Malaysia - Penang with amazing people, yummy food and our spiritual master
From Singapore we had a short flight with Tigerair north to Penang in Malaysia. Last time we came here was in 2012 to celebrate Chinese New Year. Being here in one of our favourite places in Malaysia felt great. We love the island not only for the famous food but also for the amazing temples, the nature and the super friendly people.
As we got the information that our spiritual master would have a flight to Penang just 1 hour later, we waited at the airport together with some devotees from Penang. It was lovely to meet our malaysian family and we immediately felt close. They were really excited as most of them met Guruji for the very first time. It was a joyful welcoming and we were so thankful we could be a part of it. Afterwards we took the local bus (in Malaysia it is "bas") to go to Tanjung Bungah. It was a 1,5 hour ride in a freezing cold bus - aaaaahhhhhh, and we remembered the cold bus rides in Malaysia. We will never understand why the malaysians use the aircon in public places to the extreme.
From the bus we could see that a lot has changed in Penang. Not so much in Georgetown itself, but on the island. There are so many new skyscrapers and so many new shopping malls - we are wondering who will live there and who will spend money in all the shopping malls. Well, a lot of arabian tourists by luxurious appartments - but also a lot of skyscrapers are left empty. Some part of the island were hit by the Tsunami years ago and they were completely rebuild with brand new expensive houses. Wow. What a change!
We were staying in Tanjung Bungah. Well, we would have never booked a room there as it is expensive for what you get. You will find much better rooms in Georgetown. But Paramahamsa Vishwananda was giving darshan in a hotel in Tanjung Bungah. So we wanted to be in walking distance as a darshan normally ends at night and there would not have been public transport for us. So we stayed in the New Hope Inn - a budget hotel best to avoid. It is not really bad - but you get not a lot for the price.
So after we settled in our room we easily could catch a bus to Georgetown. It was great to walk along the lanes after such a long time. We really enjoyed the atmosphere. Unfortunately, it was still rainy season on the west coast (the end of the rainy season), so it was a wet affair. But we still loved it - especially Little India. And when we reached the padang, a big surprise! There was an exhibition of bears. Each bear was painted according to one country in the world. The same bears and the same exhibition we had seen many, many years ago in Stuttgart/Germany, Nina's hometown. So it was funny to see what journey the bears had made! We really enjoyed our time in Georgetown and even our former favourite bar was still the same! As we stopped drinking alcohol, we did not go there for a drink - but it was a nice memory. We went shopping in Little India a bit and found a great vegetarian restaurant serving organic chinese food. It was amazing! Finally, late at night we took one of the last buses back to Tanjung Bungah.
Next morning we woke up at 5 am because of a heavy thunderstorm. Rain was pourring down from heaven - it was amazing and reminded us that we were in the middle of the tropics. So it was a long day for us. We got dressed and went to the hotel where the darshan would take place in the evening where we met the malaysian devotees. We started the preparation with an OM Chanting. This is a group healing technique where you chant the sound OM together for about 1 hour. It is very calming and puts you in a meditative state. A great way to start the preparation of the darshan. We had offered our help as it was the first time a darshan was taking place in Malaysia. We have already prepared some darshans and tried our very best to be a bit supportive for our new friends. It was good fun and great to experience how different the atmosphere is during preparation compared to our own country. Everything was really relaxed and we had a wonderful time to get to know everyone even better. We went together for breakfast and later enjoyed a great banana leaf lunch. Later the day we went back to our hotel to get ready and get dressed for darshan.
Darshan was wonderful and it was amazing that a lot of visitors came to us and asked us to share our experiences. They were mainly indian malaysians and they were so curious how 2 europeans were dressed like indians and how they knew a lot about hinduism. Well, do be honest, we have the feeling we know nearly nothing. We just tried to share the little bit we know. But that seemed to be a lot for them which made us really happy. It was amazing to see how open hearted the malaysians are and how they really "drank" all the information and the love, Paramahamsa Vishwananda was giving to everybody. It was a wonderful night and we enjoyed every single minute with our new malaysian friends - we were one big family. Thanks to our friends and to Paramahamsa Vishwananda who made this all happen.
These days were not full of sightseeing (well, this is what you expect us to do when we fly to Penang). We did not visit the Kek Lok Si Temple which is worth a visit (we have done it last time) and it was a shame we did not have the time. We did not visit the National Park which is amazing as you can hike through the jungle on your own. And we missed a lot of great restaurants offering amazing food. But we were together with so amazing people and our Guruji - and this is far more valuable for us! It is prizeless and worth everything!
The wonderful 2 days in Penang went by much too quickly. The morning after the darshan we had to hurry up to catch the local bus to Georgetown. Again it was raining, no pourring down. We were dogtired and wet when we took the ferry to Butterworth. There we took another bus. And ahead of us was another freezing bus trip to our next destination, Ipoh. What a honeymoon is this! Simply amazing!