The Cultural Cross Roads of Penang

The call to prayer hung in the air like a melodic cultural marker as we sipped our tea in the Beautiful Jawi Perankan Mansion and daydreamed about the curry to come.  Penang turned out to be our fifth UNESCO World Heritage site, it was the place where the British East India Company ruled the spice trade in Malaysia in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s.  The main city of Georgetown was named after King George III and it had wonderful architecture with Asia/Indian/Malay influence with a British vibe overlaid with Islam.  Lots of Chinese temples, street art and cheap food eateries dotted the town, tea was readily available in the afternoon and the hot sun never seem to abate.

This mix of cultures makes it evident that at least this part of Malaysia is very tolerant of cultures and religions, that’s a good sign.  We splurged a bit on our accommodations, staying in a old carriage house that has been remodeled with modern conveniences and old world style.  We loved our Mansion and we were within a half block of really cheap food; a dollar and quarter for amazing dumpling soup and chicken.

After settling into our rooms and meeting up with the Gallamoy’s we partook in a few adult beverages then wandered next door for tapas and spaghetti for the kids.  We tucked in the kids and sent them off to sleep with shamrock dreams.

The next day was St. Patrick’s day after eating breakfast we planned our stroll around town, visiting some of the famous street art, Chinese temples and tranquil jetty’s all the while Seamus and I planned our strategy for watching the Ireland vs England rugby match at an Irish pub.

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We at dinner with the families and put the kids to bed and hopped an Uber for Healy Mac’s Irish Pub.  There was good celebratory atmosphere for the game (good crack as the Irish say) and the Irish put on a dominant rugby performance and claimed an undefeated six nations season.  We dragged ourselves back home and chatted with some other St Patrick’s day celebrants until some Russian guests thought we were too loud and we decided to head to bed.

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I got to sleep in the next day until about 9 but did make it to breakfast to wish Caroline a happy birthday and received some nice birthday wishes myself.  Caroline and I decided we would continue our sushi lunch tradition from last year and recruited Mimi, Mia and Pamela for a lovely lunch of salmon niguri and edamame.  We went home for swimming and then had cake and presents, Caroline got some jewelry and some clothes, and I got a GoPro for filming our adventures.  We couldn’t be bothered to go out for dinner that night, so we ordered out for pizza and watched the last two movies in the Harry Potter movies and headed to bed.

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The next day we visited fort Cornwallis and St. George Church; the girls went to another 3D museum (check facebook for those photos) and wandered a bit of the historic Georgetown area.  It was too hot to stay out very long so we headed back to our pool and got some quick lunch; lots more soups, chicken pot pies and bok choy.

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The next day was our day for visiting a new adventure park and water park called ESCAPE.  We arrived at the park at 10 and went straight for the rock climbing and obstacle canopy course.  The kids had to push themselves a bit at first but they had great fun on the structures.  I was drenched with sweat in the first 20 minutes.  We figured out that the kids couldn’t go on the longest zip lines and Caroline was a bit distraught and shed a few tears.  We were bummed for an hour or so until we encountered the operations manager by chance and he cheerfully scooped us up and said come with me I will take you personally.  He brought us to a closed course where we were the only people allowed and completed 6 really great zip lines, one of which was at least 150 feet in the air and was giving Maddy and I a bit of a queasy stomach, but Caroline was awesome and loved every minute.

By the time lunch rolled around we had to guzzle down several bottles of water and headed to the water park to cool off.  We submerged ourselves for a bit then headed off for some of the water slides and water obstacles.  I got to try out my new GoPro and let the kids record some of the small slides and pools.  We had a great day but we were all completely exhausted and collapsed into bed.  Then next day our first train ride to KL!!


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