We picked Hannah and her 2 kids up from Butterworth on Thursday. It's been more than 15 years (I think). The last time we met, my boy played lantern together with the kids at her parents' house. One was a toddler and the other was still in diapers! Both of them are taller than me now. 8( And they're such nice kids.
We immediately took a trishaw ride to the clan piers after checking in. The trishaw riders entertained us with stories as they pedaled, one of how Love Lane (one of the roads we had to past) was a popular place for the American GIs on their furlough during the Vietnam War. Many love stories, trysts, etc, etc took place there.
The trishaw riders dropped us off at the Chew Jetty. We took a quick walk there before going for dinner. We over-ordered! Other Half and I have passed by the area so many times, yet never stopped to walk on the jetties lined with houses; our own watered down version of Venice! We didn't even notice that they existed there! I thought the jetty settlement was rather quaint.
After dinner, we opted to walk back to hotel as the night was rather cool. The picture above is the Logan Memorial. This is just one of 4 sides; the other 3 sides being Temperance, Fortitude and Wisdom. It was a rather long walk but we walked past many other historical buildings and monuments. I've just realized that Penang is actually very similar to Singapore in many aspects but it's nicer, not so 'controlled'. It is a nice place to walk to see the different architectural designs. You get a mix of everything, even buildings with influences of ancient architecture from China. I finally see why it is a UNESCO historical city. Georgetown is a city with a past that gives it its present character.
Then it was off to Toys R Us to get a Rummikub. The toy makers should make Hannah and her kids their games ambassador. This gift of game from them to our kids is now our fond reminder of them and this trip. My kids are now hooked to the game. We got back and my gal set up the board after dinner. We played 2 games and she finally won!!! She never got to win the entire time we were in Penang.
One place which we found really interesting (and inspiring) was the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion... can't miss it cos it's painted indigo blue! I think the colour is really ugly but the guide says tourists started coming in for their tours after they changed to that colour! We had a guide for this visit, Joanna. She made the trip really interesting through her stories, descriptions and explanations. Entrance is RM12 per person but to me, it's really worth it. She explained the logic behind the construction of a building and I am awed by the way the artisans and builders from the days of old pay such details to them. In Bayview Hotel where we stayed, our room's bathroom floor couldn't drain the water properly and the other room had really squeaky air con fans. That despite the wing we were in being just recently refurbished. You can see the lack of details in the way things are done today. Joanna made the history of the house really entertaining by adding in snippets of stories everywhere... bringing the house very much alive.
Our 3 days-2night stay in Penang were also peppered with makan-makan here and there and also an afternoon of rain which 'chased' us back to the hotel... where the kids played one round of Rummikub while sitting it out. Instead of the 'proper' establishments, we opted for the hawkers and old coffee shops. It was fun, despite the cramped dining arrangements. In Penang, most places have nice food, anyway. Penang is rather congested now cos it's holiday season plus our stay coincided with the Chingay procession, some flower fest and lots of other things which are going on. We actually got stuck in a jam for almost an hour an Queensbay area on our way home... it was that packed!
Walks on the Esplanade and Fort Cornwallis, some catching up, late night games; it's definitely something memorable for all of us. Memories like this is what makes our life more colourful, meaningful and also fun! When we're old and as long as our memories hold, meetings of lives such as this will always be something nice to remember cos when we're old it's not what we own that matters most, it's the memories we have. And it's such memories that our kids will bring with them too as they make their own journeys. So, this one is definitely one that makes up the memory album.