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Tonight’s blog won’t be a long one as I’ve other things to do, such as continue to wade through editing loads more pictures to get onto my Zenfolio website. It’s a bit like painting the Forth Bridge, as soon as you’ve finished one batch it’s time to start on the new ones you’ve just taken. The latest batch of Malaysian travel pictures can be found here.

Today’s been a relatively easy one here in Georgetown, apart from the fact I’ve picked up an injury which is quite literally a pain in the arse (stop sniggering at the back!). It happened just before I left Thailand. My camera backpack isn’t exactly light, anything but, it’s in double figures when it comes to kilos and when temperatures are in the very high 30’s you don’t fancy wearing it over both shoulders and with a belly-strap. That may well have been my undoing – in more ways than one. I suspect I’ve bruised my gluteus maximus or medius (the muscles in your backside) which I did over 25 years ago with my old Billingham camera bags. It’s why I switched to backpacks. The problem is the pain makes it uncomfortable to sit or bend forwards – hardly the ideal thing when you’re travelling. Actually, the sitting isn’t a problem. It’s getting up afterwards! Typically, it would happen when I’ve left Thailand, a country chock-a-block with people offering massages!

I’m hoping a several days where I’m not carrying the camera bag – just individual bits of kit – will allow it to rest, but these things can take time and I’m not getting any younger. Still, it was always my intention to settle here for a while in one of my ‘happy places’, it just might be for a bit longer than I thought! It’s not an issue as I had no plans after here other than nipping back into Thailand for a while. My main ambition was to meet up with my niece and her husband and that’s been achieved. They’re both loving Georgetown and will be here until Sunday, so no problem.

Today I moved hotels and returned to another old haunt, the Star Lodge in Jalan Muntri. Many of the old backpacker establishments have closed as the gentrification of the area continues and travellers go more upmarket. Covid’s had a huge impact of course, but so’s the fact many younger people are more ‘flashpackers’ than backpackers. The Star’s clientele is almost exclusively older travellers like me who’ve been doing this stuff for years. Folk who don’t mind simple accommodation but quite enjoy a common area where you can sit together and talk rather than just stare at your smartphone.

In the next few days I’ll write an entire blog about the changes I’m seeing in Georgetown and the travelling scene in the 30-odd years I’ve been coming here. One of today’s projects was to look at old photos I’ve taken of buildings and street-scenes and try to capture the same shot in 2023 to show the difference.

Right now it’s time to leave you with a couple of pictures for your delectation.

Two of the older bars on Lebuh Chulia. The Hong Kong bar on the left has been going forever, but styles are changing. I remember passing it 1992 when it was rammed with American sailors as ‘the fleet was in’. Geopolitics has changed since then (as has the size of the British navy, another bar stalwart) so such visits are rare and the bar doesn’t appeal to a younger generation who’re packing the newly opened establishments in Love Lane and further down Chulia. The ‘Mona Liza’ was an old haunt of mine. Its street facing wicker chairs were ideal for sitting and sipping a beer with camera in hand whilst watching out for photographic opportunities. It was also a favourite of the local expat community, but it too seems quiet now. I wonder if they’ll both still be here in a few years time?
One of the many clever steel rod arts features that scatter the world heritage site of old Georgetown. They’re metalwork cartoons that tell the story of the area with history and humour. They’ve been commissioned by the local municipality and started appearing in 2010. There’s actually a map you can get that allows you to see where they all are. I got one for Charlotte and now she’s ticking them off with enthusiasm! There’s currently 52, all designed by some excellent Malaysian artists/cartoonists.

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