. It’s jam packed full of antiques and interestingly small furniture (they were really short back in those days). There was also a room full of shiny gold jewellery. It was pretty impressive, and clearly other people thought so too, as a just married couple came in to get some wedding photos taken.
Jethro: This is definely a multicultural place. Not only do they have a little China, but a little India and even a little Armenia. Little Armenia won, as it was also the prettiest part of town for me, covered in lights. Little India did have some good food, but was let down by the unnessecarily loud Bollywood music. Little China is a really the Chinese clan jetties, which were cool when you stuck your head away from the line of tat shops. Little Armenia also got points for having the longest coffee shop in Malaysia, which was indeed pointlessly and awkwardly long (and thin).
One great trip was soo good we did it twice: Penang Hill. An expensive overpacked hilltrain takes you up to a brilliant area overlooking the whole city. We went back a second time as weather was better and we wanted to come back and do the Rainforest canopy walk, which was excellent. Sat in a cafe with a local dude playing guitar, with views over the city, was an absolute highlight.
I have many ideas. I definitely indulge in far too many of them. Thankfully Peach has been good and toning down some of my crazy ones, and encouraging the feasible ones. One, however, slipped her quality control net, and was my idea to rent a bike and go across SE Asia’s longest bridge, which goes oversea to connect Penang with the mainland. Photos showed a marvelous feat of engineering, with views on 3 sides of the modern skyline. A plummet to the ocean below makes you feel the fact that you are miles out to sea. It’s not a tourist attraction or even a thing, I just thought it sounded amazing.
In reality it was 40 minutes getting there on the moped, and 10 minutes just sat driving across the bridge in heavy traffic with little view due to to the tall safety wall… And then 30 minutes through town after reaching the other side and realising I had gone across the wrong bridge! That was Penang bridge, not the new Penang second bridge. Doh! The second bridge took 25 minutes, and had only a marginally better view. It was also empty, because no-one else is stupid enough to choose to drive across a 24km long bridge. Driving back had to be broken up with a rest (and some amazing Borneo food) because our bums really hurt by then. We had gotten through almost all of our driving playlist and it was time to go home full of regret and dissappointment. To be fair it was pretty cool being soo far out to sea, looking over at the city.But totally not worth it.
We did a load of other cool activities here, including the Asia Comic Book Museum and the street art circuit.
Also we did another cat cafe, but it sucked as the cats were boring and wouldn’t play/be stroked. They wouldn’t even eat the food we brought them. Cats suck.
The weather was getting stormy again and there was terrible weather forecast for the other parts of Malaysia we wanted to go to, so we had a cheeky look at the weather in another part of the world… and decided (quite quickly and quite excitedly) to make our next place Japan!