The Bang Was In Penang.
Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
423Trip End Dec 31, 2018
A walk to the monorail station with packs on our backs, then a walk to the bus station for the airport bus, then a short Air Asia flight, followed by a taxi ride and here we are at the Bayview in Georgetown. Had to chose Bayview since it is the namesake of our work place. An orientation walk proved that most people were off work enjoying their family time for New Year's Eve but we found, of all things, an English style pub to have a meal and a drink.
Avan's camera bag strap had broken a few days before and we kept an eye out for a sewing machine or a new bag shop. Avan did not want a new bag though - the one he has is just the right size and weight. We asked and were pointed in the direction of Abdul sitting in a litle alley way, working away on his sewing machine. He finished off a customer's wallet then looked at the bag and worked out a way to put a new piece on the strap and fix it
We ate late, then went wandering to see if we could find Chinese New Year celebrations. Down a little side street we could hear some drums and see some lights. As we got closer we were amazed we had happened upon a full lion and dragon troupe doing a ceremony at a Temple. The noise was deafening as drums and cymbals banged and the sharp retort of fire crackers filled the air. The smells were of incense, gunpowder and combined with the notorious smell of Georgetown drains. The Lion and Dragon costumes are very intricate and usually have around three to four teenagers making it work. Another group of around four to five make the "music" of drums and cymbals. The troupe move around from place to place in a truck performing. Over the next few days we were to see many performances and costumes - all different (Later in Kota Kinabalu we saw a very acrobatic team with a set of steps and platforms for the lion to climb up and dance on).
We moved onto another temple and this one also had massive big incense sticks and live birds to be purchased and set free for good luck. All the celebrations are about saying goodbye to all that was wrong with the previous year and starting the year with a clean slate and doing certain rituals to bring good luck for the coming year.
After two days enjoying Penang it was back to KL for one night for a stay in a Chinatown budget hotel (Swiss Inn) before heading off to Borneo.
Footnote: George Town, Historic City Of The Straits Of Malacca is a UNESCO World Heritage site.