Welcome to Penang!

The sun is hot, the sky is blue, Chinese lanterns hang in the trees, and the call to prayer fills one ear while throbbing Bollywood beats fill the other. Welcome to Malaysia!

Not everything the group does is particularly toddler friendly, so Hugo and I hopped a plane for Penang, Malaysia this morning and will be joined later by everyone else.

Attempted airplane selfie

Attempted airplane selfie

Hugo is pretty adept at taking airplanes. Mostly because he knows he can watch as many movies and play as many iPad games as he could possibly want.

Finding Nemo for the zillionth time, anyone?

Finding Nemo for the zillionth time, anyone?

I’ve been pretty excited to come here since I first saw it on our itinerary because it’s my first time to Malaysia. I’ve traveled a lot in Asia, but every new place is still surprising.

We’re staying in the city of Georgetown, a former colony full of twisting lanes and crumbling European-style architecture that’s been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’re even staying in one of these crumbling-but-redecorated buildings.

I didn't know the stairs were so steep when I booked this place

I didn’t know the stairs were so steep when I booked this place

Also of note: Hugo napping in the above photo. Napping in a new place. It used to be impossible to get him to sleep for the first few days in a new place, but here he is, snoozing away. I guess this trip really has taught him something!

After he woke up we stepped out to do some exploring and found that there is a street market on Saturday evenings.

As you can see, we're in the Chinese part of town

As you can see, we’re in the Chinese part of town

Hugo immediately found a favorite vendor selling various vehicles welded out of leftover hardware parts.

This motorcycle is serious business

This motorcycle is serious business

Our little neighborhood is famous for street art murals, which are painted on every available surface.

Many have some kind of cat and mouse theme

Many have some kind of cat and mouse theme

There were people all over making silly poses with the paintings.

Some walls are less exciting than others

Some walls are less exciting than others

We came home after dinner to discover that the WiFi wasn’t working in the house and no way to contact the owner to fix it since my phone doesn’t work here either. I’ll have to go to see her in the morning down the street at the café she runs. It’s a peculiar sensation to be so out of communication. I guess I’ll have to read a book!

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Sunday Night Market

The Sunday Night Market is one of the biggest attractions in Chiang Mai. Several streets in the Old City are closed to traffic and filled with vendors selling art, handicrafts, clothes, toys, food…really anything you can think of. There were even some stages with live music and dance performances. We got there pretty early and it was already packed with people.

We got there early and it was already crowded

Every tourist in Chiang Mai is here

Hugo loved weaving in and out of the crowd, and that all of the things were right at his level. We kept losing him in the crowd since it was so much easier for him to dart around people. I think he touched something on every table we walked past.

I swear I turned my attention away for barely a second and he had stuck his whole hand into a spice vendor’s pot of green curry powder. Luckily, the vendor didn’t seem to notice so I quickly wiped his green powder-covered hand off on his green shirt and directed him elsewhere before he caused any more damage.

This was his favorite booth:

Tiny wooden tuk tuks!

Tiny wooden tuk tuks!

So he is now the proud new owner of a tiny wooden tuk tuk and keeps saying how much he wants to go back to the market again and buy a bigger tuk tuk.