Day two began with a walking tour of colonial districts based on Lonely Planet’s suggested route, albeit in reverse order.
Eastern and Oriental Hotel. It would not have caught his attention that much if not for the fact that the hotel was established by the Sarkies Brothers, Tigram and Martin in 1884, who later founded Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Undeniably Penang’s and, potentially Malaysia’s most grand hotel.
They made an entrance into the hotel and snapped several shots. None of the staff seemed to mind, which was great. No doubt they won’t attempt this gig in Raffles Hotel.
The next stop was Cheong Fatt Tze’s Blue Mansion. Cheong was the Rockefeller of the East. The Last Mandarin. In other words, very rich, very powerful. At 11am, they were just in time for the tour around the house (RM10, but worth every sen and sense). Every single object in the house – the door, the chair, the table, floor tile, and their placement – seemed to echo the glorious moments of the past to every visitor who care to pause and feel them. Photography is not allowed inside, which made every instance in the building more memorable.
Who would have known Mr Cheong had such a fast vehicle back then?
Things didn’t go smoothly for them. First she realized she lost her sunglasses. Secondly, her stomach did not feel quite right. Something was wrong with the buffet breakfast, she felt. Feeling uncomfortable, they returned to the hotel for her to rest.
As she got better, they pursued their walking tour in the afternoon. Lunch proved to be difficult, again. They eventually settled for a newly opened restaurant with traditional Chinese tea art as the main theme. Nothing special worth mentioning, except for the long waiting period despite no other customers.
After lunch it was buildings and buildings and buildings. They covered the Cathedral of the Assumption, Penang Museum, St George’s Church, Supreme Court, Town Hall, City Hall, State Assembly Building and Victoria Memorial Clocktower. They passed by Fort Cornwallis, but did not went in.
On the way back, he spotted this Banksy-wannabe graffiti at the turning point of an overhead bridge.
Dinner. After all it was Christmas Eve. They decided to splurge a bit. The Opera at 93E Jalan Penang was the final decision. The environment was excellent and the food was relatively well-matched. Classy without stiff, as someone puts it.
However, wife stomach felt worse soon after (not because of the food in the Opera). They headed back to the hotel straight. He caught Blood Diamond partially on the hotel’s in-house TV channel. By 10pm they both turned in, only to be awakened slightly by the countdown and fireworks two hours later. Oo, it’s Christmas.
Back to slumber.