My original Monday plan was to rent a motorbike and ride around the whole of Penang island (outside Georgetown itself), but as work emails and route-planning took far longer than expected, I decided to knock off a few remaining local sights and save the ride for tomorrow.
First up was a tour of Cheong Fatt Tze’s mansion – the favorite residence of one of China’s most famous rags-to-riches success stories.
Having been born to a poor Hakka family in 1840, by the time of his death at the ripe old age of 76, Cheong Tze Fatt had managed to amass unparalleled wealth, fame, and political influence (including government titles in three different countries). The tour itself was so-so, but required if you want to go inside.
From here I looked up Wat Buppharam on Google Maps and began a 4km walk that turned out to be nothing more than an incorrect maps listing. Doh!
At least the walk itself was entertaining though; I spent nearly the whole time on a video Skype call with my mom over the 3G network, showing her around the city in realtime.
Modern technology is amazing.
Eventually I did find my way to Wat Buppharam, where I relaxed my feet for a bit before engaging in the activity for which it is famous:
Lifting a small statue of Buddha, which answers your questions in weight. If it’s light the answer is yes, and if it’s heavy the answer is no. My answer was no. Too bad I didn’t ask, “is it simple to see how this trick works?” 😛
Next I was planning to head back to town and do the second LP walking tour (Chinatown),
But a friendly local told me instead about two other nearby temples that are well worth a visit.
So I continued my temple-hopping day, stopping for some fresh watermelon juice and rojak, one of the few “can’t miss” Penang dishes still remaining on my menu.
The two temples were Wat Chaiyamangalaran and Dhammikarama, spectacularly colored Thai and Burmese Buddhist complexes directly across the street from one another.
Then, thoroughly exhausted from miles of walking, I headed home via the nice waterfront path just North of where I’d finished.
What I really wanted to do was pop in for a quick nap and cram a few more sights in before evening, but unfortunately I yet again got caught up online. Surprise, surprise – no matter what I try I can’t get the emails to stop
So I instead finished my day with just a quick walk to Little India for dinner, and that was about it.
Note: These posts are behind realtime; the above narrative took place on Monday, January 17th.