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Penang Food Paradise

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Penang Food Paradise

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Penang is a state in Malaysia, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. Penang is the second smallest state in Malaysia after Perlis, and the eighth most populous. A resident of Penang is colloquially known as a Penangite.

Name

The island was referred to as pokok pinang The name “Penang” comes from the modern Malay name Pulau Pinang, which means island of the areca nut palm (Areca catechu, family Palmae). The name Penang can refer either to the island of Penang or the state of Penang.

The capital of Penang state is George Town. More specifically, George Town is also called Tanjung in Malay. Penang Island is simply Pulau Pinang and Penang state is Negeri Pulau Pinang in Malay.

Penang is severally known as “The Pearl of the Orient” and “Pulau Pinang Pulau Mutiara” (Penang Island of Pearls).

Language

The common languages of Penang, depending on social classes, social circles, and ethnic backgrounds are English, Penang Hokkien, Tamil and Malay. Mandarin, which is taught in Chinese-medium schools in the state, is also increasingly spoken.

Penang Hokkien is a variant of Minnan and is widely spoken by a substantial proportion of the Penang populace who are descendants of early Chinese settlers. It bears strong resemblance to the language spoken by Chinese living in the Indonesian city of Medan and is based on the Minnan dialect of Zhangzhou prefecture in Fujian province, China.

It incorporates a large number of loanwords from Malay and English. Many Penangites who are not ethnically Chinese are also able to speak in Hokkien. Most Penang Hokkien speakers are not literate in Hokkien but instead read and write in standard (Mandarin) Chinese, English and/or Malay.

Malay is spoken locally with north-western dialect features, such as hang for “you” and depa for “they/them”.

English is a working language widely used in business and commerce, and is also the language of instruction of Science and Mathematics in schools. English used in an official or formal context is predominantly British English with some American influences. Spoken English, as in the rest of Malaysia, is often in the form of Manglish (Malaysian colloquial English).

Other languages, including Cantonese and Tamil, are also spoken in the state. Teochew is heard more in Province Wellesley than on Penang Island.

Religion

The official religion of Malaysia is Islam and the head of Islam is the Yang Dipertuan Agong, but other religions are freely practised. These are Buddhism, in the Theravada, Mahayana and increasingly also Vajrayana traditions, Taoism, Chinese folk religion, Hinduism, Catholicism, Protestantism (the largest denominations of which are the Methodists, Seventh-day Adventists, Anglican, Presbyterian and Baptists) and Sikhism- reflecting Penang’s diverse ethnic and socio-cultural amalgamation.

There is also a small, but little-known, community of Jews in Penang, mainly along Jalan Zainal Abidin (formerly Jalan Yahudi or Jewish Street)

Agriculture

Penang agriculture is mainly made up of the major export crops of rubber and oil palm and some cocoa, the food commodities comprising paddy, fruits, coconut, vegetables, livestock (which is dominated by poultry and swine), fisheries and aquaculture, and new emerging industries such as ornamental fish and floriculture.

Owing to limited land size and the highly industrialised nature of Penang’s economy, agriculture is given little emphasis. In fact, agriculture is the only sector to record negative growth in the state, contributing only 1.3% to the state GDP in 2000. The share of Penang’s paddy area to the national paddy area accounts for only 4.9%.

Food

Penang island is a paradise for food lovers who come from all over Malaysia and even Singapore to sample the island’s unique cuisine, earning Penang the nickname of the food capital of Malaysia. Penang was recognised as having the Best Street Food in Asia by TIME magazine in 2004, citing that nowhere else can such great tasting food be so cheap.

Penang’s cuisine reflects the Chinese, Nyonya, Malay and Indian ethnic mix of Malaysia, but is also strongly influenced by the cuisine of Thailand to the north. It’s especially famous “hawker food”, sold and eaten roadside, strongly features noodles and fresh seafood. Places to savour Penang’s food are Gurney Drive, Pulau Tikus, New Lane, Swatow Lane, Penang Road and Chulia Street. Local Chinese restaurants serve excellent fare too. American fast food outlets and cafés are readily found throughout the state.

Shopping

Although Penang has lost much of its shopping paradise grandeur of its past, it still boasts several modern shopping malls catering a wide range of merchandise. Among the more popular ones on Penang Island are:

  • Queensbay Mall, Penang’s largest and longest shopping centre,
  • Gurney Plaza, touted as Penang’s first lifestyle-oriented shopping mall. Opened in 2001, it is located at the famous Gurney Drive precicnt.
  • KOMTAR is Penang’s first and oldest modern shopping mall. Plans are currently underway to revive the massive complex.

Other notable shopping malls on the mainland part of Penang:

  • Sunway Carnival Mall located at Seberang Jaya.
  • Seberang Prai City Perdana Mall located at Bandar Perda.

Concerns about Penang beaches

State Tourism Development Committee chairman Teng Chang Yeow said that there were plans to clean up and landscape the beaches in Batu Ferringhi. “The cleanliness of our beaches has been neglected for more than 10 years and this is a challenge to the tourism sector,”.

He added that the state Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) took water samples from beaches in Batu Ferringhi and determined numerous pollution sources including the sewage system, illegal restaurants and hawkers and car-washing activities.

State Tourism Development Committee chairman Teng Chang Yeow said he was informed of the matter by the management of Malaysia Airlines. “The number of tourists from these regions has been steadily declining over the past decade” and “Tourists come to the state for the surf and sand but they usually return home disappointed. We are even losing out domestically to Pangkor and Langkawi” “Rivers will be cleaned up and illegal outlets draining sewage into the sea will be connected to a treatment plant by 2009.”

Association of Tourist Attractions Penang (ATAP) chairman Eddy Low said “We strongly discourage food courts or stalls being set up or built near the sea to prevent the dumping of rubbish into the sea and around the area. ” He said there should also be a massive plan for a central sewerage system so that waste would not go to the sea. There is also a need to protect the outer islands such as Pulau Jerejak, Pulau Rimau and Pulau Aman. “It is important for us to maintain these islands which are still pristine and untouched by pollution.”


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Acapulco Loco! – Lonely Planet Travel Video

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Acapulco Loco! – Lonely Planet Travel Video

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Acapulco (Officially known as Acapulco de Juárez) is a city, and major sea port in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast of Mexico, 300 kilometres (190 mi) southwest from Mexico City.

Acapulco is located on a deep, semi-circular bay. It is a port of call for shipping and cruising lines running between Panama and San Francisco, California, United States. As of the 2005 census, the population of the urbanized area was 616,394, while that of the administrative municipality was 717,766 people.

The municipality, which has an area of 1,882.6 square kilometres (726.9 sq mi), includes numerous small localities outside of the city. The tourist resort city of Acapulco is the largest city in the state, far larger than the state capital Chilpancingo. The name “Acapulco” comes from the Nahuatl language, and means “place of big reeds”.

Transportation

From the U.S., many airlines now fly to Acapulco Airport year-round. While in the city, there are many buses and taxi services one can take to get from place to place, but most of the locals choose to walk to their destinations. However, an important mode of transportation is the government subsidized ‘Colectivo’ cab system.

These cabs cost 10 pesos per person to ride, but they are not private. The driver will pick up more passengers as long as seats are available, and will transport them to their destination based on first come first served rules. The colectivos each travel a designated area of the city, the three main ones being Costera, Colosio, Coloso, or a mixture of the three. Coloso cabs mainly travel to old Acapulco. Colosio cabs travel through most of the tourist area of Acapulco.

Costera cabs drive up and down the coast of Acapulco, which is where most of the hotels for visitors are, but also includes some of old Acapulco. Where a driver will take you is partly up to his choice. Some are willing to travel to the other designated areas, especially during slow periods of the day.

The bus system is highly complex, and can be rather confusing to an outsider. As far as transportation goes, it is the cheapest form other than walking in Acapulco. The most expensive buses have air conditioning, while the cheaper buses do not. For tourists, the Acapulco city government has established a system of yellow buses with Acapulco! painted on the side of them.

These buses are not for tourists only, but are certainly the nicest and most uniform of the bus systems. These buses travel the tourist section of Acapulco, driving up and down the coast. There are buses with specific routes and destinations, generally written on their windshields or shouted out by a barker riding in the front seat.

Perhaps the most unusual thing about the privately operated buses is the fact that they are all highly decorated and personalized, with decaling and home made interior designs that range from comic book scenes, to adult themes, and even to “Hello Kitty” themes.

Nightlife

Generally, Acapulco offers a very good nightlife. Its main clubs are considered to be the Alebrije (the largest in Latin America), Palladium, and the Baby´O which many consider as the best nightclub in Acapulco, and El Clássico – coming from the original club located in Mexico City – it is very popular among the elite youth from the capital.

During spring break, many bars and night clubs sign special contracts with U.S.-based travel companies and cater specifically to the needs of the American crowd, which pay in advance through the travel company (the venues cater to everyone, however). Due to this, there are distinct areas in which the American spring breakers are dominant, mainly around the coast where most hotels are located. Most clubs are open bar, while the smaller bar establishments are pay on tab (these also tend to have DJ or live music and dancing). Of the American favored clubs, the top three are Palladium, Mandara, and Privado, all located within a mile of each other.

Geography

The town was built on a narrow strip of low ground, scarcely half a mile (800 m) wide, between the shoreline and the lofty mountains that encircle the bay to the north and east. Access to the town from inland is through the mountains via a 2-kilometre (1.2 mi) tunnel that was constructed in the 1990s. A passage through the mountains, called Abra de San Nicolas, has been constructed, and it allows cooling sea breezes to reach the city.

The climate is tropical, with warm to hot temperatures year-round. Precipitation is heavily concentrated in summer, while winter is mostly dry and sunny.


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