I got to Penang–Georgetown to be exact–about 330 this afternoon. I hadn’t eaten in at least 16 hours, was not prepared for the heat and had to walk a very, very long way to find an ATM. By the time I got to the ATM machine I was in a wretched mood. (Being hungry and hot will do that to you.) Wading through massive crowds of Chinese, Malay and Indians from Tamil didn’t help my attitude, either. But then I had one of those moments! “Wait a sec,” I thought to myself. “This is awesome! Look at all this eye candy. This place is crazy, a real cosmopolitan melting pot. Get some food and settle down.” And that is exactly what I did. After eating a Hare Krishna parade came down the street and it was pretty wild in an of itself. (Start at this pic and move forward.)
It was a parade of Indians, Malays, Chinese and Westerners. One European woman tried to give me a book on how Hare Krishna is better than Christianity. Instead of pointing out that I’m Buddhist I told her I didn’t have room in my backpack–and I really don’t, the thing is really heavy and the last thing I need is another book in it. She was put off, but I tried to win her over by asking to take her picture. Believe me, seeing a very attractive European woman all decked out in the Krishna suit is odd. But she wouldn’t have it so I walked off and started snapping more photos.
Then when I returned to my room the ‘Azan’ (Muslim call to prayers) rang out. At this point I’m asking myself, “where am I again?”
Finally, just a few moments ago as I was typing up my last post three Chinese teens came into the place and started playing “Jingle Bells” on the guitar and singing. Talk about cognitive dissonance! The heat and humidty, combined with the ‘Azan’ and the Krishna parade and the duck rice I ate earlier just doesn’t quite jive with the “Christmas Spirit,” dig?