I knew about Penang’s Georgetown even before learning to ride a bicycle. I was just a little kid sitting on my grandfathers laps, listening toi his tales of far away lands. He worked on big cruise ships all his life, and the line called “Asia” would actually take him from Trieste to Hong Kong. No wonder Penang was on the map, as one of the highlights of every trip.
Georgetown is a place where i like to walk and wander around old houses. The colours, textures and shapes bring me back to the old days, when busy Chinese traders were making business with all kind of people travelling through the Malacca strait.
Either they were shophouses, temples, clanhouses or warehouses, there’s a very distinctive charme to them. It might just be the elegance of the Chinese writings right outside the door, or the delicate paper lamps, or again the very accurate choice of colours. I can walk around for hours when the light is right, and take pictures of all those facades: after a bit they all look like slice of cakes to me, they make me hungry…!
Some parts of the town haven’t been (yet) restored and looked after by the UNESCO conservation project. Few old buildings are now completely surrounded by tropical trees, and if it wasn’t for the huge roots of the banyans, these houses would have probably collapsed already.
Beside the commercial areas, i like to go to the little residential enclaves as well. This is where people live their life. Away from the busy backpacker area, but still at short distance from the core of town, pastel colours, potted plants on the doorstep, caged birds, old music and smell of cooked food remind you that Georgetown is not just an open sky museum, but a unique place where its people still living life everyday. While the world get more modern and fast, down here one can still feel the slower pace of life of the good old days.