I have a theory that Penang, Malaysia is the Queens, NY of Southeast Asia.
Non-Newyorkers will have to forgive me for my propensity to understand the world as an analytic study in how "Newyorky" a place is or (sadly) is not. Generally when I make these kind of comparisons they elicit a rolled eye or a laugh— occasionally from my travel companion who, bless him, is patient with me— but this time, I think I'm really on to something.
The thing about Georgetown is that while it's certainly not as modern and prosperous as Singapore (this part of the world's "Manhattan" I should say) or as bohemian and hip as Thailand (Brooklyn, anyone...?), it's the ultimate melting pot of Southeast Asia. And it's Malaysia's diversity that qualifies it as "Queens-y."
Or is Queens "Malaysia-y?" Anyway.
Speaking of melting pots, we're doing a fair bit of melting ourselves here in Georgetown.
It's extremely hot. Like, 87 degrees with 70 percent humidity hot.
For those of you back in the States who are up to your ears in snow, this climate may sound like a refreshing change. But believe me when I say that it's been an intense adjustment.
Today we spent most of our sweat-drenched time in the "Little India" of Georgetown.
While the Indian community is widely dispersed across Penang island along with Chinese, Malay and other populations, "Little India" certainly has a personality that is at once completely authentic and wonderfully unique.
The neighborhood is full of shops, restaurants and temples that are so elaborately decorated it's hard to even capture in a photograph.
And while people come here to shop and enjoy company with friends... the best thing to do here is eat.
And so we did. The food. Oh, the food. Did I mention the food? If I previously made clear my amorous feelings toward Thailand's rotee, let it be known that Georgetown's roti equals, no, surpasses my love for it.
In fact, we may just have to go back tomorrow and have another one.
Until then, check out my most recent article in the Post-Gazette about our time in Nanjing! Haven't had enough of China's Southern Capital? Check out our Nanjing archive to read more about one of our favorite Chinese cities.