I have been bitten by the travel bug. In the past three months I have traveled to the US to interview former president Jimmy Carter, to Europe for a Mediterranean cruise with my relatives, to Shanghai on a business trip, and to Penang to try its multicultural cuisine. Penang's multicultural cuisine is well-known. I will write about its cuisine in my next column. The word "bug" used this way is an insect. A travel bug means a strong desire to travel to different places. If you say you have been bitten by the travel bug, it means you have a sudden strong desire to travel. Although the word "bug" means insect, there is no such thing as a travel insect that can bite people. It's just an idiom.
The word "multicultural" is used to describe several different ethnic groups. The adjective "ethnic" is used to describe a group of people whose culture, language, and race is different from the general population. For example, Nepalese, Pakistanis, and Indians are ethnic groups in Hong Kong, where the majority population is Chinese. Penang is multicultural because its population includes Malays, Chinese, and Indians. Chinese people are the second largest ethnic group in Penang. Cuisine is a style of cooking of a country or region, such as Chinese cuisine. Multicultural cuisine means a mixture of different types of cuisine. Cities such as New York and London are well-known for their multicultural cuisine.
This is my fourth visit to Penang. Every time I come here, I find different things to write about. I have written about Penang's heritage buildings in my previous columns. The government has done a great job preserving old buildings that were built when Malaysia was a British territory. Parts of Penang look like what Hong Kong used to look like many years ago. The people are very laid back, which means very relaxed and easy-going. Unlike Hong Kong, nobody is in a rush. But that is slowly changing as more tourists choose Penang as a holiday destination. Many people go to Penang to eat durian. I will tell you next time why I have never eaten durian.