If you’re following me on Instagram and on Youtube (where I uploaded the video of my trip to Myanmar), you probably know that I am missing the country a lot. Being back in Paris still feels odd and unfamilar, as if I were about to leave again for somewhere far away. Well, I am going to leave in two days, but not very far away, or rather not abroad.
My mind is still lost somewhere in the air, not really in Myanmar and not yet back in France, living the life I am used to living. The fact that we’re right in summer holidays, while most of my life consists of studying doesn’t really help. From studying for two master degrees, volunteering as a french teacher, writing my literature dissertation, then walking, exploring every day with a friend, in a far away country where I was constantly in awe, surprised and moved by everything, where the heat was insanely exhausting and walking up hundreds of stairs was a daily thing, now being back in Paris with absolutely nothing to do feels surreal. It’s not to say I am not enjoying myself right now, I do like being in my flat, among my books, with good company and being able to call my family as I like. But I feel idle and confused, not really able to relax.
Therefore I keep looking through the pictures of my trip and I am dying to share more with you. However, I don’t want to rush into those blogposts, I want them to be as good as possible, and I also don’t want to bore you or spam you with posts about Myanmar, so I thought it would be a good idea to write about an other city I had the chance to see during this trip : Penang.
I actually spend a week in Malaysia, before flying to Yangon. I was there with a friend whose family is chinese from Malaysia, which made the experience just so much better. I felt incredibly welcomed by her family, her aunt, grand parents and her cousin were super kind, warm and I can say it felt like home.
Not only that but Malaysia was a lot more than I was expecting. One week was definitely not enough to appreciate its diversity and beauty. I guess I’ll have to go back. We spent most of the time in Penang, where my friend’s grandparents live, but even Penang would require more days, as it’s huge and filled with charming cafés, great street art, plenty of vegan restaurants, a variety of temples and so many exciting day trips!
As you can probably tell from those pictures, Penang is a BIG city. It’s very modern, developped and has the biggest malls I have ever seen in my whole life. You can’t walk or bike to visit the city since it’s huge, there are way more vegan options and restaurants than in Paris, wifi is available almost everywhere, shops are open until very late and life is simply put, convenient. Despite being pretty close to Myanmar, the two countries have nothing in common. How funny then, that I was somehow expecting Penang to be almost a village. For the first time, I didn’t read nor research the place I was travelling to, and my surprise was thus even greater when we drove into Penang. The city had nothing to do with what I had pictured in my mind.
Penang was a very pleasant discovery, and as I was waiting in the airport, on my way back to Paris I couldn’t help but think it was a shame we didn’t have more time and energy (the heat was killing me!) to explore the city and take advantage of all it has to offer. But leaving with a bitter taste, and a little pinch of sadness isn’t that bad. It means two things: you enjoyed yourself, and you’ll probably be back.
Have you ever been to Malaysia? or been to a place that was totally different from what you had expected it to be?