Penang is a smallish Island that is directly off the coast of Mainland, Peninsular Malaysia. You can either take a ferry across to the mainland or drive your self across on one of the 2 bridges that connect. One of Nathan’s co-workers graciously planned a day of sight seeing for us and the other new ex-pat family (whom we have become dear friends of ours) that is here from Austin. So early one Saturday morning we set out across the bridge to see some of the sites on the Mainland.
Our fist stop was to Pulau Aman which translates into Peace Island. It is another even smaller island that you have to get to via boat from the mainland side. A couple of hundred people live there, it is mainly a fishing village. You can go there and buy seafood that was caught that morning. Also there is a restaurant there that is famous for it’s own unique prawn noodle soup. T
This was B’s first time on a small boat, he seemed to enjoy it.
Here are some shots from the Island looking back at the Mainland.
Once we got off the boat we walked through the Island to get to the restaurant.
We saw ducks.
We saw chickens.
The prawn soup that we had was delicious, it was perfectly spicy, a little sour and really really good.
While we were there we met some locals that were also eating a bite. They were so lovely and had the best time with the kids. I cannot tell you enough how fantastic the Malaysian people are with children. The love them, and were quite fascinated by the 3 blond boys that were there.
This is a picture of our good friend’s son (D) and one of the women we met at the restaurant on “Peace Island” she is trying to get D to make a peace sign for a picture she is taking for I assume a social media account. She succeeded and while I do not have a picture of the end result, some where floating around on the internet is a photo of this very lovely Malay woman and D smiling making peace signs.
Because in the end don’t we all just want peace?
This is going to be the part of the blog where I finally address what it is like to live in a predominately Muslim country, 61% of Malaysia is Muslim. I have not really felt the need to do this until now. The things that I have been seeing in the news and on social media compel me at this point to address this. I did not have much contact with Muslims when we lived in the states, that being said I have never had a problem with them as a group either. I would not have been comfortable moving to a Muslim county if that had been the case. Now if you are expecting me to tell you now that we live here, how oppressed people are, how angry they are about the world, how they are all running around yelling jihad, you can just stop reading now. That is at the complete opposite of what we have found. We have found the Malay people to be just that people. They are people with jobs, businesses and families. They go to work, they raise their kids, they go out to eat, they shop. They hold hands and laugh and joke with each other and play with their kids. They have been nothing but gracious and kind to us. They love kids, and will do anything to make my sometimes grumpy toddler smile. The women are not miserable and unhappy with their lives, it is in fact their faith too. They are proud of their homes, and want you to enjoy their food at the restaurants they run. They are not scary or trying to convert you to Islam. They do not seem to care that I am always in shorts or a tank top (because it is seriously hot here), if they do they certainly keep it to themselves. They have been nothing but gracious and welcoming to us as we are strangers in their country. I am quite disappointed in some of the rhetoric I have seen lately in which America, the home of the free, has not been so welcoming.
I will now climb down off of my soap box and continue to tell you about our day on the Mainland.
You can buy amazingly fresh seafood on this island, as it seems most of the people that live there are in the fishing industry.
We met this guy as we were leaving.
Our next stop was to a local sea food restaurant for lunch. I wish I could tell you where it was or what it was called, I have no idea though. It was right on the river and had tanks and tanks of fish. It was also delicious.
It was situated right on the river, and it really reminded me of a place we at in Gulfport, MS on our way back to TX from Florida this summer.
When you eat at a place like this, the waitress will bring you the silver wear in a bowl, with hot water so you can verify that the silver wear is clean. This is seriously strange to me, but oddly reassuring.
Meals like this are all served family style and the tables have giant lazy susans so you spin around to what ever dish you want. It was such a good meal.
After lunch our next stop was to a national park that has a mountain trail that is very popular for hiking. We did not hike, but walked around the base of it. They have natural spring wading pools carved out of the rock that people used to swim in, but they said there is a problem with the rodent urine that makes it toxic so no more swimming.
This park was very beautiful. It is a lovely spot for a hike.
For perceptive on just how big the roots of this tree are, here is the same tree with my about 6’1″ husband standing next to it.
Here a couple of pretty shots from the walking trail.
Our last and final stop was St. Anne’s Catholic Church. This church was established in 1846 by a French Priest, who named it St. Anne’s after the patron saint of France. It attracts over 100, 000 pilgrims a year from all over Southeast Asia. The original church was an alter built into the side of the hill.
There is a trail up the hill behind this alter to a shrine of St. Anne.
Along the way there are these big rocks that have carvings in them. From what I have found out they were carved in the rocks in the 5th or 6th century and are in an ancient language called Pali.
Then this building was built in 1888. The priest that built this building died on St. Anne’s feast day, so they buried him in the center aisle of the church.
It is a pretty little chapel.
There are water fonts on the property that people can come get water from. The spring water is filter trough the soil and is clearer than average tap water.
This is a large parish so they built a new modern sanctuary fairly recently. It has a life size station of the cross out in front.
All in all we had a great day! We fit a lot in to one day, and really learned a lot. We were really grateful that this was organized for us.