Visiting UNESCO heritage sites is probably one of my goals in life. (I’m not making this up. They really do fascinate me.) George Town in Penang was definitely fascinating and beautiful. We cycled around the area, stopping at the different street arts at random places. I got to absorb the ambience of the place and could imagine people in the old days lived in the town; Chinese merchants, the local Malays and British that walked the streets. It was like when I visited Angkor Wat last February all over again.
The shophouses are now home to the locals and also cafes that mostly set the rustic environment around alive. Tourists, with their hats, sunglasses and most definitely big cameras were there walking and doing what we were doing, exploring George Town.
I didn’t get to explore a lot though. It seemed like other people we only trying to find all the street arts around. But it was more than that to me. I wanted to see the old town hall and the abandoned buildings that were used to be hospitals and jails.
I even wanted to see the old Protestant Cemetery that has the gorgeous tomb stones around. We passed it on the way back to the apartment at the end of the day. I call it gorgeous because of the rare, completely non-asian tombs. The place has that gothic, rustic feeling that makes me curious of who these people were, why they were buried here in Penang, and what they did that certainly made George Town the town it is today. It’s all so mysterious.
My friends may call me crazy for wanting to take pictures at the Cemetery. But I certainly won’t do it for the Ooo-he-so-brave-he-took-pictures-at-the-cemetery praise. Most of us Asians, still think of the cemeteries as ghostly place that shouldn’t be disturbed unless you want the spirit to follow you home. I have no intention to do that. I respect the dead.
Anyway, if given the choice to come back and explore George Town, I would definitely come back and do a walking/cycling tour all around the town. The 2 hours we spent there was not enough. I recommend exploring the place in the afternoon after lunch at the town itself!