Thursday, July 3, 2008

Penang

From Tanah Rata I made my way via bus to Georgetown on the island of Penang. I don’t think a 7 hour bus ride is the best way to celebrate ones birthday but I sort of decided I would just celebrate when I got back to Thailand where the beer was cheaper. I stayed in the China town area of Georgetown and of the 4 places I stayed in Malaysia 3 of them have been in China town. I guess I could just have returned to China instead of going to Malaysia.

Georgetown seems to be a strange mix with English, Chinese, Indian, and Malay/Muslim cultures and building styles all existing next to each other. I wondered around the city visiting Mosque, Chinese and Hindu temples and an English Church and fort. I think the thing I enjoyed the best in Georgetown was taking a tour of a Chinese businessman’s house the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion.



The stories about the man and the design of the house were really interesting. The guide spent a lot of time talking about the way the house was designed following fung shway (Sure this is spelled wrong). The house was cool with no air condition just a few fans but stayed cool due to the design so that air and water would flow through the house cooling the building. He was a very rich man and on his death 4 countries flew their flag at half-mast in respect for him. He once said that he would provide whatever the people require and spent his life building an empire of different products and also gave a lot back to the different communities he was involved in. He also had 8 wives, which sounds really impressive to me since I don’t think I can handle one.

I spent one day taking a bus and going to a butterfly farm on the other side of the island. Like the butterfly park in Kuala Lumpur I was impressed with all the butterflies. Also it was nice to see some of the beaches on the island. Here is one of the butterfly pictures that I really like.

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