Flying within Southeast Asia is easy and cheap. On Sunday, I flew from Kuching to Penang for $20, which is kind of like flying from Fresno to Mendocino. Penang is a Malaysian province northwest of Kuala Lumpur that has been called the “Pearl of the Orient.”
Penang is famous for its food, which reflects the many ethnic groups here with rich culinary traditions — mainly Hokkien from Southern China, Tamil from Southern India, Malay and some English influences. I am staying in Georgetown on the island of Penang. Georgetown’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site 🙂 with architecture from the period of British colonization.
After checking into my hotel, I took off for a walk to find an electrical socket adapter. (In a town that is new to me, I usually start with an errand that requires me to walk a lot). I found one in a hardware store that was like the ones in the US where you can find stuff that has been on the shelves since 1921. Most of Old Town is nothing fancy but it has a lot of personality and feels loved. The streets smell like Chinese and Indian herbs and spices, frangipani blossoms, and incense from the temples and small alters along the sidewalks. Old Town is full of busy cafes and food carts, bright colors next to faded paint, Chinese temples, Muslim mosques, and Georgetown’s famous wall art.