Georgetown, Penang is just asking to be explored by trishaw. Wheelchairs don’t fit on, but lots of children do! The trishaw commands a sort-of historic respect on the congested roads. Normally in Malaysia little guys give way to bigger guys who give way to the biggest guys. But trishaws pedal merrily out into traffic, confident that all will give way, and they do. Decorated with flowers, flags and umbrellas, and sometimes playing music, they make a fine team with their often toothless grinning drivers; chilled out old guys who sit around on street corners. We found two who were happy to ‘just ride around’ and show us the old part of town.
We stopped at the oldest temple in town, there was a stern and apparently necessary sign warning that joss sticks were to be no more than four feet in length!
We saw weavers, jewelery makers, and the last remaining hand-made joss stick makers all busy at their craft. A whole street was lined with flower sellers, making bouquets and garlands for offering at the temple.
Later we climbed around Fort Cornwallis, playing on the cannons and breaking out of the gunpowder storage stronghold.
Of course, Penang is world famous for hawker food, and we managed to eat chicken rice, chendol, ais kachang and Nonya sweets from the frenetically busy hawker stalls. We watched the chicken rice man wield his cleaver with the skill of someone who chops dozens of chickens, all day, everyday. Who wants the feet?
We toured the Peranakan Museum, learning the history of the Nonyas and Babas, and imagining what it would be like to live in their grand house. Our guide was so excited about the history, it was contagious.
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