Arrived in Penang

Jawi Peranakan Mansion

I end up calling the airline in the morning to make sure I am on today’s flight to Penang. They confirm I am. I am still charged double for the internet mishap. She can only see one transaction but my credit card shows two. I’ll wait a couple days to see if the problem resolves itself (At time of posting the transaction has been refunded with no intervention from me). Fun fact – even though I am using my USA phone in Malaysia with a daily international plan I need to call the Malaysian number not the international number when I make calls in Malaysia. I am confused but I’ve learned something new.

Now that I have the flight thing settled I let myself leave an hour later to the airport. The airport is crowded but I could have probably left even later because I spend time sitting around and reading waiting for my flight. I guess downtime reading is good since I don’t do it much lately. When I have downtime I either nap or do research for upcoming travels.

Walking around town yesterday I saw signs for ferries to Penang. I don’t bother to stop because I had already purchased a flight. I ask my grab driver to the airport about it. He says what I read is correct, that they no longer run ferries to Penang from Langkawi. The ferries are a casualty of covid. The effects from this illness stretch far and wide. I believe there are still ferries to Thailand running.

When I arrive in Penang my grab driver there tells me more about how hard covid has hit the city, It seems like tourism is ramping up again, hopefully enough to give locals some sort of normalcy since their livelihoods are so dependent on the tourism industry.

I am staying in Georgetown Penang, the historic district. I check into my hotel that is basically a room in an old Mughal mansion. The name of the hotel Jawi Peranakan Mansion is named after a specific type of Malay. I’ll talk about Peranakans in more detail later but Jawi Peranakan represents a Muslim of mixed Indian and Malay. They were prominent in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.

It’s a little musty inside but that comes with the territory. There is always some trade offs when staying at a place with a little character.

Soon its time to eat dinner. I get the impression that things close early and open early around here, a stark contrast from where I just came from. I need to make sure I plan my meals accordingly. Or perhaps things stay open later on the weekend? The sidewalk situation is mostly non-existent as well as crossroads. I spend a good deal of time walking the side of the road in Penang avoiding falling into the sewage drain.

I find a covered outdoor area that looks like a large food court. There are so many different foods to try that I have decision indecision. I find a cart with different types of proteins that are fried. I pick some and that is my meal for the evening; probably not the healthiest food so far. I also order ice kacang with cendol (pandan noodles). It has beans. The whole dish is semi-sweet. It is probably much healthier than my dinner choice.

Penang is where I really can tell I am in a Muslim country. I hear call to prayer multiple times a day, women typically dress conservatively and cover their hair and you will rarely find pork anywhere (beef is sometimes scarce to due to the large Hindu population).

Tomorrow I have a food tour scheduled so I can start my eating adventure of Malaysia.

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