|Northern neighborhoods of Georgetown with high-rise condominiums|
Blog Entry #38: Penang: The Pearl of the Orient
Friday, October 21, 2011
|KOMTAR skyscraper over traditional 2-story buildings|
Following two days of largely driving through and around Penang on SAS trips, Pat and I were excited to finally have a leisurely day to ourselves to walk historic Georgetown. First on our agenda, however, was a visit to the massive shopping malls beneath the 65-story KOMTAR building where I hoped to replace my tennis shoes that I inadvertently donated to the locals at the Taj Mahal.
|Inside the KOMTAR shopping mall|
This proved more challenging than I had anticipated: apparently there is very little market in Malaysia for size 12 running shoes. Rather than drag Pat through 7 levels of this massive shopping center, I deposited him at the local Starbucks with an English language newspaper (headline: Gaddafi killed in Libya), while I scoured the mall for shoes. I eventually found one shoe store that had exactly one size 13 pair of running shoes – success! I am now breaking them in for our upcoming trip to the temples in Cambodia.
Penang is an ethnically diverse city with a fascinating population that has seen it mix together peoples from Asia and Europe for several centuries. Wikipedia has an excellent overview for any of you wishing to read more about it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penang). Claimed by the British in 1786, Penang was an important link in the international spice trade through the strategic Strait of Malacca that separates the Malay Peninsula from the island of Indonesia to the west and south.
|Penang Town Hall|
|Penang City Hall|
|The 14 provincial flags in the Malaysian sun|
Malaysia gained its independence from Great Britain in 1957 as the Federation of Malaya, following a brutal occupation by the Japanese during World War II and a subsequent armed insurgency by the Malay Communist Party against the British. It was constituted as the current state of Malaysia in 1963. The Malayan flag adopted elements of the US flag, with 14 red and white stripes and a 14-pointed sun to represent the 13 provinces and the federal district, and the crescent moon to represent Islam.
|Kapitan Kelling Mosque, Georgetown|
|Kuan Yin Goddess of Mercy Chinese Temple|
|Yap Clan Chinese Temple|
|Hindu Temple in Little India|
|Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Clocktower|
|Penang "Beetle Nut" sculpture & roundabout|