Png:Sg Trip 03: Day 1 Exploring Georgetown on my own

January 17, 2014 | 2 Comments

Day 1: Totally solo day exploring Georgetown Penang. It was a slow morning (sketching wise) but once I started… it turned out to be one of the most amazing sketching afternoons I have had.

I really hadn’t done any research about Georgetown before going so I was reliant on being given a map and shown a few highlights by the staff in the hotel (I can’t believe I was such a hopelessly ignorant tourist!)

Left my hotel and just started walking – getting a feel for the place, the heat and humidity,  the crazy streets (no footpaths, motorcycles everywhere) and checking out the main tourist attractions (temples, street art, historic buildings, markets)…
AND working out sketching options ….
AND starting to fall in love with the place!

Georgetown is full of so many wonderful buildings  in a lovely state of decay – lots of interesting streetlife, shops, people, vehicles, colour …. SO SO SO sketchable at every spot!

When I am travelling alone I need to get enough of a feel of the place and gain the confidence to sit on the streets – so for starters I opted for a safe location in a quiet grassed area outside one of the colonial buildings. Safe option… but the interaction with others started … numerous people walked up to see what I was doing (I was a few metres away from the path to the church)

Penang has a strong heritage of British colonialism and its western base is a nice foundation for Ime to connect with – so sketching a very British architectural subject was a good way to warm up (for me!) St George’s Church. As I noted at the time – it was a dull subject – no colour! After all the colours and texture I had seen during my morning walk it felt too tame.
But it is always good to get the first one under the belt! Ok –  Time to be more adventurous…but hold on, first I need food!

How perfect…. a cafe opposite some wonderful shophouses and I was given the best table with the perfect view. Ah! great! Local coffee and a beautiful cup of tea (Gryphon tea from Singapore is a VERY good brand).

It was really hot in the middle of the day so I went back to my hotel room for a rest and a little wifi usage – happened to come across this post on Parkablogs about the local art store. So…. after my rest I went to visit….

After my visit (and felt a little guilty about my purchases) I was ready to brave it and to sit on the streets on my stool alone. I found a quiet street, inactive 5-foot way that I could sit in the shade – Lebuh Acheh I think. The two storey high 5 foot way with red shutters as well as the lovely decorative upstorey of adjacent shop house caught my eye.

Many people stopped – lovely chat with some Malaysians (see photo) and a man on a motorbike rode past, stopped, got off bike and came to check out my work.

Next sketch in the next block  very quick pencil based sketch of the Cheah Kongsi clan temple. I had just started (sitting in the courtyard of the temple) when the man on the motorbike came up and said hello! He was the owner of the bike shop in Armenian Street and was meeting friends at the temple for some late afternoon sport – got talking ” Can you do a sketch of my shop – do you want a bike to use while you are here in Penang?”

Then the women from the temple as they were leaving gave me a heap of food … and then I was surrounded and photographed with another group of tourists (from China?) and many other people came up to say hi and look! Crazy! So much fun!

I finished the day with a wonderful dinner at Kafe Mews with more interactions with the waiters – I never feel alone when I am sketching! Looking at my sketch of my Nasi Loreng reminds me of how much I enjoyed it at the time – yum!
Thanks to posting a photo on  facebook I found out what  all that temple food was – sweet bread, 3 kinds of pear, a pomegranate and some desserts.
And yes….. time to confess, I did exactly what Parka said Tia did in Nanygang Books and Art Store… a HEAP of Da VInci brushes at bargain prices. Oh, and a hero pen at the nearby pen store as well. Tragic!

I ended the day (back to hotel room early) just buzzing – blown away by my first day and looking forward to Day 2… Have I omitted to stress how beautiful and sketching every part of Georgetown is?

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