A childhood in Penang

My first overseas journey was to Penang, Malaysia, when I was only nine years old. My father got a job teaching at the RAAF school and, for the next three years, every day was an adventure.

Penang

I think this is where it all began … my lust for discovering new places and cultures. Watching baby turtles hatching and scrambling out to sea. Gliding along a river into the midst of a jungle. Bartering with the locals at a crowded market square. Encountering a Russell’s Viper on a hike up Penang Hill.

          

A visit to the temples. Colourful, ornate, fascinating. Reptiles draped around visitors’ necks at the Snake Temple. Lively markets on the steps of Kek Lok Si. A giant reclining Buddha.

Processions and festivals. Young men pierced with hooks, carrying elaborate floats. The noise, the chanting, the smell of incense. They walk on fire. Their beliefs allowing them to endure such pain, in the hope that the Gods will smile on them.

Thaipusam ThaipusamKuantan. Malacca. Pangkor Island. Exotic sounding names for a young girl from Victoria, Australia.  Continue reading