First Day in George Town
Today we left Kuala Lumpur and moved on to Penang. Our original plan was to go to Borneo today, but, in the unlikely event that my luggage still turns up, it would get delivered to Kuala Lumpur, so we preferred to stay relatively close to KL for a few more days. That’s why instead of going to Borneo, we decided to go to Penang, which was recommended by a friend who has traveled in Malaysia quite a bit (hey Chris!).
Penang is a region in Malaysia about 300 km North of Kuala Lumpur, containing an island with the same name. We’re now on that island in its capital city, George Town.
The city is an amazing mixture of mainly Malay, Chinese and Indian inhabitants. Each culture puts its mark on the city and the result is vibrant, exotic, colorful and mixed in completely unexpected ways. You see a mosque a few meters away from a Hindu temple, and a Chinese monument thrown in not far away for good measure. Some houses are completely run down, while some old ones have been restored and there are also new-looking ones in perfect condition. The same wild mix is reflected in the restaurants: you find Indian, Chinese, Malayan, Western influences, Italian pasta and pizza, American burgers … and even a Swiss restaurant called Edelweiss!
Something else that surprised me about this city is the amount and quality of its street art. I don’t know yet the reasons for that or how it came to evolve this way, but you could say that the whole city center is a big open air museum of street art (with a clear inclination for cats as subjects, which I completely understand ;) ). I hope we’ll get to see some more of it tomorrow.