I have been to Penang many times in my life, my mum grew up in Penang, she met my dad in Penang and we have, over the years, both as a family and as individuals travelled back on numerous occasions, keeping a connection with our culture, the food and family.
Every time we visit we notice a different Penang, a busier Penang, more high risers, more cars, more 'stuff', more land reclaimed, it is changing, as to be expected, maybe not in quite the direction I would have hoped for, but I guess luckily, well for the moment at least, it still retains that wonderful Penang essence. The smells, the amazing food, the colours, the wonderful tropical heat. As days pass I notice what I look for or what I photograph leans heavily in the Penang of my past, my memories, images that sit well with I remember. There is little in the way of garish and bright signs, traffic jams or multiple high risers. But it is what I felt was right for me.
Our days would often begin with a delicious and impressive breakfast, then some exploring until it would get far too hot, then a swim in the pool (the sea water is far too polluted), then we would spend some quiet time reading, playing, talking about food and embracing the space that these holidays granted us. Most days we would visit my uncle, aunt and cousins and mum and dad, who were staying with them, we would touch base, talk food and catch up in a gentle, easy way. Most days we had the pleasure of having my dad with us, delighting us with his enthusiasm, ease and beautiful nature, we all felt so much closer to him after these precious two weeks. I was lucky enough to sneak some one on one time with my dad, we walked, looked about and talked, it was one of my most favourite moments of our time away.
Hey, hold on, I can hear you oohing and aahing over the monkeys, yeah, yeah, well, stop. These are very scary creatures, yes, it is true that humans have enticed them over the years with various snacks that aren't even suitable for humans let alone animals, yes these monkeys know their humans from their light posts and yes I know that they are just looking after their broods if they seem to get a little, well narky.
But there we were keeping our distance at the Botanical gardens, being respectful and just observing a beautiful little monkey family, doing their cute little monkey family thing, until one of them, yes, the leader, came running at my dad and Poe with teeth bared, I did let out quite a blood curdling scream as I had visions of Poe being mamed by a monkey and it soon backed down (yes, i can connect with my primal screams (ha, ha, get it) when necessary). Poe was in my arms quite quickly and kept repeating for quite some time 'that was so scary, that was so scary'.
Yes it has been laughed about since, I think that one will go down with other monkey tales, carried through our family, including the one about my Amini (grandma) getting a sandal stolen by a monkey (Ilo requested to wear boots because of this factor), and my sister also discovering the ability to let one loose (no not a fart just an extremely loud ear piercing scream) as a 4 year old when a monkey joined her on a waterfall walk.