Jeff Warner PHOTOGRAPHIC, Golden, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10/19/11: Georgetown, Malaysia

We awoke in some weird time warp, having gained 2.5 hours on the clock in the previous 3 days’ voyage. Normally when traveling eastbound we only gain an hour every two days at most, but Malaysia appears to have chosen to be on some odd time zone, for some reason. We thus awoke to the ship docking in Georgetown, on the island of Panang, Malaysia. We missed it; the first time this voyage the Warner Family hasn’t witnessed the land coming into view, a new country.

So here we are, in the namesake of my absolute all-time favorite Thai food, Penang Curry. Traditionally a mild curry using a coconut milk base and having a luscious orange color with dapples of red oil (are you drooling yet?), it is usually made with kaffir lime leaves. Boy, was I excited to try the real deal!

We departed and walked the downtown area, found the ATM, and continued on through the Little India section, feeling right at home after our recent 6 days in the real India, especially in regard to the heat and humidity. The architecture and the aging of the buildings in such a wet environment was visually fascinating, though decent light would be necessary to get good images (what else is new?). So many dark little alleys and bright skies; it’s very difficult to adequately capture the range of light using even today’s digital sensors. There are techniques using tripods and blending several exposures, however said techniques are not too ‘family friendly’. I spend enough time off the back, and Tate is always coming back to find me, making sure I don’t get dropped. So cute, he is.

We found some sweets, and Reade was on the hunt for some sort of Indian shirt, as was I. We found our shirts, and then continued toward the mall, in search of Starbuck’s (yay!) so that Heidi could do some Skyping, the kids could nab a vanilla frappucino, and I could buy some bean. Ninety minutes later the kids were getting feisty, and it was time to go in search of food.

We saw John (the poetry prof) and Laurie Casteen (‘The Voice’ of the ship’s announcements), their kids, and Louis (the architecture prof) apparently on a mission for food, after having scoped out the area on their trishaw city orientation. We decided to tag along, and ended up at a chinese-malay restaurant, not an unusual combination given the country’s variety of ethnic influences (many Chinese and Indian, in addition to Malay), despite it being primarily Islamic in terms of religion. Malaysia is a bit odd, geographically-speaking, the western peninsula sharing borders with Thailand and Singapore, while the other half of the country is on the northern portion of Indonesia. With 28m people, it is the 4th richest country that we’ll visit during the Fall ’11 voyage, with a mixed economy including services and manufacturing. Low to moderate inflation and low unemployment are characteristic in this country that gained its independence in 1957. One U.S. dollar nets you 3.08 Malaysian ringgits on this day.

Food is one of the things that you most often hear about when discussing Malaysia, and I’m hoping our three days here will not disappoint. Our first lunch did not, and we all left stuffed full, our wallet lightened only slightly. Despite some grumblings from the peanut gallery, we walked back to the ship, and the kids took a swim and relaxed. Heidi and I decided to ditch Reade and Tate and join Greg (management prof) and Louise Baker for dinner sans kids, our first such opportunity to do so thus far. They are from the Bay Area, so fun to hang out with, and they have kids (Scott and Lizzie) about Reade and Tate’s age. We took a taxi to a typical Malaysian sidewalk café, where you can either order off the menu, or choose (buffet-style) what you want from the counter at streetside. Various fried yummies, four vats of different curries, samosas, seafood; the food did not disappoint.

We walked our satiated selves back to the ship, for our first ‘tendering’ of the voyage. Due to the small port having three cruise ships in at the same time, we sort of play musical chairs with the dock, and thus the MV Explorer’s lifeboats are used to shuttle us ‘self-loading baggage’ back and forth between the ship and the dock. These ‘little’ lifeboats look rather small when stowed up on the 5th deck, but the four larger ones each fit 150 persons. The little 5-minute shuttle back to the ship was fun in the light rain, and I’m sure the kids will get a kick out of it tomorrow.

This guy's truck ROCKED!

This is how you receive drinks from street vendors, in baggies with a straw.


  1. Did you end up having Penang curry, and if so, how was it? The boys seem to be loving all of their meals (except for the durian(sp?) that smelled terrible.

  2. Did you try any of the yellow, urine-colored drink in the catheter-looking bag? Just curious.

  3. Nope, sure didn't drink any of that 'kidney-failure' juice... LOL

  4. Amazing art and great pictures of it! The bag-o-pee did strike me as being somewhat out of context with the other images. I have drank many of these soda filled bags from different corners of the world but I always went for the colas...for reasons mentioned. (Matt keeps asking what I'm laughing about) Sandy


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