Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I have been really really lucky to get to some relatively newly named UNESCO World Heritage Sights.

My trip to Malaysia offered more opportunities!

IMG_2929 We landed in Penang at night.  Penang calls itself the “Pearl of the Orient”.  We were greeted by this “John Lennon” sighting.   IMG_2928 He knew I was taking his picture.  It was pretty funny.

We picked up one of our travellers at the hotel and went straight to dinner.  We went to The Sire Museum Restaurant. It was very pretty with lots of plants.  Our trips include most meals and one drink, juice, water or local beer.  It was warm in Penang.  The beer tasted GREAT!

IMG_2932A few of our group chatting.

IMG_2938The puffy ball things were scallops…awesome!  The flat icky looking thing a mushroom…yea…didn’t eat that! Dinner was fish…no picture of that

IMG_2939This was dessert!  I had a few bites, it was yummy.

We went to the hotel and relaxed.  It was not until the next morning that we got a really good look at the place AND the view from our room.

IMG_2942We stayed at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel.  It had a very classic feel, and the rooms were old fashioned but not uncomfortably so.  When we peaked out the window we saw we were over the pool.  When the sun came up even higher, we saw we were right on the water!


I love this.  The picture on the left is looking one way, the one on the right of the sun was looking the other…they were taken just seconds apart…but the lighting is so different.

Our first stop was visit to Penang Hill.  At the top of the hill is a resort.  The only way to get there is by train…I would call it an “incline” …something like The Peak Tram.  You go straight up.  There are people that live all around the hill and there are places for the train to stop so the people can hop on the train and go to the top or bottom.

IMG_2950IMG_2952I really wish these pictures would show you how steep it was UP that hill.  WOW!

At the top we got a beautiful look over Penang.  Sadly, it was hazy so the pictures do not give the place justice.


We walked around the top and I said to Diane “at least we don’t have to worry about Monkeys”  She asked me if I was kidding?  “err No”….well…there were Monkeys.  Just like in Hong Kong!

IMG_2964Too soon it was time to take the train back down and proceed to our next destination!

IMG_2971 Here are some of my companions.  We made sure we got in the front of the train!

IMG_2973 The tunnel…Down we went!

We drove a little way.  Here are a couple of snaps from the bus.

IMG_2997 IMG_2999

Our next stop was the Goddess of Mercy Temple. There were many levels to this temple.  It was incredible!



This is an “intention” tree. 

IMG_3016I am not sure what it is REALLY called, but in Catholicism when you have a prayer it is called a “Special Intention”  Each ribbon has a prayer on it…or maybe you would call it a wish.  There are such things as “Good Fortune, Good Health, Academic Success, Career Success,” etc.  Many of us bought one to hang on the tree.

IMG_3018 This is Kirk and Kari’s.  It says “Academic Success” 

The roof of the temple was AWESOME.  It was a direct copy of the “Temple of Heaven” that I would see in Beijing just the next week.

IMG_3011 The Statues were HUGE

IMG_3015IMG_3014IMG_3010 Each one represents a different thing…but sadly, I don’t know what.

IMG_3036Click on this picture!  This flower was just hanging on the vine…it looked like it was glowing from the inside! But there were no lights around it.  I thought it was very cool.

IMG_3034My friend Carol at the top.IMG_3025 Me in the same spot!

We stopped by St George’s Church.  This is SE Asia’s oldest and largest Anglican Church.  I was struck by how simple it was.  I am used to the ornateness of temples and Catholic Churches.

IMG_3111 IMG_3103 It is amazingly well preserved for how hot and humid and sweaty Malaysia can be!


We had lunch at Kafe Edelweiss IMG_3052 Pretty simple food…and from here we continued on our tour of Penang.

Another UNESCO sight was next.  We went to the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion.  (Also called the “Blue Mansion.”)  This house won the UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Award for Conservation.  The owner restored the mansion to it’s former glory using only “original” materials and techniques.  Only pictures could be taken on the outside…sad.


You can see the workmanship in these pieces on the ceiling.  They are made from broken pottery and pieced together…much like mosaic.


Malaysia is known for it’s flowers.  Here men and women string flowers that have come in from the Cameron Highlands to make necklaces.  Many of the necklaces are used in prayers.


IMG_3093 Here you can see how they are layered on and then prayers are said.  People pray where there is a spot..and don’t’ care who watches.

I was amazed at how crowded the temples were in the middle  of the day!


Some pray alone at a spot on the streetIMG_3094

Here is kind of a fun thing.  These items


are actually paper.  Someone who is alive will buy items like  beer, shoes, houses, boats, even fake money and burn them at the temples to send these items to their relatives who have died before them so they have what they need in the afterlife.  I like the thought of this…knowing your family still wants to take care of you when you are gone.

Of course…what would an Asian Tour be without a Trishaw ride.  Much like this experience in Hanoi- my “driver” decided at the most INopportune time to take the lead and throw us willy-nilly into on-coming traffic.  If I didn’t know better, I would think this a plot by my children…well…I think I know better…

IMG_3129 IMG_3127 

The drivers were good about snapping pics!  There’s Diane! And here are Susan and Carol. You will notice THEY are good about covering up…I needed sun after our misty/cloudy close 8 weeks in Hong Kong.  I had sun block on, I swear!

IMG_3131 IMG_3132

The trishaws took us to a type of floating village…the houses are on stilts.

IMG_3143 Here is the Custom’s house b/c this is a port city


We had one more mansion to visit.  The Pinang Peranakan Mansion.  From our notes, it is a mix of Chinese carved-wood panels, English floor tiles and is full of Scottish ironworks.  Here we were “guided” as it were by the loveliest woman.  I took a couple of snaps of her, but Alison was wise enough to get a proper picture.  She was TINY and her clothes beautiful.

IMG_3153 IMG_3155 (Sorry Alison!)

The house had some NEAT rooms and kitchens, but I will remember it for it’s tremendous white coffee.  Diane was smart enough to buy some in a “pod” to take home.  It was YUMMY.

  IMG_3154(some detail of the house)IMG_3156This is the bridal bed.  See the basket on the floor?  When the couple went to bed, a male and female chicken were put in the basket.  The next morning, the wives’ family was waiting when the curtains opened.  The top of the basket was taken off, and whichever chicken popped its head out first, THAT was the sex of the first child.  If they both popped out together?  TWINS!  Everything is so ornate!

This night we had our most traditional meal @ the Dragon King Baba Nyonya Restaurant

IMG_3163Here’s Diane before dinner. 

We had a FULL day, and the next day would see us off to the Cameron Highlands.  We would be able to see the rain forest and I was looking forward to the tea planation!

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