Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Georgetown, Penang

Eleanor really can speak Hokkien.  Georgetown is supposedly around 40% Chinese and many of them are Hokkien speakers.  On the way from the Georgetown bus station we were shown around town by our Hokkien speaking cab driver.  I haven't a clue what he said but he supposedly told Eleanor where to eat and what to avoid.

We didn't know how good we had it in Kuala Lumpur.  We were staying in a new 5 star hotel in the 5 star part of town and quickly grew used to it.  Jet lagged we'd wander each morning in the dark past the Petronas Towers to our roti and mee noodle breakfast at the 24 hour ever hopping Nasi Kandar Pelita, with free wifi!

In comparison Georgetown, especially the old part of the city at first glance appears kind of third worldy, grimy, mildewed and tumble down.  The sidewalks are falling apart.   Our hotel is a renovated old Chinese shop house brought up to date with solar power, sensor activated compact florescent lighting, in room jacuzzi and much needed and appreciated air conditioning.  The furniture has been restored but the wifi is weak, slow and goes out entirely every few hours. 

Slowly some of the stronger points of Georgetown have made themselves evident.  There is wonderful Indian and Chinese food here.  We haven't had a bad meal since arriving, a great meal for 2 can cost $12 US.  The city has a British history reflected in some of the street names that the Malaysians haven't wanted to or have been able to change.  The capital of Penang state is still called Georgetown and the city that faces it on the mainland is still called Butterworth.  Posted streets are still known as Hamilton, Dickens, and  Campbell.  Our hotel is on Jalan Hutton.

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