26 October, 2009

Penang, Malaysia

Alright, I've posted all the photos from our recent trip to Malaysia.

Why did we go to Malaysia? Thailand gives us a free 30 day visa when we enter the country, after 30 days we must exit the country and enter again for another 30 days. The Thais allow you to do this 3 times in 90 days. Our first visa run was to Laos and now we are going to Penang, Malaysia for our second visa run.

On November 20th we fly to Taiwan, where we will stay to teach.


Penang, and island off the west coast of Malaysia, has a very interesting history and cultural dynamic. The British once commanded the island, leaving their history in the remains of old buildings and Fort Cornwallis. This little island was very active in the production of many spices to trade throughout the world - back in pepper might be worth its weight in gold!

The island has thriving Chinese, Indian, Malay, and indigenous populations. Because this island is a cultural melting pot, it also has a great selection of food! We ate all kinds of great food including some really nice Indian food with piping fresh garlic naan bread.

The following pictures tell our story as we visit the old buildings of George Town, a living museum of plants known as the tropical spice garden, and a wonderfully grueling hike in a national forest.

I've also added some HDR photos that I put together.

Hope you enjoy the pictures - I would love to hear your thoughts and comments if you have a minute while browsing.

What Phil thought of Malaysia

Haha...just kidding, this is some totally random shot that I accidentally took while we were making a video - it's great though, right?

Also, make sure to check out Phil's blog, he has a lot of great photos and descriptions:
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HDR Penang

Here are some HDR photos I put together. I explained the process once before, but, basically I take three photos at different exposures and put them together, giving a High Dynamic Range of detail in the photo.

Cannon at Fort Cornwallis
National Park
National Park
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HDR George Town

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Monkeys in the garden

The end of our time in the Spice Garden led us to a little cafe overlooking the ocean. Here we got iced tea made from the spices grown here.
There were some monkeys that also enjoyed this cafe area. As we started to leave, this mean one below grabbed Phil's coffee cup and made off with it.

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Monkeys in the garden 2

This medium sized monkey was quite content and unaggressive. Maybe it's because he previously stole a massive ball of pizza dough, stuffed his belly, and felt only the need to nap.

Well, he didn't want to nap without dessert and what a fine treat sugar packets make after pizza dough. Mmmm.

"Oh, thank you Lord for your blessing, it's magical"

"Life is too short to not be thankful"
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Monkeys in the garden 3

This poor little guys was having some trouble....can you tell by his body language?

There it is, the pizza dough. He simply nibbled away slowly with much content.
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Spice Garden

The Tropical Spice Garden was really interesting to visit. Among the many spices growing from all around the world there was also countless other plants with description cards telling us about them.
Along with the fascinating history found in the spice trade, the smells encountered on this walk were full and soothing. Different areas had totally different smells, but every part of large garden was incredibly fresh and clean to take in. I personally loved coming near the ginger!

If you want to check it out online: http://www.tropicalspicegarden.com/

Another note, can you believe that the Dutch, so protective of their monopoly in the spice trade, would punish a person with death for growing spices anywhere but their designated island! It's crazy to see these principles at work today - 'If you threaten our wealth, we will take you down'.
I'm convinced economics is the true battle for freedom from oppression in our time. .....The plants told me.......shhhhh.

Spice Garden 2

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Spice Garden 3

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George Town

George Town was our base of operations. A small area of the now larger town is designated a World Heritage Site - due to the remains of the British. It was fun to walk around, seeing the British architecture and Fort Cornwallis.

"Think this could take the Federal Reserve down?" thought Nolan.
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George Town 2

History fascinates me...so naturally Cannons do as well. This Fort never actually engaged an enemy, but what would it have been like to see opposition boats in the water, trying to hit them with cannons? It's hard to imagine.

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Slivers of life.

Internet Cafe
Mustache Malaysia
Not sure why it's 'Economy Rice'.
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