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Mansions, Museums, McDonald’s

by becca on January 27, 2010

In George Town, we found ourselves away from the beach for the first time in a number of weeks, and took to soaking up culture instead of sun for a few days.

To get our history fix, we spent an afternoon on a tour of the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. Cheong Fatt Tze left China in the late 1800s a 16-year-old peasant without a penny to his name. The story goes American dream style, as George Town was seen as the land of opportunity for many Asians at the time. He built an empire as a trader and banker, and with his empire came many wives, children, and homes. His favorites of all of these were in George Town, and the structure that stands today is a testament to his success and his humble beginnings, as our guide informed us that for a Chinese house it is rather gaudy and lavish.

We also visited the Penang State Museum, a unique collection of artifacts and information about Malaysian history, peoples, and culture set in a beautiful building that originally housed the Penang Free School.

We spent an evening sampling current day local culture walking around the mall that sprawls out from the 65-story KOMTAR building, but were a bit disappointed that you can no longer take an elevator to the top and admire the view. After riding up and down escalators and dodging eager sellers, we were able to sit at a bustling McDonald’s to eat a McFlurry and a sundae while admiring the advertising for the “Prosperity Burger” being promoted for just in time for Chinese New Year. Double the happiness with a double chicken or double beef burger.

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