Best laid plans...

February 27, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Well, the plan to move on from Malaysia to Thailand today was undermined when I couldn’t get a berth on the train, which mean I’ve suffered a terrible hardship and had another day in Georgetown.

However, I did venture over to the mainland, catching the ferry across to Butterworth to check on the progress KTMB are making on building their new station. When I was here a few months ago the site of the old place was a wasteland. Now foundations have appeared for the new platforms – which start to give you an impression of its size. I hung around for a few hours getting pictures (which are now on the website) but when the latest thunderstorm rolled in, turning the sky the colour of slate and lacing it with lightning  – It was time to leave. Still it made for a dramatic ferry journey as I was caught between weather fronts. On the other side of the channel the Southern suburbs of Georgetown were getting a soaking from a mini monsoon that had boiled in over Penang hill. You can see the effect in some of the picture in the travel gallery.

I managed to walk home without getting soaked by the rain – just dripping in sweat because of the humidity and the weight of the camera bag. After a quick shower and change I headed out to eat, then shot some pictures around Lebuh Chulia. Now, this area has always been famous for the fact that it’s been a hangout for the local ‘working girls’ – although in times past, many of the girls were anything but.  Thailand is famous for its ‘Ladyboys’ – who’ve fooled many a man. In Georgetown they’ve always been more like Les Dawson in drag. But times (and maybe tastes) have changed. Now when you walk down Chulia you’re more likely to see examples of female Indian pulchritude rather than a chubby Chinese bloke who really should have shaved before he put the make-up and tights on...

What hasn’t changed is the becak (ricksahaw) drivers who hang around on the pavements outside the bigger hotels, playing draughts on makeshift boards using bottletops as pieces. Most of them are so stick thin they’d make a famine victim look overweight.

For old times sake I had a beer in a bar called the Mona Lisa. I’ve been going there for years but this was my first visit on this trip. It hasn’t changed – it’s just that everyone’s got older and the decor’s got tattier! Walking home afterwards was fun as the rain held off but the lightning was superb – masses of sheet stuff from all directions, like someone going crazy with a strobe.

So, there’s enough time for a final beer at home and typing this, then it’s off to pack. Another day, another country. I’m going to miss this place...

 

 

 


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