Bukit Mertajam

Trip Start Jun 04, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Malaysia  , Pulau Pinang,
Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Weight of numbers has meant that even David has checked in at our hotel on the mainland, away from the tourists.

While wandering around in the basement shopping centre of the hotel I ran into the other Tim. Tim from Lonnie, just back from Cambodia. I knew he was coming for the wedding but it still felt pretty weird to just run into him like that.

Bit of local colour... That's their mountain in the background.  The temple's actually quite a bit more imposing than the pic shows.

This particular street had lots of jewellers' shops and they all had their individual guard outside with a weird looking gun/rifle of some sort.  I could just imagine someone trying to rob one of these places and ending up taking a round from every guard on the street... like something out of the end of Bonnie and Clyde...

Tim and I headed out to Justco, a huge shopping mall.  Inside, it could have been a mall anywhere, except perhaps for all the head-scarves. A bit boring but I was on a quest to get some Hokkien dvd's and I'd been tipped off about the video shop in the mall.

Headed back out to Autocity in the evening.

David et al kept drinking at the quite English pub while Ivy and I did our duty and went off in search of a suitable restaurant.  Back to the Golden Triangle was an option but I pointed out that the first time there we had nothing to compare it to but on a second tasting we'd be certain to be disappointed with some of the dishes in comparison with the first time.

As it turns out there was an interesting Szichuan restaurant nearby and we settled on that.

And interesting it was. They had a heap of great dishes which we'd never had before... or nearly not. One of the vegetable dishes was a strange way of serving a particular leafy green by coating it lightly in flour then steaming it which Helen had had a go of cooking at my place. Quite impressive... impressive not so much because they had it here but because Helen was familiar with and attempted this quite tricky cooking method.

We finished off at Dao, a late night spot in the same complex run by an Indian bloke. The big attraction was that they had an Indonesian bad playing. Two girls up front and three musicians backing up.  Just like Vladimir Horowitz they were playing covers - but that was a plus for me.

The Indian was driving me up the wall however as the beer was quite expensive and we were ordering jugs and he was continually filling up our glasses.  It looked more like they were pushing the drinking rather than being good waiters.

Little Jacquie did one song with them - 'I Will Survive'. Absolutely mesmerising. Her choreography was superb.  It was a much more flamboyant Jacquie than we normally get to see.

It's been a while since I've used my camera and I don't seem to be too well so this is the only photo I got of Jaquie up on stage.  I'd actually meant to hit the video record button but couldn't even remember how to do that.

Tim went for the Esperanto t-shirt a day early as it was only Wednesday.

James and Tim chatting to the muso's in the band.  At one stage the guitarist and the keyboard player swapped instruments.  Perhaps they were getting bored.

But...my voice was really going. I can see myself having to resort to sign language soon - every effort to speak is taking quite a lot out of me.

Neil and Axeman had arrived by now but they couldn't come the eight kilometres to find us as they couldn't get a taxi, but Andrew managed to come over from the island, leaving Stephanie's phone in the taxi in the process. Luckily the driver had given Andrew his card in case he needed him again so he was able to phone the driver and get him to come back.

We had to rely on our annoying Indian host to get back. While Andrew got to check out Alex's room as there was no way he was going to get back to the island so late.
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