Going Colonial in Georgetown, Penang

Trip Start Feb 24, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Malaysia  , Pinang,
Thursday, July 28, 2011

We weren't really sure where we fancied going after the Perhentian Islands, but Ella and Claudia suggested that Georgetown, the capital city of Penang Island, would be a brilliant place to chill out for a few days, It took us the whole day to travel to Penang, which is the largest island in Malaysia and is situated on the Northwest coast. Luckily for me, no speed boats were involved in the sea crossing as the island is connected to the mainland by a huge bridge!Georgetown emerged in 1791, as the first English settlement in Malaysia. Due to this, the whole city has a very English feel to it, with every street in the old centre being lined with colonial style buildings. As soon as we arrived in Georgetown we had a good feeling about the place. The evening streets were really quiet apart from a few men on push bikes, and all of the buildings were really nice. We managed to find a really nice place to stay, then headed to a huge outdoor food court for dinner. I haven't really been taken with Malaysian food as I find it a little too greasy, so I was chuffed to find stalls selling food from all over the world, and made a bee line for the Thai Green Curry!!We have to admit that we didn't really do much other than chill out in cafes for two of our days in Georgetown, but we needed to catch up on emails (and the blogs!) so we didn't really mind. The city still follows traditional opening times, with everything being closed all day on a Sunday, so we felt less guilty for being lazy as everyone else was doing the same!We spent our final day in Georgetown taking in some of the sights that it had to offer. It was absolutely boiling, so we were pretty happy that they were all pretty close together and explored them all on foot.We felt like we had traveled back to China when we stepped into the city's largest Chinese temple, and soon remembered how much we loved looking around them. We felt honored when one of the old men that worked there offered to show us how to tell our fortunes by shaking a pot full of numbered sticks until one fell out, and then finding a fortune card with the corresponding number. Luckily, the fortune teller was kind to us, and we thanked the man before setting off on our way.We took a stroll around Fort Cornwallis, which is built in the exact spot where the founder of Georgetown; Captain Francis Light, first set foot on Malaysian soil many moons ago. The fort had a great view out to sea, and also some of the original cannons which were used to ward off enemies. After a look around the bustling and very colourful and noisy streets of Little India, we grabbed a curry for lunch before boarding a local bus to the outskirts of the city where the Botanical Garden is located. The Botanical Garden wasn't as big as we had expected, but it was very well kept and great to walk around. The best thing about the garden was that it was full to the brim with wild monekys who come to harass everyone for food! Unfortunately for them, we didn't have any snacks for them, so just made them pose for our pictures instead!After spending as few days recharging out batteries, we boarded a plane to Borneo island ready to spend a few weeks searching for wild animals!
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