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Wait? What? It’s the end of April already – where’s the year gone whilst we’ve all been sat on our backsides at home? I thought time was meant to drag during lockdown but the opposite seems to be the case. Either that or someone’s been sneakily stealing days off my calendar whilst I’ve not been looking. As we’re now allowed out will someone please give me some of those days back so that I can savour them in the style in which they should be enjoyed? Joking apart, the year does seem to be flying by but for the life of me I can’t work out why unless it’s the ‘Groundhog Day’ effect. I wouldn’t mind but I’ve got so much that I want to do this year I really don’t want to run out of time.

Today’s been a good day – apart from the weather which has been cold with momentary flurries of rain and hail. Mind you according to Facebook’s memory prompt a few years ago we were covered in snow at this time – so I shouldn’t really complain. I certainly had a valid excuse to hole up at home ‘type-swiping’ to get an article written and a few more archive pictures added to my Zenfolio website which makes it rather a productive day.

Those old slides supply me with the picture for today. My 1991-92 solo odyssey has moved on from Thailand (yesterdays picture) to Malaysia where I discovered what – 30 years later – is still what I regards as a ‘happy place’. I’m sure many of us have them. They’re somewhere you’ve discovered where you feel perfectly at ease and at home for a whole host of reasons. Georgetown in Penang island, Malaysia is one of mine. I’ve been going back there every few years ever since. The first time I arrived I fell in love with it and that feeling remains despite the fact it’s changed a lot since those early days. What hasn’t changed is the mix of cultures (Malay, Chinese and Indian) the fantastic food, the fascinating architecture or the laid back atmosphere. Like many backpackers I ended up staying on Lebuh Chulia. In may case it was at an old Chinese hotel called the Eng Aun. It’s still there today but it’s gone much more upmarket from when I took this picture on the 1st May 1992.

Hotels like this had a central hall with reception on the ground floor behind which was a central staircase to the first floor. Each floor had rooms off to each side. The thing I remember about the Aun was the smell. It had a really weird one and I never worked out what it was. It wasn’t Durian (the stinky SE Asian fruit banned from most public transport) but it did smell like something had died beneath the floorboards! After a couple of days you got used to it, but I’ll never forget it! I passed through a couple of times on that trip and met some great people staying there. Nowadays I stay just around the corner in a place I first discovered in 1997, but I’ll never forget this place as my first introduction to Malaysia after a long trip overland from Thailand.

I’ve a favour to ask…
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