Penang Island, a true Duplicate of San Francisco (Part 3)

To see what other islands in beautiful Malaysia have to offer, I drove for 4 days through Penang Island. I am so a very lucky to travel a lot and I like to compare different cities with each other. For example; let’s review ‘my’ great city of San Francisco. Does Hong Kong or Vancouver not possess lots of similarities with San Francisco? Of course they do. But how about a small rainforest island all the way in Southeast Asia? Well, be surprised!

The Cooling Face Powder
On my 4th day of this trip, the following was an interesting experience. Since being in the cosmetic industry making natural herbal beauty products for over 40 years I was very interested in a little cottage industry that produces cooling face powder. The family has been producing this in the same way for decades and the business has grown to a traditional beauty product. It is all natural, made from milled (broken) rice and perfumed with the fragrance of certain plant leaves. To use the cooling mask add some water to a couple of rice drops, crush and apply on face and body.

It is said to reduce pimples and problems of very oily skin. Obviously this is a good remedy because often in this part of the world women complain about oily skin. I am certainly going to make an in-depth study of this interesting natural product. During my 4-day trip I also saw home-made health drinks made from palms claimed to cure diabetes.
I stopped at small eateries eating delicious ‘Hokkien Mee’ and ‘Laksa soup’ and the one Laksa Soup here that is claimed to be the best made from the ‘original-original’ family recipe. The Organic Fruit & Vegetable Farm I visited uses eco-friendly and sustainable farming methods. A sustainable goat farm produces fresh goat milk every day that claims to cure a variety of illnesses and including skin disorders.

I saw various Hindu and Buddhist temples, a beautiful catholic church as well as some impressive mosques. I saw a home stay village where local people offer their homes to guests so they can experience the true Malaysian village life.
Returning to where my trip started
From the town ‘Balik Pulau’ there are two ways to drive back to the hustle and bustle of the big city of Georgetown. Both roads take you again through the mountains with a new road, that brings you either to Penang International Airport, while the other road brings you quickly to Georgetown.
On top of the mountain on the road to Georgetown there is another truly breathtaking view of this part of the island. You can sit and enjoy a locally freshly pressed fruit juice while the sea breeze cools you down. Sitting there with sea breeze flowing around you seems nothing less than a form of meditation. Also, this is a striking comparison to San Francisco where you can drive up to the height of the Golden Gate Park and have a breathtaking view of the city.

So many comparisons to be made between Penang and San Francisco!
I could go on and on but better stop here. One thing that keeps running through my mind is the odd thing that people living on the one side of the island do not know much about the people at the other side. Many people living in Georgetown just a couple dozen miles away – and I am not kidding here! – they have never visited the “other side of the island”. Why?
I asked many people at Georgetown and they seem to have no idea why they don’t visit Balik Pulau. They also don’t seem to have the curiosity to discover a stunning natural beauty available to them on the other side of the island, with easy driving over a modern road through the mountains. Even a city bus goes there…..merely a 15 mile drive!

But this too is what I noticed in San Francisco. Many who live downtown never took the small effort to go to the Golden Gate National Park and experience the stunning beauty over there… only a few miles away…. Quite amazing isn’t?
I concluded that many seem to be perfectly happy with the hustle and bustle of a city. They don’t want to be bothered with a short the journey to see the other side of their island so very nearby but a totally different world. I say to them … Go… please go!!
I will do it again and very often. Because in Penang Island in the same mountain area near the National Park, just beside the fishing village, Teluk Bahang, we have been setting up our own new Paul Penders R&D department!
All the way from San Francisco we came… now we continuously will enjoy the unique diverseness of this amazing Penang Island that keeps reminding us of one of the greatest cities in the world… San Francisco!