I have been bugging him about it since we got to the island. Ever since I saw that trademark wall art of 2 kids on a bicycle, I have imagined myself cycling around Penang. Exploring a quiet town seemed to be best on two wheels when I was in Siem Reap with my friends. I had a feeling Penang would feel the same.
The rain was pouring when we arrived so we had to Uber ourselves around until we found a motorbike we could rent. Armed with our cute helmets, we tried to see a damp Georgetown in the night. In the warm yellow lights, the heritage buildings looked more beautiful than I thought and the dimly lit vessels and port from the distance provided just the right kick to the calming darkness of sea and sky along Gurney drive. I chose a seat along that quiet stretch and watched as Friday turned to Saturday.
The brightest sky since the haze greeted me the next morning – the mix of white clouds against a clear blue backdrop reminded me of my science classes in elementary. Cirrus clouds seemed to be reaching out to us while stratus clouds flocked the single cotton candy cumulus cloud in the bunch further from us. It was flawless, captivating, and, kept me staring at it until I went into the town.
Georgetown looks like a watercolor painting in the day. Soft pastels, bright spaces, and, the serene ambience fills its streets. Even the walls peeled dramatically, uncovering different shades and breathing life into the alleys. Someway and somehow, we ended up seeing the town on the cheesiest two-seater bright pink bicycle. “We’ve become one of those annoying couples,” I told him. He laughed his laugh and took on the front seat.
We pedalled against its streets and under the bright, hot sun, passing through alleys with the quirkiest shop lots and houses that were old and beautiful, knowing that behind those picturesque walls contain so many stories. Ernest Zacharevic’s street paintings sprouted everywhere along these alleys, the same ones that put Penang on the hipster map. More paintings can be spotted in the strangest of places, behind a bench in an ice snack store, or almost unnoticeable peeking from an otherwise ordinary alley.
My view consisted of his back and the beautifully lit up town of Penang that was entering the frame in pale pastel swooshes. I couldn’t stop smiling and even giggling at some sharp turns we had troubles with. I guess I always pictured love to look like something like this – a sunny Saturday adventure on the goofiest bicycle anyone could have ever chosen with a boy whose jokes can save my world – I closed my eyes to feel this almost tangible bliss when… he suddenly broke into rap, “Rolling down the street in my 64…” Aiyo, life is truly full of surprises, I thank God for giving me this one.