We’re finishing up four days in Penang, and we’ve had a great time. This is supposed to be a highlight of Malaysia with a great mishmash of Chinese, Malay, and Indian cultures, and it’s all here. And of course you put all that together with and you’re likely to get some great food, which we’ve certainly enjoyed.
To our surprise, they are still celebrating Chinese New Year here. Last night, the ninth night of celebrations, there were huge fireworks displays around midnight. It felt as though they were going off pretty much right next to our hotel, and that might literally have been true. Today streets near our hotel are blocked off for more celebrations and we’re hearing all sorts of music and drums; we’re hoping to see a parade or two tonight. Fortunately, most things are open these days, so it’s not disruptive like it was a week ago.
One of the odd things we’ve observed about Malaysia is that in restaurants that rely on local Malays for an important part of their business, as opposed to just tourists or even Indians or Chinese, they don’t serve any alcohol or beer or wine at all. It’s not just that the Muslim locals wouldn’t drink it – apparently they would be offended to have it in their presence and so we can’t get it either. Strikes me as strange, and it must certainly make it harder for those restaurants to prosper. But then it got even stranger this afternoon when we observed that a Malaysian restaurant with great food we’ve been to twice for lunch doesn’t serve beer or wine but it does serve pork. Strange indeed.
Tomorrow Mark’s father and brother fly to Singapore to start their trip home, while Mark & I take a morning boat to the island of Langkawi, Malaysia’s most famous beach and tourist destination. This life of ours is exhausting, so we’re looking forward to relaxing on the beach for five days. 🙂
So without further ado, here are some great pictures of our time in Penang, courtesy of John Sullivan.