Hello. Apa Khabar.
Still on my third day at Penang, after we—my friend Amina and I—have had a look at Masjid Kapitan Keling, we walked around the neighbourhood for a while. It was early afternoon so the streets were a bit less busy, but apparently around dinnertime, some restaurants around there get filled up with the dinner crowd and long queues.
We came across this place called love lane, which is a street with lots of old-looking buildings. It is unclear of the reason why it’s called love lane but back in the day, there were a lot of brothels there and rich Chinese businessmen also lodged their mistresses in the houses along the streets. Because like half of Georgetown, Penang is a Unesco World Heritage Site, most buildings retained a lot of their original architectural designs, so the houses on this street looked like they were straight out of a storybook. The street hosts a lot of trendy cafes, boutique hotels and souvenir shops!
We found this store above whilst walking down the street and I couldn’t resist its charms. They had handmade gift items including a collection of stationery and pouches all made with batik fabric or pattern—Batik is huge around here. But the best part is the inner room which you get to by passing through this little verandah that houses flower pots and paintings, with little signposts given off a rainforest-like ambience. There were some really old and rustic machineries with flowers growing out of them! All magical, very magical!
The inner sanctuary had jewellery and rugs plus other trinkets as well. I picked out a few things to buy and my friend haggled the price down for me ‘Malay style’ which was very amusing to watch. Side note: I noticed that when referring to people older than you around here, strangers I mean, you call them uncle or aunty! I have seen that in Korean and Indian TV shows as well. is it an Asian thing?
We walked some more around the neighbourhood and I noticed that there were a lot of temples and I was curious as to why, so we ventured into one of the fancy looking and huge ones and I have to say, the Architecture was spectacular. It looked like it was just re-done, so it had a bit of a contemporary element to it. The juxtaposition of old and new left an impression on me.
Next stop was finding the street murals on Armenian street by the Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic, whose works are often compared to that of Banksy. The street Arts are all made in fun angles that inspires you to take creative photos. We had a laugh trying out all the different poses and saved the best mural for last, the famous ‘kids on a Bicycle!’
I kept saying to Amina how beautiful everything looked and I wanted to take a photo of all I was seeing. I think this was the day that I fell in love completely with Penang! There were a bunch of tourists around and this lady was kind enough to offer to take photos of me and Amina, and we had a little chat with her. I have mastered the art of small talk with complete strangers, thank you London!
It was getting late and we still had one stop left, trying out the World Famous ‘Penang road Teochew Chendul!!—more on that in a bit. Amina’s dad picked us up and we headed for Penang road. When we got there, the street was busy and there were people queuing up to buy food, desserts and of course just like us the famous Chendul!
The shop started selling Chendul—which is a shaved ice with topping dessert—back in 1936 and now they have over 20 locations around Malaysia. But the Penang road shop is the original one and they still sell it at a stall on the street. You can check out the short video below for a visual of the dessert and where it is sold!
Side note, if recycle bins are these fun and colourful—bottom right photo above—I can see more people indulging the art of Recycling! Let’s get on it Nigeria!
After the dessert and hanging out for a bit, Amina and her dad dropped me off at the hotel and drove back to their hometown! It was really a lovely experience and thank you for showing me a bit of Penang! Terimah Kasih Kawan dan Pak Cik. Semoga bertemu kembali tidak lama lagi!