Travellers Don’t Know Where They’re Going

By Jane Mountain | May 22, 2014

14,311 km so far.

As you know, we don’t spend a lot of time checking things off a great Tourist To Do list.

Tourists don’t know where they’ve been. Travellers don’t know where they’re going. Paul Theroux

Just so. Still, since a city is more than its cafe and restaurant scene (according to guidebooks and TripAdvisor at least), I thought we’d better get out and see at least a few sights this morning.

Living History

The Clan Jetties are a series of six docks on the Penang waterfront.

Billed as one of the last bastions of old Chinese settlements on the island, this waterfront society is home to houses on stilts of various Chinese clans.

We have seen quite a few floating and stilt villages on our trip, including the floating villages in Ha Long Bay and the quay-based village of Mae Rut. The clan jetties are a small, extremely touristy version of these.

Stilt houses on Chew Jetty, George Town.

Stilt houses on Chew Jetty, George Town.

The one we visited, Chew Jetty, welcomed us with gift shops, durian ice cream stalls, and a huge Chinese tour group just ahead of us.

It must be odd to have your home become a tourist attraction, with busloads of people trekking in each day to walk past your front door and gawk at you.

I can see why you might hate tourists if you lived on Chew Jetty.

I can see why you might hate tourists if you lived on Chew Jetty.

Hopefully there are benefits, too, like improved infrastructure and opportunities to earn a living.

After the jetties, we sauntered around some of the fine old roads that make up George Town, poking our heads inside a few artisan shops…

A t-shirt printer in George Town. The friendly guy working invited us in to take pictures.

A t-shirt printer in George Town. The friendly guy working invited us in to take pictures.

…admiring the architecture…

aqua wooden door in georgetown malaysia

Door in George Town.

…appreciating the street art…

street art in georgetown malaysia

Gimmee some steamed buns, in George Town.

…and checking out the unusual sights.

man doing headstand on street

Remarkably lifelike headstand sculpture, George Town.

Life, Work, Yoga

On our way back to the hostel, we walked by Sunalini Yoga, which is just across the street from where we’re staying. It has been closed the past two days with a sign apologising for unforeseen circumstances.

As we passed today, a group of students were just going in, and a class was about to start. With Stephen’s re-commitment to daily yoga newly kicking in today, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

I could. I am still not feeling too great, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a nap.

As our time runs out on this trip, work is gearing up. One big task on our plates is getting Stephen’s website commerce-ready so he can sell mat space in his yoga workshops online.

I love doing this kind of thing – when I have time and space to work on it.

It’s a little harder when time is crunched into a few hours, and we have to take up space in a café somewhere. Fortunately, we stumbled upon Mugshot, which sells great coffee, delicious bagels, and creamy homemade yogurt. We spent the afternoon working on designs, integrating platforms, and trying to fix bugs.

Nothing is complete yet, but we made a good start.

At 6pm, Stephen basically shoved me out the door to go to the evening yoga class at Sunalini. He was so insistent, I started thinking he must have a date or something. I went anyway. Surprise surprise, I felt about 20 times better after class.

Stephen’s note: And that is why I shoved her out the door.  

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