Wednesday, 22 April 2015


I've been on the small island of Penang now for nearly a week. Known as 'Little Singapore,' it's the sort of place that normally, I would loathe; a consumerist pressure cooker, with huge shopping malls, endless luxury hotels and massive, (but well designed), tower blocks everywhere, not to mention the Porsches and Ferraris. Us Europeans (and you too America), look like the poor relations which we are becoming. At bars, the one word I've overheard repeatedly is: 'percentage.'
Strange, but I really like it. In spite of all the bustle and frenzied activity, the people are remarkably laid back.

On the waterfront.

Not that there aren't any bargains. Have eaten a few times now at a great Indian restaurant, which is ludicrously cheap and looks like what you would expect to find in India. No flock wallpaper here. No wallpaper at all in fact. One of the cheery owners is a remarkable looking man; very tall and as skinny as a rake. Indians stand out here. They seem more exotic looking for some reason.

On one of the walls is a poster of a very lurid hue, which at a distance you would guess being some Hindu deity. On closer inspection, it turns out to Disney's Snow White, Grumpy and co.

The restaurant cat was a formidable looking beast. I speak reasonable cat, but this guy was scary - looked like a biter. We soon became best pals though when I gave him my fish-heads. (His portrait is on my Facebook page).

One of the people I've been hanging out with is a pretty Japanese girl called Sanae. Her English is pretty rudimentary. At the wonderfully named Mr Pot's,' she looked at the menu: 'What is Le Monty?' 'The what?' Turned out it was lemon tea.
I mentioned my Japanese sounding name: Fuké. When I lived in London, I once got a letter, entirely in Japanese, except for the telephone number. I called them and they explained that they were a new Japanese restaurant. They'd gone through the telephone book and sent invitations to the opening to everyone with Nipponesqe sounding names. I'm a sort of Smith equivalent in Japan.
Mr. Pot. A good breakfast place with an even better name.

Went to 'Chinahouse' a couple of nights ago. A gigantic bar. You walk down what must be near to 100 metres of bars, chill areas, a well stocked library, lotus pools and suchlike. Finally, got to the bar and concert area: Jazz Night, I wasn't expecting it to be my cup of tea.

It was brilliant.
The band were great musicians, particularly the bass player. A girl singer did a few numbers with them, she was pretty good, but the guy who followed was great; sort of Marvin Gay/Al Green style.
On these occasions, I've been driving, as Tapa had a stroke in August and is still walking with a stick.There are few things more pleasurable than driving through a city at night, especially this one, which as a city of light would put Paris to shame. Nîmes somehow doesn't do it for me.
The music bar, Chinahouse.
The boys in the band.
Chinahouse corridor
Drove past a sea food restaurant today. Their rather extravagant claim was that 'if it swims, we've got it.' So that's sorted. I was wondering where I could get a decent platypus sandwich.









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