Morning markets are my father's stomping grounds and I love visiting them with him when I go home. They are one of the few things in Malaysia that have remained exactly the same since I left for the US 11 years ago: the sight of colorful fresh vegetables, the feeling of the muddy ground, wet from the stall vendors' effort to wash the floors; the smell of raw fish; and the sound of the vendors trying to convince you to buy their produce, not that other vendor's produce.
This random alley in Georgetown, Penang is meaningful to us because some of our favorite wedding pictures were taken here (in 2011). Every time we visit the ever-changing Penang, we stop by to check and see if this beautiful teal window is still around.
One of my favorite places in the world is Cameron Highlands. It is one of the few places in Malaysia that has cool weather (because of its elevation), and back in the day, it was remote enough that it would never be crowded, so it was a nice retreat from where I lived. When I was 17, I spent a whole month in Camerons; that time was a defining moment in my life. I've always told Joel that if I could retire anywhere in the world, I'd like to retire here.
A Pasar Malam (Malay for "night market") is typically crowded, loud, and smells amazing, bursting with a wide array of cheap and delicious street foods.
Malaysia is made up of a fusion of cultures. One place where this is obvious is in its buildings. I can't tell you the architectural or historical influences behind this particular shophouse, but I love how the second story features columns, unique shutter windows and that beautiful mint green color. And then there's the first story of the building - full of modern ads, awnings and collected dirt. The combination of all those things depict grace and grit perfectly in one picture.