street food, multi-culturism and relaxing pains
15.08.2012 - 19.08.2012 31 °C
Penang had a tall order to live up to. The first stop on our trip around the world where we rejoice in our five months away from work and the pains of busy London life. The street food capital of the world. Not only do we LOVE food, but add 'street' in front of it, and the 'placebo effect' kicks in, making it THAT MUCH BETTER. Plus, Penang is a mixing pot of Malay, Chinese and South Indian cultures. Given they are those are top on our food lists, we thought life couldn't get much better. That is, until we experienced relaxing pains.
Who knew it was this difficult to relax? Months and months of built up stress living in the fast pace of life needs to unravel somewhere, somehow... and that happened in Penang. Jet lag, acclamation to heat and sunshine (we are from London after all!) and general moodiness enveloped us. We had plans of a grandeous website for our travels... I would integrate some nutrition bits and bobs, Patrick would utilise his analytics to give us all interesting and obscure facts and figures of our travels, and life would be as easy as a click of a button. Unfortunately, tens of hours later and sleepless nights (partially due to jet lag too!), we are here at Traveller's Point. But now, we have a working travel blog! However, I digress as we are in Penang(!) the first stop of our five month long holiday.
First impressions are the heat (:-)), the friendliness of people, and the respect of cultures in this small Asian city. And of course, the hawker stalls! One street in Georgetown (the capital) called the 'Street of Harmony' has a beautiful mosque, Buddhist temple and Hindu shrine within one block of each other. Vastly different cultures and religions co-exist quite easily and seemingly happily too. As an old British empire, there are beautiful colonial buildings scattered throughout as well.
And the food! We had very high expectations with hawker stalls. My dreams of finding the most mouth watering street food at every corner unfortunately were not met. It took us a few days to figure out how to choose a stall, and in the end, it came to instinct (and recommendations!) I can't say I had a 'this is the best [insert food here] i've had in my life' moment, but I did have some amazing Indian curries, curry fried chicken and banana and sweetcorn pancakes that won't be forgotten anytime soon. And perhaps our perceptions and taste experiences were tainted by our relaxing pains.....
On our last night here as we finalise the outline of our travel blog and reflect on the start of our trip with our bellies full of curry (and a cheeky Tiger beer), I now finally feel the layers of stress peeling away, the relaxing pains diminishing, and I'm looking forward to the next leg, white sandy beaches on an island in Thailand!