I met Noah, a guy from Tokyo in a Hostel in Cambodia. He listened to Yung Hurn and lived for a while in Heidelberg and we stayed in contact by email throughout the next weeks. While I travelled through Vietnam he sent me a message and told me that he is in Penang and that it is worth a visit. Actually my plan was to continue to Taiwan from Vietnam, because of the Chinese new year holidays the flights were too expensive and I couldn't fly to Taipeh. If I would continue heading north through Vietnam it would become a dead end because I didn't have a visa for China. So I booked a flight to Malaysia and stayed in Penang, just like he recommended and I was really glad he did, Penang became together with Phnom Penh my favourite places of the whole trip.
Penang was like mosques next to churches next to buddhist temples next to hindu shrines.. + a big Chinese community, all connected through colonnial architecture. Sailors brought their cultures over the last centuries to the small fishertown and created this super diversity. When I booked my hostel from Kuala Lumpur I messed up my reservation and chose the wrong dates. At arrival the hostel was booked out, so were all other budget places on the island because of the Chinese new year. The hostel owner was so generous and offered me to sleep in his living room, he invited me to eat with his family, I played with his kids at the reception and his wife washed my clothes. It felt like home after minutes. Above you can see a picture of his daughter. I forgot her first name, it consisted of three words, possibly maybe the longest given name I've ever heard.