Georgetown is the capital of Malaysia’s north-western state Penang and located on the island part of the state. Tobi and Caro, the couple we met in Kampot/Cambodia spent a lot of time here and recommended this place a lot. It won’t take long until I know why. But let’s start from the beginning. It’s early in the morning when we are walking the streets of Georgetown to find a room to stay. Most places are not open yet, people have not been checking out and so there are just a few places where we can have a look. In the backyard of a nice and cozy little café is a homestay and the stuff is so welcoming and friendly that we decide to give it a chance. Unfortunately rooms are smelly and dirty, no windows to get some daylight and after the biggest cockroach I have ever seen passes by I know that this is not gonna be the place I want to stay. After sleeping in very basic and dirty places a lot of times I feel somewhat exhausted about it. So we decide to spend more money this time and look for something else. At the end it’s luxury in comparison to what we are used to, after negotiating a very good deal I can enjoy the place the next day without having a bad feeling. Seven has planned to spend 3 days at the Malaysian Buddhist Meditation Centre (Link) from the next day on. Unfortunately we need to go to a hospital first. After the diving course Sevens right ear started to hurt. It didn’t get better on it’s own so we decide to see a doctor. Luckily it turns out to be just a middle ear infection, so nothing to worry much about it. Facilities in the hospital are in very good condition, but the treatment is quite expensive and doesn’t seem affordable for everybody. It’s early afternoon when Seven and I separate.
Without having any special place where I want to go I just start walking the streets of Georgetown after sitting on the stairs in front of one of the nearby supermarkets having a big cup of coffee. Georgetowns seems to have a special atmosphere. Amazing street-art is meeting with traditional Chinese and Indian shops and restaurants. In between quite modern bars and cafes suddenly and unexpected you find mosques and temples and people in traditional dresses are passing by. Everybody seems to smile and getting in contact with the locals is really not difficult. That’s how it happens that I find myself in the backyard of a local blacksmith’s shop, where anchors in different size are made, having lunch break with a Muslim, Hindu and Taoist on a parking place or spending more than 2 hours with the local firefighters. I am sure I know more about Malaysians firefighters now than about those of my home country Germany.
It’s not just the impressive street art or the galleries that makes this place special, there is so much small inspiring things to see in Georgetown. Planning to go to one special place is not working at all. On my way I get distracted again and again by interesting buildings with nice details like colored doors or windows, abandoned bicycles in backyards, wooden houses along the coastline and also the daily life of the locals with it’s routine and tasks. People are very friendly and open minded to show and explain what they are doing. The positive energy of this place is loading my batteries, which sometimes need some charging when travelling and staying away from home turns out to be exhausting from time to time.
The last evening we spend together again and there’s a Chinese celebration going on in the streets. Different food and delicious interesting sweets, we never tried before. Also music and dance performances with an impressive young girl singing traditional songs. Again smiling, welcoming people all around.
After five days it doesn’t seem surprising that I am sad about leaving again. But the next place is already waiting for us: One week volunteering at a Krishna Temple not far away on Penang’s mainland. Maybe there will be some time for a short second visit….