The traffic was painstakingly slow when we rode the bus to the centre of town. It was early in the morning and everybody was on his or her way to somewhere. Georgetown, the bustling capital city of the state of Penang, had woken up and was in full swing.
Exploring the capital city of Penang
The streets of Little India where filled with smells, colours and sounds. A sensory explosion. From every little shop, loudspeakers pumped Indian music into the streets. Scents of flowers and incense lingered in the air and woman dressed in colourful garments were out and about chatting and doing groceries. Men were setting up stalls, making tea and Roti Canai for breakfast and discussing important issues amongst each other. I felt like I was walking around in a Bollywood film.
Colourful hindu temples stood tall and proud in small streets and a block away you could find a white mosque sending out a call to prayer and on another street corner a Buddhist temple. At the Buddhist temple, devotees were lighting incense sticks that filled the air with smoke and as we stood there watching, a bell rang and suddenly people rushed to a little stand in front of the temple and lined up. A man and woman started handing out bread and water. This charity was for everyone, young and old, rich and poor. Regardless of nationality or religion. A beautiful message that left us feeling happy and thankful.
Behind the Buddhist temple, a small alleyway led us to another neighbourhood. Chinese shophouses lined the streets and they had the prettiest tiles on the walls and floors. It was quiet. Chairs stood in the shade of the houses and seemed to invite us to sit, slow down and breathe in the atmosphere. I felt like I could live here and spend time photographing every house and writing and wandering around the colourful streets. Cats sauntered along in the heat and a woman sat in front of her house between beautiful flowers and slowly waved a fan to cool down here face.
Evening on the jetties
In the evening, when the sun began to set, we strolled along the waterfront and onto some of the clan jetties. Built on stilts over the water and lined with small houses, life on the jetties is different. Chinese clans settled here in Penang in the 19th century when the jetties were used for loading and unloading goods. As we walked along the narrow wooden walkway I peeked into the small houses, into living rooms with a lounge and a television and a little buddhist shrine. I saw children playing together on their jetty street and people sitting in front of a fan watching TV. An old wrinkled man rode his bike along and I wondered if he would have lived on this jetty all his life and how his life would have evolved around the jetty.