Third time’s a charm.
Oh my God, it was like night and day! For only 10 ringgit more (a total of 50) I upgraded from a dank, drippy old building to a bright and spotlessly clean proper hotel – with a fully air-conditioned lobby, outdoor terrace, and even free breakfast. Bathrooms had huge hot-water showers which, unlike Love Lane Inn, weren’t crammed into a tiny cubicle shared with the toilet. Yet amazingly, if I’d paid Jimmy’s “air conditioning fee,” the price actually would’ve been the same! Man am I ever glad I moved.
The one and only pitfall of Hutton was that the WiFi was quite slow – but other than that, it pretty much felt like the perfect lodging. And it came just in time, because after my first night at Banana Inn and my second at Love Lane Inn I was honestly close to calling it quits, packing up camp and moving on to KL. Suddenly my whole outlook on Penang had changed.
Yay, finally time to explore 🙂
The vast majority of my stay in Thailand was overcast – yet since arriving in Malaysia, I hadn’t seen a even a single bad-weather day. I wonder if it’s just been luck or if the climate really is different only a few hours South? Whatever the reason, I was not about to waste it.
After dropping off my bags at the hotel I popped around the corner for a new can of shaving cream, but before making it even a block I was approached by a local. He saw me leaving the newly-renovated hotel and wanted to ask my opinion – if I’d suggest it for his visiting friends. I told him “hell yes,” we got to chatting, and next thing I knew he’d invited me for a bowl of steaming hot noodles. Nice!
Then I killed an hour or so online while they finished prepping my room, unpacked, and set off on foot into the city.
Once again, before reaching my destination in Little India I was beckoned by a local. This time it was a man and his wife, as I walked past them at a small streetside restaurant. “Hi! Would you like to join for a bite?” he asked as our eyes met in passing.
“Sure!” I said.
I’d now had random unexpected Malaysian company for both my meals of the day 🙂 The food was great, and they even treated me to a cup of hot tea. When I inquired about the random invitation, he simply replied “That’s just Malaysian culture; if you meet eyes with someone while eating you should always invite them to join.”
How nice 🙂
Cultural lessons for the day:
1) Malaysians are a lot friendlier than I’d initially thought
2) Indian-Muslim food is eaten with your hands, no utensils – even drippy curry and rice. Just make sure to use your right hand…because traditionally, the left was used for something quite different.
Note: These posts are behind realtime; the above narrative took place on Sunday, January 16th.