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Toda’s my last full day in Georgetown – at least on this trip, although I did nip over to the mainland for several hours to amass some more railway pictures. As is often the case my timing wasn’t brilliant and the fates conspired against me. I was up early but wanted to get a local breakfast so I wandered up to the Komtar bus station to buy some Nasi Lemak. I struggled to find it where I was staying in KL but then the opposite’s true here. I love Roti Canai to start the day with but the place I used to get it for breakfast here’s closed down. Funny old world…

Suitably fed and watered I scanned the skies and thought a trip over to Bukit Tengah, the first station out of Butterworth would be worth doing as I could spend a couple of hours taking pictures before coming home. As the ferries are only hourly now I even had time for a wander and buy some ‘clackers’ for a friend. Remember ‘clackers’? They were a 1970’s child’s toy phenomenon. Two plastic balls on the end of some twine that you bounced up and down until they ricocheted off each other in an endless cycle like a devilish Newton’s cradle (with half the balls). Well that was the idea, most people lost control after a minute or so and got a hefty clout on the wrist. It was a passing fad, but here in Penang they’re back.

My diversions meant the first ferry I could catch was the 11.30 which was fine, I arrived early, found a hard plastic seat next to a fan, logged on the the free wifi and waited. The seat was a bad idea, because as soon as I tried to stand up my back/bum muscle problems returned. I’d been doing so well up to that point too – bugger!

Despite the setback I continued with my trip, catching the ferry to Butterworth before walking up to the station to buy a 2 ringgit return to Bukit Tengah, the first station up the line but which is the location of the new depot which services locomotives, multiple units and wagons. Photographically, it’s far better than Butterworth, but there’s not a lot going on outside the station, so if you were tempted to visit, bring your own snacks. There’s a big petrol station outside if you’re desperate, but the choice of food’s limited, expensive and not very healthy. Anyways here’s a sample of the pictures I took.

‘Dalian’ 29106 powers around the curves at Bukit Tengah en-route to Butterworth.

Right now I’m enjoying my last night in a town I love. I’d planned to have a drink in one of the old bars I photographed in the past but found somewhere far mor interesting. After the rain had come and gone I went for a walk and passed what the Aussies would call a ‘bottle shop’. Only this bottle shop provided seating and gradually took over the road outside. A shout from a chap I’d bumped into earlier led me to sitting with a mixed group. He was from New Zealand, but the woman next to him was from South Korea. Also present was a local Indian guy as well as a bloke from Catalonia, who was keen to emphasise he wasn’t Spanish! It turned out to be a lovely group. We asked a lot of questions of each other and covered a lot of political and social ground.

The ‘secret’ International bar. It springs up some nights apparently and its clients are far more interesting and communicative than the ‘posh’ bars nearby. Here people talk, they don’t sit and stare at their smartphones

Now I’m back at home, packing and preparing to move on tomorrow. I can’t think of a better ending to my time here and I’ll certainly return, one day. Happy places are so rare…

On my way home I passed the Hong Kong bar (est 1920) on Lebuh Chulia which used to be packed. But fashions have really changed and the fleet’s no longer in. Instead there’s one lonely lady left staring at her TV, surrounded by old mementoes of better, busier times.

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