Greetings from Penang!
For those of you tracking along closely with my plan (dad), you are right – Penang is not Laos. Malaysia was incident of my first missed flight of the trip. I missed it by just a few minutes, but did nonetheless. I figured they would move me to a fight later in the day and charge me a small fee to slap my hand, but the next flight wasn’t for two days and was ~$800. So, nope! New plan. I went back to KL and regrouped and resigned to the fact that I couldn’t justify the expense to make Laos work this week (nothing under $200). Luckily I was supposed to fly back through KL to get to Vietnam, so I was able to scrap it for now without untangling the rest of my itinerary. But I knew I didn’t want to stay in KL for another full week, so I hit Skyscanner (if you’re not familiar, go there now, I’ll wait).
I had heard that Penang was a cool city and was originally bummed I wasn’t going to make it there, and flights were ~$30 roundtrip, so Penang it is!
Penang/Georgetown, like Melaka, also has UNESCO World Heritage status as multi-cultural heritage towns representing long-standing Asian traditions.
I knew that the street art was going to be amazing, but I found myself just in awe of all of the textures and colors that filled the streets. Something I have been really enjoying is exploring cities at night. Like, late at night, when the noise and bustle have worn away. It gives an interesting contrast to the city when it wakes up and you get a chance to see the parts that don’t get to sleep. There is no one pushing their way around to get to work, no tourists taking selfies, no one fighting for your attention or dollars. It’s just you and the streets.
(disclaimer: as a town known for street art, and street art often being located in alleys, I did not wander down dark alleys by myself late at night, there’s a limit)
And speaking of the streets, there is a reason this city is highly rated for its food. Anyone who has ever eaten a meal with me knows that I can be…particular, so pushing myself to try new things plus a language barrier when I ask “what is it?” is really turning into a winning combination. Still can’t do seafood, so I’ll let you picture me making fish faces trying to ask if something is fish.
I returned to Kuala Lumpur, just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving by myself. I had used some old hotel points that I had racked up from my training days of travel to treat myself to a few days in an actual hotel. Almost 8 months in, it was a chance to recharge, sleep [as much as I wanted which was a lot] in a cozy bed in a room by myself, watch movies, go to the pool and have internet that just works.
It might seem weird since I’m traveling alone, but I needed some alone time.
So I celebrated Thanksgiving with pizza, binge-watching HBO movies and getting caught up on work, emails, plans and sleep. But it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without also taking the time to reflect on fills me with gratitude (which is a lot these days).