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It’s been another lazy day here in Georgetown, mainly because my back is giving me gyp coupled with the fact It kept me awake last night so I ended up having a late night and slept in today as a consequence. There’s not a lot I can do about the muscle problem I have other than rest it and let time do the healing. Still, I’d always intended staying here for a while, so it’s no big deal. I’m still getting out and about to explore, it’s just my range is rather limited and I’m only carrying part of my camera kit at any one time. The main thing is that I’m fit for wherever I decide to go to next. In the meantime, I’ve plenty to keep me occupied with work, the odd bit of sightseeing and socialising with the ‘young ‘uns’ – although I haven’t seen them today as we’ve all been doing our own things. We’ll make up for that tomorrow as we’re off to the spice garden together.

Despite the inevitable changes that occur to a place when you’ve known it for so long I’m still really enjoying being in Georgetown. To me it feels like another home. When Charlotte and Adi leave on Sunday I’m going to spend more time wandering around with the camera, documenting the place. I wish I’d taken more photo’s of streetlife in the past, but when I was here in 1992 and 98 film was expensive and I was a budget backpacker being careful what I shot, so I’m going to make up for that now whilst I can as there’s still some terrific street scenes to be seen and the place will continue to change.

One of the changes I’ve noticed today is the demise of the bookshops on Lebuh Chulia. There used to be several, some combined with moneychangers. They sold a vast selection of second-hand books – especially guide books that travellers would buy/sell. I remember doing it myself. Flogging the Lonely Planet guides you no longer needed in exchange for the next country you were headed for. Technology has made them redundant. The days of a rucsac full of books (and cassette tapes, and film canisters) are long done. Digitalisation has killed it. Now smartphones, tablets and laptops are king. Nowadays my bags are full of cables and chargers and all my batteries are rechargeable. At least the bookshops lasted longer than another short-lived technological change. Internet cafes. The one thing that does survive – with reduced trade – are the money changers. Now I think of it, there’s something else that’s disappeared. Places offering international phone calls, something else killed by the internet and smartphones.

The world moves on. There used to be several bookshop/travel agents like this on Lebuh Chulia, now there are none. Who carries books anymore? Even travel tickets are bought online although some local travel agents do still survive, offering local packages or minibuses across the border to Thailand. The ‘visa run’ is still alive and well.

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