8 April 2012, Easter Sunday, Gail’s trip log

Today we were in Penang, Malaysia – our tour was of Georgetown area – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We took the 2 ½ hour tour by trishaw – a rickshaw with a bicycle in the back. It was quite a sight to see about 2 dozen of them pedaling along, many decorated with flowers and streamers and even some playing ‘oldies music’ from boomboxes. Most had couples but for us ‘larger’ tourists it was one to a trishaw. Well, starting out I think I got a real wimp. On the first leg we were about 100 yards behind everyone else. And when we got to the first stop he complained to the tour guide that I was too heavy. Well, I’ve gained some weight, but I am not as heavy as those pedaling couples in most of them, to say nothing of a number of people larger than Dan or me. I told the guide that she needed to get a stronger driver! I was pretty insulted. She got me a different driver and the rest of the tour was great. She apologized several times for his behavior and said she didn’t know what his problem was – he was acting crazy. Anyway, first stop was a very well preserved Chinese ‘Chop House’ or clan house where new arrivals could stay until they got on their feet. Incredible carving and gold leaf throughout. Then back on our trishaws and on to the second stop, a huge historic Chinese mansion of a very wealthy tin merchant. It was totally full of beautiful antiques of all kinds – mother-of-pearl inlays, gold leaf, carved furniture, and on and on. Dan took a ton of pictures. Back on the streets we saw more of Georgetown including the St. George Anglican Church – oldest in the far east. Weather was perfect – in 80s with a little breeze. Last stop was for ‘tea’ on the veranda of a very posh hotel right on the waterfront. Got back to the ship before noon – sailaway was just before 2 – so there was a bridge game. We had 4 tables – some new people. We had a few good boards – a slam no one else bid – but a few bad ones. So didn’t win. Not sure where we placed. Went down and had a snack (my last scones for a while). After the snack we went to the Easter Mass celebrated by an excellent Catholic Priest from Melbourne. There were at least a hundred people present, and he had no problem with non-Catholics receiving communion if they wished. We wished. Then we went and got in the pool for a while and the hot tub. Went to the Bistro for dinner about 630. Will go back to dining room tomorrow night for first formal night of this leg. Fun day, but will be nice to have a few sea days to catch up and rest. To bed early.

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