Our first night in Penang was spent at a great guesthouse (read bed and breakfast) by the name of You Le Yuen. It is operated by a young Dell-computer-guy-turned-entrepreneur owner. Leong See Kit has sought to develop a four bedroom guesthouse centrally located in the best part of Georgetown in Penang. It is a bit more expensive than the budget places, but it is worth the stay. The house is spacious, the rooms are big, and he is a wealth of info. Upon finding out about our interest in great, but not necessarily expensive dining, he recommended Line Clear, a Muslim Indian place serving Nasi Kandar (a style of dish which I will let you Google if interested). Just to let you know about the quality of the recommendation, this was a place that Anthony Bourdain featured on one of his shows. He also gave other great recommendations for food as well.
Anyway, the amenities were great, the ac was cold, and the location was awesome. Located at 7 Love Lane, one could head a few blocks to churches, temples, and museums in one direction, or to food, mansions, and other museums in the other direction. Mr. Leong’s English is excellent, and he is smart (and he even visited Dell’s Round rock headquarters), and so he understood the sorts of experiences we were looking for and could direct us for a maximum experience during our stay of less than a week.
Finally, I should note that he can even arrange dinners for a large group, so this could be ideal for a family who wanted to have a large gathering in Penang. I am attaching a photo of Mr. Leong with his resident chef from Nepal. The other photos are of the guesthouse. His website is www.youleyuen.com
Here are a few photos from the evening walk on which we looked at street art.
This morning we visit the Blue Mansion; home of a Chinese gentleman who as a child, did not speak until he was eight years old. When he began to talk, he informed his father he would be a wealthy businessman (or so the myth goes). He married into a wealthy Indonesian family, and from that he had the platform from which to prosper.
A rickshaw (pre-bicycle era) adorns the front porch. Now they are called trishaws because of the three wheels.
Today we went over to the Penang Butterfly Farm which was near the Penang National Park. The butterfly park was nice and we got to see all sorts of insects including a live Atlas moth that was probably 10 inches across. Below is a Malaysian leaf insect that mimics a leaf with nasty mold growing on it. It rests quite still during the day so it does not attract any birds.
Afterwards we went for a hike in the park, and took the canopy tour, which was brief and we did not see anything up in the canopy, but it was fun.
On the way back, we spotted a monitor lizard on the beach. This was no chameleon, or even iquana-sized reptile. It was 6 feet long and not particularly afraid of any of the people. It was munching on a dead fish on the shore.
In the evening, we went out shopping, and in the mall, there was a 3d painting on the floor where you could snap a photo.
In Penang a businessman Buddhist started a temple on a hill outside of Georgetown about 100 years ago. It lives on. We must have seen over 1000 Buddhas in it. Here is a photo of Kate in the beautiful setting and one interior photo.
We left Malacca days ago, but I am finally writing. It is quite the Malaysian town, and quite historic with its 500 year history. After getting UNESCO world heritage status, the visitors began coming. Now, the local advertisers have begun to exploit the opportunities, and the place is getting a surreal combination of old and new. Take for example the Mr. Potato (aka Pringles) signage as you enter the historic area. Asia is full of such contrasts.
Islam is the national religion, though they tolerate other religions in Malaysia. very well, actually. Anyway, on the way to the Kuala Lumpur airport, I asked the driver to go by the national mosque in Putra Maya which is where the state offices and prime minister are located. Here is a photo of this spectacular building.
Here is a photo of the prime minister’s building, like the White House.