Friday, February 3, 2017

Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

On Thursday morning we walked to the nearby Chowrasta market. Originally it was primarily Indian vendors and the name comes either from chowk (plaza or intersection) and rasta (road) or char (four) and rasta. Now it is mainly Chinese vendors. Many things are for sale and I found the following interesting.

The sidewalks here are frequently filled with scooters, spillover from restaurants, and other things. I thought this one was unusual, open for a long way, and with arches forming a covering.

This restaurant was a favorite with Chinese. There were large numbers standing around outside, waiting for a place, I presumed.

We saw several fruit vendors. I'd never seen this double-belled fruit before. Does anyone recognize it? In the rear are pomelos and papaya.

I've no idea what these supposed edibles are!

There were plenty of fish and seafood vendors. These giant prawns looked very fresh. Notice that they are sold with the heads on. They are frequently cooked that way, so you have to remove the head when you eat them. Not very appetizing-looking to us, but supposedly the flavor is better.

After we went through the market, we found the bus stop for my tour. The Hop-on Hop-off bus has two circuits, one for the city and one for the beach. Since we had just come from the beach, I wanted to do the city tour. There were a lot of people at the bus stop, but I was glad to see most of them get on a local bus. I sat down to wait and this young woman sat down beside me and asked if I was looking for the tour. We chatted quite a bit; she was very friendly. She told me this is her internship, working for the tour company. She took the voucher I had gotten at the hotel and gave me a 24-hour ticket. She said it can be used until 10:00 the next day. Soon the bus came and I boarded. It is a double-decker with the top front outside and the back part covered. I chose the covered part, as I didn't want that much tropical sun. 

There was English narration for the various sights and stops. We passed by a number of piers. Some of the sights we saw were things we had passed on our walk on Wednesday. I got a different shot of St. George's Anglican Church, which shows the gazebo in front.

Another interesting sight was the Protestant Cemetery, which I presume has many old English graves. 

A major stop was at the Botanical Gardens, where some people got off to tour them. The British set this place up and it has been well maintained. There was a rhesus monkey sitting nearby and people were oohing and ahing over it. However, I have seen more than enough of them in India!

We passed an enormous number of temples, mosques and churches. I don't think I've been anywhere that has quite so many. (Well, Chiang Mai certainly has a lot, but they are almost all Buddhist temples.) The population here is from India, China, and Malaysia. It appears to me that they have kept their communities somewhat separate. The picture below is one of the largest mosques.

At this point we reached Penang Hill, where we stopped and I got off. I'll put up another post about my visit there and the rest of the tour.

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