Often, while Kristin is slaving away and ticking off boxes on fancy, bureaucratic documents while we’re in port, I get into the countryside for little effortless jaunts with our carefully planned collegiate extension of U.Va and the ISE curriculum.
Semester at Sea offers field programs to students as part of their practicum in-country with over-qualified professors leading trips called FDPs. Absolutely stellar tour guides are always used as partners and a big reason these programs are so successful. Someone like me can easily join a tour and instantly gain top-notch instruction and knowledge on a place we’re visiting. This tour of old town in Penang, Malaysia is called the Georgetown Heritage Walking Tour, and consisted of a short bus ride and visits to various churches, temples and mosques across this dense city.
We happened to visit right after a big celebration that required massive amounts of incense. (Reporter failed to note which one, oops.) These sticks were as thick as an elephant’s trunk. The air was heavy, acrid and about at capacity for the oxy/nitro/smoke ratio for human lungs.
Irresistible architecture was contrasted by our FDP leader, professor Lewis Nelson, and was fascinating to compare with the extraordinary Indian monuments and subtle decorations we’d left behind on the sub-continent.
I once read that the entire amount of gold we’ve harvested from our planet could fit into a basketball court-sized cube. Someone misplaced a decimal sign in their calculations, methinks.
Prayers, wishes and general expressions of piety are sold at the entrances to some of these temples and placed—along with smoldering myrrh—in strategic locations intended to capture the attention of god, Shiva, Buddha, Lao-Tzu, Confucius etc. Whoever is available that day.
The writing on the wall often depicts family histories. You’ll need a lot of time to decipher these primitive blog entries. I didn’t see a comment section, either. Probably below the fold.
If you visit these sacred places please…be Sacred. Pictures are fine, but blend into the woodwork like these piles of ash.
And just.. be. You might learn something just watching it burn.
Traveling often includes long layovers. Next time you’re transiting through the United Kingdom, consider staying in one of these apartments in London.