July 25, 2009. Historic Georgetown.

Chinese Temple
Chinese Temple

Yesterday the three of us took a self guided walking tour of the historic district of Georgetown. Georgetown is the oldest part of Penang and is where the British lived and ruled when Malaysia was part of the Straights Settlement and was a Royal Colony.

We took a taxi to a historic house built by a Chinese merchant in the 1890s. It turned our it did not open until 11:00, so we began our walk. The first place we stopped was in a Chinese temple a few blocks away from the house.

Next stop was the Penang Museum. It was a few blocks away and we passed by a couple of historic churches on the way. Sea and Vivian used them as background for pictures of themselves. The churches did not appear to open to the public, so we didn’t go inside. The streets seemed very deserted. I expected crowds of tourists. The old crumbling buildings reminded me of French Quarter of New Orleans, but the architectural style was different.

Next stop was the Penang Museum. It wasn’t very large. We got through it in about an hour. There were hundreds of school kids running around and through

it. All wore distinct uniforms. Most looked very young, probably elementary school level. Photography wasn’t permitted in the Museum, but I snuck a few while the guards were herding the school kids.

Then we went to Fort Cornwallis Park. It is an old British fort build to protect the Penang harbor. There wasn’t anything spectacular to see, just old crumbling brick walls, rusting cannon, and a few unimpressive exhibits.

While at the Fort I heard music from a distance. We walked toward it and discovered a street fair of some kind. Some of the entertainment consisted of a group of men who were kicking a giant flag on a 25 foot flagpole up to another gut who caught it by balancing it on his head. They used no hands. Sometimes the catcher was on his feet, but sometimes he was standing on a step ladder. I wondered who thought this up? And why?

We ate street food at the fair. I had what I thought was deep friend sweet potatoes. It turned out it was durian. The color and texture changed completely when they were fried. The only way I recognized it was from its seed. Very


We ended the day back at the Chinese merchant’s house where we started the day. We took a tour that began at 15:00 and lasted a little more than an hour. We weren’t allowed to take pictures in the house for some reason, but I turned my flash off and got a few anyway.

We decided to walk back to the hotel. It took a little more than an hour, and it was very hot. Our walk took us through Little India. I took a few pics of old colonial era buildings on the way.

When we got back to the hotel, the girls wanted to nap. I showered and changed clothes then went out again. I walked around and had dinner. Nothing memorable was seen, done, or eaten.


About Charles Kirtley

Have been living in SE Asia and China since 2007. I have an opinion on most every subject, and don't mind sharing them. Lover and collector of worthless facts.
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