An Atrocity in Gaza

It must be said. What is happening in Gaza is an atrocity. 300 for 1 is simply not acceptable. It is reprehensible. It is barbarism. Plain and simple.

And of course, the Israel Lobby will continue to pull the wool over the eyes of the American public.

I am outraged almost beyond words. It is an unconscionable act of a people who have gone, in less than two generations, from the oppressed to the oppressors. And it must stop.

It is time for the Israelis to forgive the West and the rest of the world for the Holocaust.

Why?

In one century man has committed four major genocides: those perpetrated against the Armenians, European Jewry, Cambodians and Rwandans, not to mention those against the Kurds, Bosnian Muslims and Kosovars. One, in the Sudan, is already underway in the 21st century.

What’s the lesson here? Perhaps it is this. Nothing is unique about any of them and complacency is deadly. It can happen anywhere.

What would the world be like if all of these nations acted as Israel does?

Until Israel comes to grips with this simple reality there will be no peace in the Middle East and American will continue to be embroiled in wars that make the Middle East safe for Israel.

There Will Be No Reboot, Tom

Tom Friedman wants the US to be like the rest of the world. We won’t be. We have too many problems to address in America. From a foreign policy that’s been hijacked by two narrow minded religious minorities, to an infrastructure that is in serious disrepair our problems are far too broad and far too deep to be fixed in the near future. It will take twenty years-at least–to climb out of the hole we are in. And that’s the problem: instead of looking at facts, facing reality, the elites in America look to Obama for a return to the Clinton-era, but this time it will all be about unity porn and no blowjobs in the Oval Office and no vast right wing conspiracy.

Let’s take training teachers for example? Not going to happen. Why? Main reason: Americans do not respect teachers the way they used to. There was a time in America where the teacher was almost as godlike as doctors were in the recent past. A teacher earned a good living, was a respected member of the community and parents listened when their child’s teacher told them something. Now, well, I can’t tell you how awful American children are, especially when they are overseas. Ignorant, tied to their Nintendos, and coddled they have a disturbing lack of curiousity, preferring American Idol and iPods to the world at large, over even the sandbox–do people even have those anymore–in the backyard.

How about some of Friedman’s other pet ideas? Green cards attached to diplomas? Are you kidding? With the anti-Mulsim, anti-immigrant fever that’s only going to get worse as the economic crisis deepens do you think Congress would actually have the courage to do something that smart? It’s not that American is a really racist society. Obama would not have been elected if we were. It’s that “they aren’t like us.” In other words, little brown people, probably not Christian and if they are they are just lazy Mexicans–mind you, Mexicans are much harder workers than the average American. I defy you to find an American who would pick apples for $20 a day!

But here is the saddest part of Friedman’s column:

America still has the right stuff to thrive. We still have the most creative, diverse, innovative culture and open society — in a world where the ability to imagine and generate new ideas with speed and to implement them through global collaboration is the most important competitive advantage.

More after the jump.

We have the most open society? Answer: no we don’t. Not even close. That would be Northern Europe–and even they have issues. We have a seriously uncurious, narrow-minded and parochial society. Creative? Innovative? No, again. If we do then name me one great thing we have done since putting a man on the moon? (And the internet doesn’t count. Why? It was a fluke. Although Al Gore didn’t invent it, we wouldn’t have it had he not gotten behind it early.) We live by our national myths, myths created in the aftermath of World War II, during a freak aberration in the global economy that left only America standing as an economic giant after the war. Those days are over. But they myths die hard.

We’re open to global collaboration? If so, then why aren’t we a signatory to the Kyoto Accords or the ICC? We don’t give a shit about collaboration, global or local.

Friedman’s obsession with a digitized world is horribly skewed as well. Has he seen the slums in Medan, Indonesia, lately? Or how about the political chaos of Thailand, a country that is pretty wired. Does Friedman ever tell anyone about the Koreans, other than the fact that they have the most intense broadband penetration in the world? Does Friedman mention the massive amounts of consumer debt the 20 and 30somethings of Korea have run up in the drive to be like us? I haven’t read about it, have you?

Does Friedman tell you about the hundreds of millions of people in India that live far below the already low Indian poverty line? Nope. Does he tel you about the Naxalite rebellion in India? Does he ever mention Bangladesh or the utter dire poverty there? No, but he will tell you about microcredit movement that originated there! Does he tell you how god-awful the infrastructure is in India? Of course not. To tell the truth about India and Bangladesh would ruin his narrative about innovation on the sub-continent. Really, has he ever done business with Indians? (I have and it is far from easy.)

Does he discuss the oppression of the Uighurs or Tibetans in China? Does he tell you about the young women who work 18 hours shifts sewing our t-shirts? Or the young men and women in China who inhale harmful plastic fumes in factories that spew out the molded plastic crap they make for Wal-Mart in China? Of course he doesn’t. Does he mention the utter environmental degradation and ruin in China? Hell no. He will tell you that China censors his beloved Times. But he doesn’t tell you that Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, the paragons of American innovation are deeply complicit in this crime against the Chinese. He doesn’t tell you so because to do so would have us question our own deeply held and massively incorrect assumptions about our own ‘free’ media.

Why is Tom like this? I actually believe he doesn’t even see it, enamored with and blinded by his own ideas. And that’s why I also think he doesn’t understand America. He doesn’t see the real America. Seriously, how many Americans have ever even heard of the Acela? Or for that matter how many Americans outside of the East Coast even realize that train travel can be a superior and faster form of mass transit than the airlines?

It’s called denial, Tom. Both he and the elites in America are horribly in denial about the reality of the economic distress America is in. And they are in terrible denial about the state of mind in America–they believe the shit they spew forth. But it doesn’t make it true just because they want to believe it.

Lastly, I don’t know about Tom’s world, but in my world Americans are outnumbered by at least 25 to 1 in exploring the wider world beyond America’s borders. Maybe the ratio is higher with the Davos set, but here in the real world, the backpacker set, we’re toast. I meet so few Americans out here it is absolutely pathetic. And I usually don’t want to have anything at all to do with those I do meet. Most, but not all, that is. Why do I feel this way? Well, that’s a whole ‘nuther post.

And America is about to pay a wicked, wicked price in falling living standards for this arrogance and ignorance. It will be a fearsome price.

I know these aren’t kind words on Christmas Eve. And I know they are hard truths to accept. And I really do hate to be a pessimist. But in the real world that’s just the way it is. We have drowned ourselves in obscene amounts of consumption and debt and have now leveraged out our grandchildren’s future. Put simply: we’re fucked and it is pretty much all our fault. Ignorance and greed will exact their coin, and that cometh right soon.

The Fine Art Of Doing Nothing

What I wake up to every morningSongbirds whistle in the trees. The soft patter of children running in the street and the sleepy rustle of leaves in the breeze fill my ears.

“Horas,” they call out in greeting. A child whines and clothes dry in the cool lake air. Branches sway; the sun falls upon my face; some invisible force pulls the clouds away and over the mountains. They watch calmly. They are patient—just like the Batak.

Shouts rise from the pier below: a ferry passes, conversations drift in off the water. Carried by the wind. A boy calls to his father. A moped sputters past and ‘Uncle’ pulls in smoke from his cigarette. He taps out a rhythm on the table with his fingers, bends over, whispers something to the boy next to him who dutifully rises, returning with a full glass of palm wine.

There is a ruckus in the kitchen. Clouds pass over the sun again. An empty beer bottle rolls on the ground, shattering the silence. A hungry kitten begs for my attention. I throw him a chicken bone. It crunches in his strong, tiny jaws. I think about swimming, but the urge passes. “I’ve already showered in the lake,” I tell myself.

Momma cat stares at me with her one blue eye and one green. Keys jingle in a pocket. A door slams. She holds her stare—“what eyes these cats have here,” I think—pale blue, almost gray. Others as green as a beer bottle. She is hungry. She wants chicken too. But it’s gone—her kitten ate all of my leftovers. She paces back and forth now. Someone tunes a guitar.

“They will play soon,” I think to myself, “when the sun sets, the songs begin.”

A pomegranate falls to the ground in a muffled thud. ‘Uncle’ coughs, drinks more wine. We can’t speak to each other but our simultaneous smiles communicate all that needs to be said.

The wind shifts, now coming from the East, from Medan and the vast waters of the Straits. It stirs up the lake water—white caps appear, a cock crows in the distance like a confused muezzin. Children mumble downstairs playing a game with rocks.

‘Uncle’ climbs into the rafter on his wife’s orders, pulls out some wires. “Those are the ones,” she indicates. She tells him what to do and he does so without complaint. They share the soft ease of familiarity, children and many years of marriage in a smile.

She is strong. She is stout. Not handsome, but not ugly, either. Her children surround her. Like pilgrims come to see the Pieta in the Vatican they touch her softly, with reverence. They tug her red shirt, mewling questions.

“Her chicken curry is splendid,” I think to myself.

‘Uncle’ confirms he is doing it right. She smiles again. He smiles. She returns to the kitchen, shooing her children away like flies.

‘Grandmother’ sits in the shade. She smiles a beautiful, welcoming, red smile.

“She likes beetelnuts,” Antonio tells me, “they help with her afflictions.” She is 70 years old but smacks her grandson for some transgression with the reflexes of a professional athlete. He howls at the injustice and runs inside.

‘Mother’ brings me ‘kopi suzu.’

“Sean,” she says, “Stay away from palm wine. Or you will be like him.” She points at ‘Uncle’ her husband and laughs. He’s playing the guitar now. His task with the wires complete.

Dragonflies circle the mulch pile like silent helicopters. A bee-eater darts in like a dive-bomber, snagging one and scattering the rest.

My coffee is of heaven. I admire the copy of Herodotus on the table before me. I consider reading it.

“Why,” I ask myself, “visit Cambyses, the Persian Conquest of Egypt and the ‘Long-Lived’ Ethiopians, when what is before me, rain rolling over a tall cliff, a canoe tugging a fishnet or that whisper on the wind are so much more compelling?”

I haven’t listened to my iPod for days. Why should I? What does that world have to offer me that I don’t have right here?

“Horas,” says Efan.

“Horas,” I reply.

Two bee-eaters in a pine tree are chattering. A mother hen clucks. The wind remains steady, water beating against the shore in regular intervals now. The waves beat time for ‘Uncle’s’ songs.

“Aha!” I think to myself. “That’s why their rhythms are so unique. Sure, the music is based on the Western scale, but the rhythms are waves beating time.”

Perhaps the secret of the whisper will be so revealed. So I hope.

I think about swimming again but put it off. There is too much nothing right here before me to miss.

I can’t afford to miss any of it and so I remain, quiet, observing with a smile and ‘Horas’ ready on my tongue.

I am reminded of Yeats and his “bee loud glade.” This must be what he meant. His other poems are too mystical for me. But I know “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.” I am there.

One of the boys knocks fruit from a tree. He’s pudgy. Likes food. He smiles at me as he peels back the skin of some exotic tropical fruit. Whose life is better? Who has more imagination? This boy who has the world before him or one who plays Nintendo all day?

No, wait. The world I so want to escape intrudes. I brush the thought away.

The ferry pulls up to our pier. Perhaps we have new guests? I summon the will to rise up and see. It’s a Japanese girl.

“Traveling alone,” I think? Curious.

‘Uncle’ sings in the late afternoon breeze. I sit. Exhausted by the effort. I won’t move again for at least another hour.

It starts to trickle. Water beats down on corrugated iron roofs. The smell of fresh rain and asphalt rise in the still air. Children run inside, hurrying to take down the clothes drying in the sunshine now past.

What magnificent mélange of sounds is this? Children scurrying about, ‘Uncle’ on the guitar, the wind and the rain?

If I didn’t know any better, if I didn’t know that something else amazing would happen as I sit here over the next few hours, I might fool myself into thinking my day was complete.

Silkworms, Elephants and Snakes in Chiang Mai

I have a short piece in the San Antonio Express-News this morning about Thailand. If you didn’t read my post on the animals around Chiang Mai, Thailand in October, this is a revised version. Enjoy.

In The Land Where “All Is King”

Minnie and IThe first word you learn here in Danau Toba is “horas.” It translates literally into “All is king.” But it means so much more. The concept behind the greeting is very Christian: treat every one as king and you will in return be treated as such.

“Be good to your neighbors, help them when they need help and they will help you in return,” said Antonio, the young man who is the co-manager of the guest house where I am staying.

The key word in describing Batak culture would be, and has to be, authentic. It’s not like the faux culture shows so many tourists (and even myself from time to time) see in places. Here it is real and all to easy to slide right into. Before I knew it I found myself humming the Batak ballads I’d heard the night before as I showered in the lake. Soon I’ll be pining for the pungent Palm wine and literally doing nothing all day. Take yesterday as an example: I sat in the same chair for seven hours, just talking, looking at the lake, singing, talking, a little eating and licking the sweet taste of cloves off my lips.

Antonio tells me about Batak women, I listen to his broken English as best I can.

“They are not pretty like the Javanese or Acehnese girls. But they are the best women in the world. The best hearts,” he says, pounding on his chest.

“They take care of everything. They plant the rice, they cook the food, wash the clothes, never complain and take care of their men,” he says with a wink.

“They are all loyal,” he adds, “we men here don’t do much. We play chess all day, guitar and drink at night. Sure, we build the houses and other things like that but they love us the same.”

“Men and women here in Toba are the same,” he says. “We are not like the Javanese or Acehnese who cover their women, and make them lesser, like slaves.”

In reality, and although the culture here is patriarchal, the women do indeed appear to have the upper hand. Nothing gets done without the grandmother’s or mother’s permission. The men do sit around and play chess or smoke in the shade drinking ‘kopi suzu’ all day. They sing Batak ballads late into the night, accompanied with Palm wine and clove cigarettes. In the words of Lord Macaulay, “they have all the qualities that serve to make a man interesting as opposed to industrious.” (He was writing about the Irish in the late 19th century.)

“We’re Christian here,” says Antonio. “We Batak people. Ok,” he says with a frown, “Muslims are ok, but they can be difficult. For us, if you want to go to church you go on Sunday. But if not, no muezzin will scream in your ear early in the morning.”

“Horas,” he said loudly as he strummed the guitar. “All is king.”

As the sun set we saw a pair of White-Headed water eagles, one with a fish in his talons, circle around the point three times, geckos crawled over everything and Minnie provided us all with hours of mirthful amusement.

“Church is a very social event then here in Toba?” I asked.

“Yes, church is only one hour on Sunday, but everyone brings food, guitars, palm wine and stays all day. Women get important information from their sisters and cousins and everyone talks about what they did this week. Who saw what and what house needs to be fixed, or whose rice fields need help harvesting or planting,” he said.

“Will you go tomorrow,” I asked?

“No, I too much palm wine tonight,” he said, laughing.

He then played a song I’ve heard three times already and it gets better with every replay.

Their history, smashed as they are between the Acehnese Sultans and the Javan Muslims encroaching slowly up the island of Sumatra is curious. Both the Javans and Acehnese fear them and their former ritual cannibalism.

“Acehnese tell their children, when they see Batak women who are eating beetelnuts, that their mouths are red because they eat Acehnese children,” Antonio told me.

Of course, the Batak feared the Acehnese and Javans as well. Then Dutch missionaries arrived and they found something in Christianity that jelled with their way of life, I suppose. So they traded in war and cannibalism for guitars and Christ. And they do, at least all the people I have seen, live a very real Christian life. “All is king,” lives in their thoughts and actions. Words and deeds.

“An Acehnese would never marry a Batak girl. They look down on us. And an Acehnese family would never let their girl marry a Batak man,” said Antonio.

“But all can be Batak,” Antonio says, pointing at me. “Even you Sean, already you be make Batak. All you need now is Batak wife.”

“We are different from them. They do not like daughters,” he told me. “We love our daughters. They are our precious gift. If there be no daughters would be no Jesus,” he said. At this point his English failed him when he tried to explain how the ‘Virgin Birth’ is idealized in Batak society.

He begins singing a song and Minnie jumps on his shoulders and claps her hands trying to keep up with the rhythm.

“We could make Toba and Tuk-tuk into a tourist place like Bali,” he said, “but why? We have all we need here. No one is rich, but no one is poor. The tourist who do visit us are like you and you are like us. We are all Batak!”

At this point ‘Uncle’ yelled out in a Palm wine slur: “Everything is going to be alright!”

“Exactly,” agreed Antonio. I nodded my head in agreement. I was disappointed that Ricky, the one handed guitarist didn’t show up tonight, but he’ll be around soon.

“The lake gives us water and fish,” he said, “the hills give us rice, bananas and coffee and trees for our houses. And the tourists give us a little money for extra things we need.”

They are a very content people. All smiles. All the time. They are very welcoming to foreigners. And they don’t want anything from us. No tourist scams. No one asks if you need a taxi, or pre-planned tourist itineraries. There are no t-shirt or souveneir hawkers. No touts. Just a people going about life. And if I happen to stumble into a dinner or an impromptu jam session there is an open invitation to join them, as if I were a cousin who just strolled in from Tomok or one of the other villages on the island. “All is king” indeed.

On a scale of 1-10, 1 meaning I accomplished little but eating and breathing and 10 meaning a full productive day at the office, yesterday was no doubt a 1.5, maybe 2. I managed to snap some photos and put up a post (and I managed to add several kitties to my Kitties of The World collection). The rest of my day was wasted. It was one of the best days of my life.

Will I see the hot springs today? Or visit Tomok? Who cares. Tuesday I will go with Efan’s aunt to plant rice all day. The only other plans I have are celebrating Christmas with Efan’s family.

Why bother worrying about anything else? Especially when I have another glorious day to waste.

A Whisper On The Wind

Toba SkiesI feel good when I look out on the lake from my balcony. The morning greeted me with magnificent weather. I’m surrounded by blue skies, a few puffy white clouds and barely a ripple on the sapphire surface of the lake. Tropical fruit trees, flowers, terraced hills, villages and fishing nets.

The Batak people have an easy way about them–very hard workers, but at the same time, and very much unlike the Vietnamese, they enjoy the good life. And they know they are blessed by the lake.

Ifan asked me this morning, “what are your plans today?”

“Nothing,” I replied.

“Good plans,” he said with a smile. “We’re barbecuing a suckling pig tonight, will you join us?”

“Absolutely.”

Ifan runs the guest house I’m staying in. He’s here most of the day, although he leaves for a few hours in the afternoon to take the ferry to Parapat. He’ll wait until the buses from Medan arrive and disgorge the bewildered travelers. He approaches them, much as he did me, on the ferry to Samosir Island. He wasn’t pushy or annoying. The converse, actually, very soft spoken, with almost Caucasian features but skin as dark as any South Indian Dravidian.

He asked, “where do you come from?”

“America,” I replied, relieved for the first time in many years to be able to say it with pride.

“We don’t get many Americans here,” he said. “Why don’t more of you travel? You have so much money. It doesn’t make sense.”

“Two reasons,” I said, preparing a speech I’ve given many times over the years.

“First, American is a very big nation and there are so many beautiful places to see that many Americans spend most of their lives traveling in America. But the other reason is many Americans are simply afraid to visit a place like ‘Muslim’ Indonesia,” I said.

“Why afraid? We’re Christians here in Toba,” he said.

“Most Americans don’t know Toba exists, much less that the Batak people are Christian,” I told him.

“Unfortunate,” he said. He grew quiet, almost thoughtful for several minutes after that, as if he were pondering some deep mystery. The only sounds were the hum of the motors and the soft sounds of water as the ferry crossed the 8km channel between the mainland and Samosir Island.

“I have a small guest house on the island,” Ifan said, “it’s not much, but you can dive into the water from your balcony, if you like.”

“Do you have hot showers?” I asked, not willing to forgo this one luxury–mind you, I hadn’t showered in two days.

“Yes, we do,” he answered.

“And how much is the room?” I asked.

“50,000 rupiah–or a little less than $6,” he said.

“Sounds great.”

“Excellent,” he replied, “I think you will like it here.”

And he was right. The room is spartan, bare. But it sits over the water, has a mosquito net over a comfortable bed and a shower that does indeed spit out a decent trickle of hot water after a few minutes of waiting.

The restaurant serves a wonderfully light chicken curry–free range chickens, as well. They also serve a delicious fish from the lake; light, flaky white meat over a bed of rice and a tasty tomato, chili, garlic sauce. And the coffee? Wonderful in every way.

A Batak house juts into the water below me like the stern of a boat. Birds flitter back from the palm tree to the avocado tree. The lake is still. There is no breeze.

A lone figure across the cove walks onto a pier, sits in it and paddles off. A coconut falls from a palm tree making a terrific smack as it hits the paved walkway below. The sheer walls of Samosir Island watch over it all, deep gullies and ravines carved into their sides. Little rock is visible on the walls, most just a blinding green blur.

Another ferry knifes its ways across the the lake, leaving behind an ever widening ‘V’ in its wake. Soon the waves will meet the shore under me, adding to the melodious lapping that threatens to lull me back to sleep.

One if Ifan’s friends strums a Batak guitar meldoy on the veranda overhead. There are no cars here, only mopeds and the rare truck. Most people walk. One woman walks by with a large basin of rice balanced on her head, a bag of coffee beans in one hand and an infant in the other. Old men amble by with canes in a slow purposeful gait.

A small flock of birds chatter in the tree next to me. A dried leaf falls to the ground.

“More coffee,” asks Ifan, waking from my reverie.

“No thank you, I’m going for a walk now,” I reply.

“Where go you?,” he asks.

“I don’t know.”

“It’s a good place to go,” he smiles.

As I get up and grab my things a pair of white butterflies twist and circle around each other in a delicate aerial ballet over the surface of the lake.

All is silent–except for a whisper on the wind. I can’t make out the words, yet. I’m patient. I will soon.

More Toba Photos

Palm ViewHere are some more Lake Toba and Samosir Island shots. On of the amazing things you’ll notice in these photos is that huge wall of mountains you see in many of them is a part of the island I am on, not the mainland. Lake Toba is immense in size. One of the largest in the world.

Today was a great day. I saw rice paddies and water-buffaloes. I saw wild banana trees and coffee plants.

I saw a family working together to remove the shells of the coffee beans and I snapped shots of goats on the side of the road.

Water is everywhere, from waterfalls, and rice paddies to the lake itself.

As always, there is a kitty photo. I guess I just miss my cats.

There are also shots from the jam session last night. Batak music, which I will write about at length soon, is quite wonderful. And they all sang and most played the guitar, changing from song to song. What a wonderful place to be.

Lake Toba, Indonesia

WaterfallSuperlative.

In a word: superlative.

Lake Toba is quite possibly the most beautiful place I have ever seen in my life. And I’ve seen a lot.

The scenery is intensely dramatic. And the photos do not do it justice. If this lake was indeed once a volcano, as the history books suggest then it was a monster volcano, because this lake is huge.

It resembles a Polynesian paradise more than I imagined.

There are no tourists here. This is one of those places I had to work very, very hard to get to. First, there was a 9 hour ferry ride across the Straits of Malacca. (Start at the link and move forward from there.) Then there was a night in Medan, Indonesia. My hotel was right behind the Masjid Raya. At 400am the call to prayers sounded out. The imam then proceeded to give his sermon, over the loud speakers for the next hour. I didn’t get to sleep until 630am, only to be awakened by my alarm at 730. I then caught a bus. And this was the absolute epitome of a chicken bus. It was jam packed, standing room only, no air con (I hadn’t had a shower in two days) and everyone, men and women, chain smoked the entire time. There were no pit stops and my bladder almost exploded. Not only did our bus driver have to dodge oncoming traffic on hair pin curves–and these are always intense in Asia–but he also had to dodge monkeys, hundreds of them running across the road every fifteen minutes.

But then we arrived. And when I jumped in the waters of Lake Toba from the balcony of my hotel (which is only $5 a night) and looked out around me I knew I it was all worth it.

Superlative.

Nota bene: I learned something very interesting about Indonesia, or at least Sumatra, last night. Whilst hanging out with an Aussie I met on the ferry I found out that women, here in Indonesia, are the aggressive ones, not the men. He and I were sitting at a sidewalk coffee shop (where I snapped this kitty photo) and at least five young ladies sat down, said “hello” and tried to chat us up. I asked him if they were working girls, as I was a bit befuddled. He said, “no way. Women here are the one’s who talk to the men, not the other way around.”

“I could get used to that,” I replied.

Medan, Indonesia

The ferry ride was great. The water in the Straits, once we got out into open water, was gorgeous. I counted almsot a hundred container ships in one 30 minute stretch. No doubt it is one of the most strategic and busiest bodies of water in the world.

I’m in Medan now and headed to Lake Toba tomorrow so posting will continue to be light as I travel. I do have lots of pics and will upload them soon.

I like Indonesia already. And the coffee? I’m on the island of Sumatra right now and you can imagine how amazing it is. And strong too!

Plus, I am now at 44 countries. Woo-hoo!

Penang Photos: Malaysia Comes Alive

Vegetable Seller and His Son Goofing OffI just uploaded about fifty new Penang photos. Most are of everyday life. There are a few architecture and scenery shots too. But the majority are of markets, people and foods.

My favorites from the group?

I like the Hindhu Temple.
Especially because it’s about 200 meters from the Mosque. You wouldn’t find a mosque that close to a church in America. Not to mention there is a Buddhist Temple just down the road and a church around the corner.

Of course, Penang Kitty has his moment of glory.

The jellied fruits are pretty cool too.

And so is the movie theater showing Bollywood flicks.

Enjoy.