Sunday, December 7, 2008

Penang Draw

Day 271
I was up pretty early and found a place around the corner for breakfast. I had wanted to try and switch hotels, mine smelled like moth balls, but every place that I checked at was full. That was really too bad. As it was still rather early I went back to my hotel and checked out the different pets they had around, there were some turtles, a chipmunk and a hamster.

My first stop of the day was the Goddess of Mercy Temple, built in 1801. There were a lot of people around and the smell of incense was every where. There was a woman selling birds that you could let free. I have heard that the birds are trained to fly back after some time and that it is all a hoax. I wandered Little India for a bit and bought a new mini flashlight. I don't know what happened to mine. I also found a colorful temple and some really fresh oj. The fruit juice here is just amazing, I can't get enough of it. The next temple I found had some wonderful carvings and I watched as people burned fake money.

Each separate Chinese clan had it's own house. The oldest remaining one is known as Cheoh Kongsi. The temple/meeting hall was just breathtaking. I don't think I would have been allowed inside so I didn't even try. Nearby was a wonderful and empty temple. It was nice to have it to myself and I got some really nice pictures. Next up was a bit of th e island's colonial heritage with St. George's Church and the Penang State Museum. My guidebook claimed th at this was the best museum in the country and I wanted to check it out.

Penang had been occupied by ancient tribes, however was basically empty when the British rediscovered it to use as a port town. This was when Georg etown was founded. Soon the island became a trading center and people from all over Asia began to move in. There were rooms dedicated to each of the major ethnic groups on the island. This was pretty interesting and concentrated on decoration and marriage ceremonies. My favorite part was on different locals. There was one guy who repaired shoes for about 70 years, and another who walked door to door selling trinkets.

The history bit was also quite good, but for some reason I didn't take very good notes on it so I don't really remember much. The museum was the best that I have seen in Malaysia, but then again, I haven't really seen much in this country.

When the museum was done I grabbed some lunch before hitting the internet cafe. Unfortunately I couldn't upload pictures was was stuck just typing up future blog entries so that I wouldn't get too behind. When I was out of things to do I headed back to my hotel to take a nap and plan the next part of my trip. I was considering Indonesia.

After dinner I went t o a bar/hotel that looked like a backpacker draw to see if I could make some friends. I managed to meet English Sara wh o was also traveling alone. We spent most of the evening chatting and making plans for the following night.

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