After an exhausting day yesterday with over 30.000 steps and little sleep, it was time to wake up at four in the morning to catch the 06:30 flight from Don Mueang Airport, Thailand's "domestic" airport.
Luckily the hotel was just across the highway from the airport, and a short walk across a walk bridge, I was in the terminal, where most shops were still closed.
After a quick check-in (everything is automated, including the bag drop, something western airports can learn from), and an even speedier security check, it was time to get some much-needed coffee and board the plane to the 3rd country of this trip; Malaysia.
The flight didn't take long, and after an hour-long bus ride, I was at my hotel, where I took a shower and got ready to explore George Town.
Malaysia has had a lot more Chinese immigrants than Thailand, which means delicious breakfast at this Hong Kong-style breakfast place.
George Town's architecture is an interesting mix of Chinese clan houses, mansions, skyscrapers, and colonial-style buildings.
A shopkeeper takes a nap in the heat of the blistering sun.
The city has a grungy feel to it, but is perfectly safe to wander around.
Towards the ocean, the colonial architecture starts to appear.
Char Koay Teow
Where Thailand has Pad Thai, Penang has Char Koay Teow, and this might just be my new favorite dish.
Char means stir-fried and Koay Teow refers to the flat rice noodles. It's served at a hawker centre and cooked on the spot.
The meal consists of a delicious mix of flat rice noodles, Chinese sausage, vegetables and various soy sauces. Cooked at high heat it contains juust a little charring for additional taste.
The ocean front is quite busy and I get why, it's the best place to cool off from the light ocean breeze on this sweltering evening.
When walking back from the waterfront I noticed a little food cart where people were drinking peculiar coloured drinks.
After some pointing to the drinks and to money in my hand, I was the proud owner of whatever this concoction was.
I suspect it was a variant of Cendol (which we'll come bak to later).
The city put heavy rent controls on the buildings for most of the past century, hence the dilapidated state of quite a few buildings. There was simply no money for maintenance.
Tomorrow it's time to explore the surrounding mountains (and temples, always temples) on the island.
Back to that weird drink. On the way back to the hotel I came across a café that served Cendol, a combination of ingredients that should taste awful when combined, but is in fact delicious.
Cendol is a combination of shaved ice, green rice flour jelly, coconut milk and palm sugar syrop. In this case additional toppings included corn and sweetened red azuki beans.