Penang is a beautiful, beautiful place. We are staying in the heart of the Unesco heritage area in Love Lane, so today there was only one thing to do really – explore.
Our hotel is called 23 Love Lane, and it's incredible. We have a two story villa style thing, with a king sized bed downstairs for Claire and Amy, and two single beds upstairs for Mum and I. There's also a tv on both levels, as well as two large bathrooms. It's very spacious, and incredible for the price, which I think worked out to be about $40 a night each. You could never get anything like this in Australia (although you could get a lot cheaper in Malaysia). There are a few buildings that make up the 10 suite hotel, and the oldest building itself is from the 1800s. This hotel is well worth staying in, and as I write this now at the conclusion of the second day, we arrived back to find our beds ready from the turn down service, some beautiful fragrant candles lit and the entire room cool from the air con. Bliss.
But I digress.
Our first day started off with a nice breakfast in our hotel, which was fully included in our accommodation cost. I went with a traditional roti meal, which I would compare to a naan bread. It was paired with a peanut sauce, and was really quite nice, and scrambled egg on the side. Amy and Mum had an omlette, while Claire was happy to stick to the small continental buffet available with toast, cereals and fruits. Oddly enough, there was also a cheese platter on offer.
After that we left to go exploring. There is some incredible street art around Penang, which I was not ready for. As soon as I realised what was in store, the hobbyist photographer in me was so excited. For some reason I didn't capture any of the iron street “graffiti”, which tells the history of Penang. It's amazing, they have actually shaped iron to form shapes and tell stories, about random every things like the birds, or mahjong, or their religious culture.
There's also some very famous street art painted onto the walls, by a man called Ernest Zacharevic. If you click on that link you will see some of the amazing images, but unfortunately it seems as though age has wearied the images. One of them I discovered it wasn't what I thought it was, only when googling a link for my blog! I thought it was a little boy flying a kite, when in fact he was pulling a dog on a lead. Here are some of the examples I managed to see during our travels:
We also managed to find our way through a few templates to the clan houses on the jetty, which are basically wooden houses on stilts, and Fort Cornwallis.
All up, we walked about 12km over the course of the day – not a bad effort in 32+ degree heat!
Culinary wise the first day was interesting. We had treats like 3D form art coffees, and the best butter chicken I have ever eaten in my life at a market we discovered at night. But we also were unfortunate enough to taste ice creams which such delicious flavours of “durian” and “red bean”. I use the term delicious very loosely, in fact it was pretty f'ing disgusting! My sister couldn't get the taste out of her mouth for hours (and couldn't finish the ice cream), and I felt like I had been eating kidney beans. Not much of a treat!
I was pretty relieved to see my bed at the end of the night, as I was pretty tired. But what a great first day, and what a beautiful place to take a much needed holiday. The only sour note for me was that Mario isn't here with me, but thanks to wifi in the hotel I'm still able to keep in regular contact with him (not as good as the real thing by any means, but it's a way to still see him and talk to him).
After such a great first day, I couldn't wait to see what day 2 would bring.