Sights Seen

On Saturday 27th we marked two weeks of being here in Batu Uban. It’s gone really quickly and we may well be here another week or two, so as we’d spent the previous couple of days on the boat we decided to get out and see some more of what Penang has to offer.  It had been dull and overcast most of the day but when we set off at around 4, it was cool and a few spots of rain were falling. It’s difficult to predict the frequency and heaviness of the rain on days like that so for the first time since arriving, I got my raincoat out.

As we approached the marina entrance to wait for the taxi, we heard bird noises that were very much like the sound cuckoos make.  I spotted two beautiful yellow birds in the tree opposite the hut and we stopped to get a closer look at them.  Our friendly gate guard noticed us and smilingly informed us we’d need a licence to catch those birds.  I don’t think he was joking 🙂 We told him we just wanted to look at them and a few minutes later he came out to present us with a mango! It seems if he can’t persuade us to have a kitten or a bird he can at least make us a gift of a mango. When we told the taxi driver our destination, I had the feeling he was mildly amused.  I wondered if The Reclining Buddha at Wat Chayamangkalaram Temple is one of the places schoolchildren get taken to as a matter of course.  He said it had been many years since he’d seen it.  Without fail, the taxi drivers have been genuinely interested in us, our boat, where we come from, where we’re going etc. One of them even asked if he could have a look at it when he dropped us off. He was so thrilled to be invited on board and he asked Paul lots of questions about the boat before politely asking if he could take pictures and then got me to take one of him with Paul.  Not the usual run of the mill taxi experience – and the fares are cheap too.

The rain that had begun when we set off had stopped by the time we got there, and it was deliciously cool and bright (ideal conditions for walking around). We only had 20 minutes before the temple closed so we went straight in. I’d read that this Buddha was big but it was still an incredible sight.

The gold-plated 100ft-long reclining Buddha
The gold-plated 100ft-long reclining Buddha

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I was impressed by the walls of the building, which were lined with square compartments for the ashes of loved ones. The ashes are inside elegantly decorated vases behind perspex covers, with a picture and description of the deceased on the front.

You can just make out the compartments behind the statues and to the left of Paul.
You can just make out the compartments behind the statues and on either side of Paul.

We spent an hour or so looking at a plethora of shrines, statues, and carvings before moving on to the Burmese temple across the road.  This one had ornate gardens, and a corridor with paintings portraying events in the life of the Buddha.

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Statues in the garden
Statues in the garden
The 'drunkened' elephant
The ‘drunkened’ elephant

In stark contrast to the historical and reverent atmosphere of Buddhist temples, the plush and upscale Gurney Plaza was our next destination. It’s been put together very well and seems to be popular with visitors – although some of the designer shops were noticeably empty – but like most malls it could be anywhere in the world.  We visited all of its 9 (!!) floors, mainly to get to the top and check out the view. It took quite a while to get up there but the view was worth it.

View from the top of Gurney Plaza
View from the top of Gurney Plaza

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In my quest to become proficient in Asian cooking I’ve been gathering recommended ‘staple’ ingredients, as listed in a book on the subject.  One product, however, is proving so difficult to get hold of, it’s become something of a mission to find it and has led to puzzled or bemused looks when we’ve asked for it.  It’s ‘black bean paste’ (not to be confused with sauce). It exists, but so far no shop or supermarket has had it in stock, and the likely-looking Waitrose style shop in the mall was no exception. It was nice to browse in it though.  It was also nice to sit in the bar on the ground floor and have a drink listening to live music being played in the square. The seafront promenade is adjacent, giving the place a festive, ‘seaside’ atmosphere.

 

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Gurney drive is also well-known for its open air hawker food court and this is where we ended the evening.  It’s a huge area consisting of mostly Chinese street food vendors. The smells emanating from them were mouthwatering and we were both hungry by then so we decided to seek out some veggie options from the wide variety of dishes on offer.  This was easy – lots of the stalls turned out to be vegetarian and it was a great eating out experience.  After double-checking with a stern-faced but very efficient lady about the ingredients (mainly that there was no fish because some places have deemed fish to be vegetarian) we settled on Tom Yam and then had to choose our noodle sizes. If she could have said ‘hurry up’ she would have, but her manner wasn’t rude, she was just ‘busy’. We sat at a table in the middle of a very lively and crowded street and Paul got us drinks from a separate stall. The man cooking the food had such a tiny area to work in, and considering how busy it was we didn’t have too long to wait before our absolutely gorgeous meals were brought to us.

The delightful hawker food court
The delightful hawker food court
Paul enjoying Tom Yam
Paul enjoying Tom Yam

The search for black bean paste continues.

Kathy

 

 

 

 

 

Buddhas And Bowsprits

Saturday lunchtime we jumped into an uber cab and headed off to see the reclining Buddha at the Wat Chayamangkalaram temple in George Town. This 33m long Buddha is known locally as the sleeping buddha and the temple is built over 5 acres of land which our good old Queen Victoria gave to the Thai people. Nice of her to give someone else’s land away so easily.

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Sleepy Sleepy buddha
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Wat Chayamangkalaram temple
another shrine in the temple
another shrine in the temple

After a bit of Thai temple visiting we popped over the road to see what the Burmese had to offer, and we weren’t disappointed. A vast array of buddhas are housed within several temples and shrines in the Dhammikarama Burmese Temple. I saw buddhist monks throwing water over people and chanting, not sure what it will achieve, but it seemed to be quite a serious affair.

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Kathy on the roof of the burmese temple
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Very impressive

So we then headed around the corner to the Gurney Drive Plaza, This is just a big upmarket mall, where you can buy western goods at ridiculous prices. I noticed most of the clientele were not Malay but Chinese ethnicity, I suspect this reflects the distribution of wealth here. It’s a great place if you’re a westerner looking for weetabix or Campbell’s soup, or an aspirational local, who thinks it’s cool to buy Leffe lager for £6 a bottle (I actually paid £4 for a bottle of german alcohol free beer, the first I had seen in Malaysia, so I shouldn’t criticise really). Personally I hate this sort of place, it was such a contrast with the basic lifestyle I associate with Buddhism we had just been experiencing.

From  the Mall we headed up the road to a famous hawker food market on Gurney drive. we sat down at a table next to a vegetarian Chinese food stall and had two fine noodle meals, don’t know any more details as my Chinese is rubbish. I do know that as I placed the bag with my zero alcohol beer on the floor, it exploded and sprayed fizzy beer all around the table, rather embarrassing, but I can’t help thinking Karma played a part in this.

So back to my beloved bowsprit, I bolted the platform frame onto the sprit after giving  it a good cleaning, I had noticed a crack in the frame, it’s on the bottom right, and really needed welding. I decided it can wait, and proceeded to fix the 13 bolts that hold it on to the sprit, not so easy when balancing from above. Of course once I had completed I started to consider when I would need to do the welding and where would I be? (probably hundreds of miles from a welder). On consideration, I realised I would never be in a better place or at a better time to get the welding done, so off with the 13 bolts and today I took a taxi ride to the local steel fabricators for them to weld and reinforce the frame.

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bowsprit frame

The actual platform is fabricated from teak and had a lot of splits in it, it also is getting very thin and very grey. I glued it back together over several nights and today I gave the teak a rub down and a deep clean, it looks a bit ap2better now. I will be getting a new one made, might do it myself if I can source some local hardwood, or teak.

I’m hoping to put the boat back together by the end of the week and then head off north again. However it might take another week depending on how much sightseeing we do.

I also got the internal air-con running tonight and the boat is now quite cool, but it’s way too noisy for me, so I think I would like to relocate the air-con to the lazarette or somewhere out of the way before I lose the window unit.

Paul C.

 

 

 

How to get the blues

A short post about Friday and a recipe for the blues.

  1. First spend days, no weeks, nay, nearly months, cleaning, sanding and polishing your new boat.
  2. Stand back and admire.
  3. Decide to paint the blue strip on the side now the varnish is looking good.
  4. Fill a jug (1/2 pint) with blue gloss paint (Marine and expensive).
  5. Stand on the pontoon, brush in one hand, paint in the other.
  6. Jump onto the boat holding both items carefully, wouldn’t want an accident 😉
  7. Don’t forget before item 6, to make sure you tie a strong piece of rope about 6 inches above the side deck, in the area you are going to jump onto.
  8. Jump, trip over said rope, throw, not pour, but throw all of the paint (did I mention it’s gloss) over the boat.
  9. Make sure to cover awning, coach roof, power cables, oars, air-con, coachroof side, portlights, deck, grab-rails, cap-rail and yourself in blue paint.
  10. Stand back and admire / cry
  11. Make matters worse by rubbing paint with cloth and spreading everywhere.

Not my finest moment I have to admit. I would love to have a picture to show the mess, but Kathy rushed to the scene on hearing my screams and we both proceeded to get into the cleaning up task. I’m happy to say, that with the help of a big jug of turpentine, you wouldn’t be able to tell there had been an accident, other than for the canopy, which has a limited life anyway.
Yesterday, I varnished over a spot of blue paint I had missed on the rub rail, I decided to leave that as a permanent reminder to myself to be more careful in future.

A less traumatic post follows of our Saturday excursions to two extremes adjacent to each other, The Buddhist shrines, and the Western modern day equivalent, the Mall

And just so there’s a pic with this post, how about another bowsprit update 😉

Ready to be put back together now
Ready to be put back together now

Paul C.

 

Life as a Liveaboard

The past week has been all about tasks and chores relating to ongoing maintenance, and cosmetic jobs which have been neglected due to time and situation constraints.  Paul has been up early most mornings when it’s cooler working on the bowsprit, as well as doing more sanding and varnishing, while I’ve worked on the interior of the cabin and polishing the steel from the cap rails with Brasso.  It’s got a lot cooler during the course of the week and there has been a lot of rain. The preceding nightly storms consisted of distant rumbles of thunder and hours of flickering lightning.  For the first time, last Saturday afternoon, it was possible to sit in the cockpit and enjoy the fresh breeze while watching the raindrops bounce off the water before it got heavier and forced us inside.  The slight drop in temperature made it a lot more comfortable to work in, both above and below deck.  Here are some shots of the interior (still a work in progress).

With net curtains
With net curtains
The Galley
The Galley
Without net curtains
Without net curtains

There is quite a community spirit in this marina. Paul got to know a few of the permanent residents when he was here earlier in the year. They have been very helpful, providing Paul with useful local information and driving him to places, while he’s been able to help them with some technical and boat-related issues.  The marina entrance has a little hut for the guard on duty (it’s manned 24 hours a day) and all of them get to know the boat owners because we’re passing in and out daily. There is a family of cats in residence by the hut (a mum and her kittens) but I’m not sure if they belong anyone in particular or anyone at all. I look for them each time we pass and one guard has got to know this – he always laughs and says ‘you want one, you take’.  Paul always answers for me and declines the offer, but they are so gorgeous, it’s hard to resist.

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Most evenings we walk to one of the nearby supermarkets so that we’re not on the boat all day and as they are both a mile or two away it’s a chance to get some exercise.  The only difficult part on these walks is crossing the roads. The main roads are very busy with no facilities for pedestrians apart from a few faded zebras which are largely ignored unless you happen to catch an approaching driver’s eye and look appealingly at them to slow down.  Otherwise you take your chance with the rare gaps and run for it – like a game of ‘chicken’! Before we get to that part, though, the walks are scenic and pleasant. We hear cicadas in the undergrowth, frogs on the water and pass beaches and leafy lanes.

 

The walk to Tesco
The walk to Tesco
The walk to Eon Supermarket
The walk to Eon Supermarket

I’m going to be learning a lot about the food on offer in the supermarkets. So far, I’ve managed to keep to my mainly vegan diet and I’m keen to try some of the exotic-looking fruit and veg on display.  I also need to get to grips with cooking tofu. We’ve had some nice dishes in restaurants where it is one of the main ingredients but whenever I’ve tried to cook it, it’s been bland and the texture hasn’t been right. I thought there was  a lot of different types in the UK (silken, firm, soft etc) but here there are lots more variations!  I made a stir fry dish with it the other night using mirin, ginger and soy sauce as a marinade and that was ok but I’ve got a lot to learn.  I’ll need to start by identifying the veg, herbs and other unheard of ingredients that are listed in recipes in the book of Vegetarian Chinese Cooking I’ve bought (‘wood ear fungus’, ‘dried lily buds’, and ‘wolfberries’ make it sound more like a spell from Harry Potter than a meal). It’s already been a fun ‘treasure hunt’ tracking down the list of suggested basics on the shelves.

Black seaweed
Black seaweed
Mangoes and more
Mangoes and more
White seaweed
White seaweed

I haven’t missed television at all. I would probably have watched the Bake Off and some of the crime dramas, but at home I mainly watch Netflix or Amazon Prime programmes anyway.  We’ve discovered that we can access Netflix here but it uses a lot of bandwidth – it was like having to ‘put a shilling in the meter’ every half an hour to continue watching :). The radio is good entertainment and I can listen to the book and film programmes I enjoy and ‘Johnnie Walker’s Sounds of the Seventies’ to my heart’s content (usually while Paul’s busy on deck).  Reading remains my favourite leisure activity and I’m adding to the small library of books onboard each time we go out and I spot a second hand book shop. This marina doesn’t have a laundry service like the one in Langkawi so I washed a few things by hand the other day, rinsing them with the hose on the pontoon. Needless to say they didn’t take long to dry, and nothing needs ironing, which is nice ;).

On Wednesday we went back into George Town, making the most of a break from the rain and to have a change of scene.  We didn’t have a strict itinerary apart from my desire to see the Beach Street area where the focus is on animal welfare.  It was nice to just slowly walk the streets, going wherever looked interesting to check out the architecture, the shops and exhibitions. It was a very humid day and after a couple of hours of this I began to feel weak and dizzy. I didn’t know if I was hungry, thirsty or overcome with heat but I had to sit down and wait for Paul who was further down the street buying a pump for the air conditioner.  He suggested we head to the Black Kettle for a rest and refreshment. One glass of wine, a sit down and some pricey bread later, I felt fine again. Later, we came to the area near Beach Street purely by accident.  Too tired to visit the actual cat sanctuary which was further on (I’ll save that for another day), we spent some time looking at the street art and browsing in the ‘hippy-themed’ shops.  It’s a picturesque and fascinating hotchpotch of streets and alleys that reminded me a little of Brighton’s Lanes.

Paul with the roots of a tree behind him
Paul with the roots of a tree behind him

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Street art
Street art

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'Animal welfare street'
‘Animal welfare street’

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That evening we had the heaviest downpour of rain yet, but the day in George Town had so exhausted me I was asleep on the bunk while Paul went up above to watch it.  He said it was so heavy, the paths and boat decks looked white and shimmering like they were covered in snow.  I’m sure there will be more opportunities to see that while we’re here.

Kathy

 

 

 

 

Kathy’s test of the marina electricity worked

Yesterday morning started well, a power cut, which caused one of our neighbours to get cross with another boat owner over tripping the power. When there is an electrical fault a circuit breaker kills all the power to all the boats.
Well 30 minutes later Kathy made some toast and as she pushed the toast into the machine the power went off and Kathy screeched a bit saying that there where sparks inside the toaster. I presumed it was probably not a big deal and that the power problem was related to the other boat. however after I had a look at the toaster I found she had been trying to toast a bulldog clip

clip

I popped outside to check, and we had indeed tripped the whole marina, but worse our neighbour was now storming over to the other boat to give them hell for tripping again, I tired to stop him, but he was convinced it was their fault, so off he went.
Kathy doesn’t keep the clips on a hook just above the toaster anymore 🙂

The rest of the day was spent sanding and filling holes, I scraped out all of the dead black wood in the cap rail, and made up some teak coloured epoxy filler, however, the colour went black at the last minute, I don’t know why, but I had had enough so I filled the holes with the black filler, It doesn’t look as bad as it was, but I’m going to cut it all out at a later date and put teak in, probably when I get to Thailand and can get some good quality teak for a decent price. I might replace the whole rail then. For now I wanted to get on with the varnishing and get the rail watertight. After I had got a ‘primer’ coat of varnish on, I put my brush in a jar of turps in the cockpit and jumped ashore to get a shower with the pontoon hose, after the shower I threw my shoes back onto the boat and was very pleased that I was able to get them into the cockpit from about 5 metres, I expect you have guessed the rest, a perfect hit, turps everywhere!

Today I was up early, we had a massive squall in the night and a huge amount of rain. I dried the woodwork with a towel, had a coffee, then got the second coat of varnish down. It’s looking good now, I had hoped to get 4 coats of varnish on the cap rail and bow sprit by Saturday, and I’m on target for that.
Kathy and I got off into town at lunch time, we have found out that we can summon an Uber taxi that takes us from the marina into Georgetown for about 9MYR, which is under £2, it costs four times as much for a regular taxi, and they cant find us.

I found a source for a water pump for the air-con, so I’m hoping to fit that in the next few days and if it works, I can lose the window mounted unit and get the deck clear. I also found some very long 5mm wood drills for a £1 each which I’m going to use to drill a few inspection holes in the bowsprit, I need to know how bad the rot is there.

After the hardware shopping we joined the backpackers and walked the streets looking at the street art and took in an exhibition of art/photography where the artist had chopped the pictures up a reassembled them in an interesting way.Panicrama

We ended the day with a meal in our favourite Indian restaurant, I made a classic mistake of ordering a tandoori chicken and saying I didn’t want it too hot, so he went off with order, “Tandoori chicken, no hot”, It took a while, I presumed because they were cooking it without the spices just for me, but instead I realised when I bit into a cold lump of chicken, that blew my head off with spices, that the delay must have been while they shoved my chicken in the freezer. Note to self, use the word spicy, not hot. A bas ride home was quick, and an early night, hoping to get coat 3 of the varnish on tomorrow early and then more boat jobs.

Some pics from the day:

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Compulsory when visiting Georgetown

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Paul C

More Bowsprit

I started on the bowsprit early because the epoxy was taking to long to get hard and sandable on the cap rail repairs, so rather than finish that I jumped into the stripping the bowsprit. This required removing the anchor, then it’s chain, as I thought this would be a good time to inspect it all and check out what the little cable ties signified. The PO used an interesting system. After the first ten metres of chain goes out there are 5 cable ties over a few chain links, or at least there would be if one hadn’t broken off at some point. These 5 mean that there are another 50 metres of chain available. Then after another 10 metres has gone out there are 4 cable ties, indicating that there are 40 metres of chain left. This continues to near the end of the chain, where there is one cable tie on the chain, indicating 10 metres left, which in fact is more like 5. I like to work out how much chain I need to put out, so say I’m anchoring in 4 metres of water, I want 5 times as much chain, that’s called a scope of 5:1, so I put 20 metres out, I think that is the same as saying I have 40 metres left, not the most intuitive system.   I have some lovely bright Day-Glo fluorescent cable ties I will add to the chain, 1 for 10 metres out, 2, for 20 etc etc.

So today and yesterday was all about preparing the bowsprit for varnish, Kathy stayed indoors mostly enjoying the cooler climate, and helping with jobs below. There was fun last night when the power went to the pontoons, and when we yachties tried to reset it the master trip kept blowing, so we ended up disconnecting boats to find the offender, which we did in the end, but not before we had upset one of the residents here, but that’s another story.

Tomorrow I hope to get the first coat of varnish on the rail and bowsprit, but first we have to clean out the chain locker while the chain and rope are out. That should be fun, I believe it contains several inches of sea bed samples (mud) from everywhere between Hawaii and Penang, and who knows what might be in that mud. You can take it as read that Kathy wont be digging through the mud 😉

Hoping to do some more sightseeing on Tuesday, perhaps a trip to the big park / funicular railway up the hill.

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Todays Bowsprit picture

Paul C.

 

A Grave Situation

Kathy wanted me to blog these pictures from Thursday

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High & mighty protestant colonisers, brought to their knees by mosquitos and other tiny things
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To make it into your 50’s was a rare thing back in the 19th century here

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And just one of the bowsprit for good measure

 

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Bare and ready for sanding

Paul C.

Bowsprit Business

I finished sanding down the starboard side today, there’s a lot of rot around some of the bolts holding the rail down. However it doesn’t extend very far and doesn’t affect the strength of the fastenings, so I’m cutting / scraping out the rot and either filling with thickened epoxy or adding wooden insets.
I think I went a bit far on reducing the amount of hardener in the epoxy today as it’s taking a long time to go off, and consequently I can’t move onto the next stage. This forced me to start on the bowsprit.bow

I removed the pulpit, and tomorrow I will remove the platform to get full access to the sprit, I don’t think it’s been properly varnished since new. I’m also going to go in search of a carpenter to make me a new platform, this one is now quite thin and split in places.
In order to get the platform off, I had to get the anchor off, so thought this would be an ideal time to get all the chain out, check it, and push Kathy into the chain locker to give it a good scrubbing up, I would do it myself, except I’m too big, and we don’t have any victorian chimney sweep boys available.

chains

I took the picture above, the guy on the left is Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and that’s me on the right. I think you have to agree the likeness is uncanny!  And we are both working on great engineering projects, him on the launch of the SS Great Britain, and me doing the same for the SV Sister Midnight. If you don’t know who ISB is, then don’t worry, but you should probably read more about engineering (Thanks to Tony Wilson for that line).

As you might have seen from Kathy’s post, Bandanas are all the rage on Sister Midnight today. I need one to stop the sweat dripping down onto my varnishing as I work, Kathy has one just to look cool.

kathy

Paul C.

Out In The Midday Sun

The main parts of Tuesday and Wednesday were spent on the boat. Paul was busy sanding the cap rails and I stayed below reading, writing, catching up on emails, and helping Paul when needed (mainly fetching and carrying).IMG_0417

On the 1.5 mile-walk to Tesco, I saw the spot where Paul got mugged. In daylight it looked a most innocuous place; a verdant country lane with colourful flowers, joggers and cyclists. The only thing missing was dog walkers.  I’ve seen very few dogs since I’ve been in Malaysia. A couple of nervous strays and once, a whole pack of them, much like the packs that I used to see roaming the streets in the 70s. We see lots of cats and kittens too but it’s hard to tell if they belong to anyone. The local radio station urges people to adopt stray cats and dogs and there is a ‘help the beach cats’ programme in place, but it seems the idea of pets isn’t a ‘thing’ here yet.

Yesterday morning (Thursday), I cleaned the spray dodger in the hope that it would improve visibility. I couldn’t stay out long, though – the exertion needed for cleaning left me sweating and breathless. Paul stays out in it for hours using power tools and doing strenuous jobs. He says it’s because he’s acclimatised. If that’s the case, I’ve got a long way to go yet! Because he needed to go to a chandler in George Town, we decided to combine it with visiting the places I’d been reading about in the guide book (a heritage walk relating to George Town’s colonial era). This time we got a taxi to take us straight to the chandler’s which is directly opposite the clan jetties, so when Paul had finished we made those our first stop.  These are little wooden houses perched on stilts over the sea. Each of the ‘villages’ on the jetties has its own Chinese clan and are named for them: ‘Chew Jetty’, ‘Lim Jetty’ etc.  Most now sell gifts, hats and cold drinks but one still makes a living from fishing.IMG_0384 IMG_0388

Apart from the heat-at its peak at this time of the day-we had to contend with the very heavy traffic on the main road.  Pavements are intermittent and haphazard, so cars and (particularly) scooters whizz dangerously close to your body. It’s also hard to hear anything with the constant roar of engines and horns beeping. We headed inland to the busy, but calmer, streets and made for Fort Cornwallis.  I was keen to see the site where the founder of Penang, Francis Light had supposedly loaded a cannon with silver dollars and fired it into the jungle as motivation for the workers to clear the thick undergrowth for the settlement he wanted to establish.  We didn’t want to go in to the fort because we’d heard there wasn’t a lot to see and it wasn’t worth the entrance fee, so we had a walk around the walls instead.

A kind passerby offered to get a shot of us together
A kind passerby offered to get a shot of us together

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We were ready for some refreshment after this, so walked along the esplanade enjoying the cool breeze coming off the sea.  Our destination was The Eastern and Oriental Hotel, a grand and luxurious building that in its heyday was host to illustrious guests such as Rudyard Kipling, Noel Coward and W Somerset Maugham. Neither of us was hungry but I wanted to see what the bar was like so we entered the palatial cool, dark reception hall and through to an old-fashioned looking, beautifully decorated lounge bar (wooden walls, plush leather seats). It was empty and there was a terrace area outside so we asked the barman if we could sit out there with a drink and he offered to bring our order out to us.  The only places to sit were on sun loungers that were set out around the swimming pool and from here we had a lovely view of the rear of the hotel with its brilliant white walls and ornate balconies. Despite its reconstruction, it was easy to imagine it in past times when writers and actors visited.  Our drinks arrived with a dish of nuts and crisps and we spent a pleasant hour relaxing by the pool.

Would love to stay here one day :)
Would love to stay here one day 🙂

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Paul living it up
Paul living it up

Next it was on to the Protestant Cemetery where Francis Light is buried. It was a fascinating place, reminiscent of Highgate with its crumbling and cracked headstones and tombs.  So many men and women had died young – hardly any were over 50. They had succumbed to the rigours of the tropics (malaria, dysentery and cholera mainly). IMG_0412

By the time we were ready to walk to the bus station, it was late afternoon and the beginning of rush hour so the journey back took ages due to the bus crawling through the town traffic jams but it was cool inside and it felt great to be sitting down after being on our feet for so long.

Kathy

 

Back to boat work.

sunset

So the elements laid on a good sunset for our last night in Langkawi, I meant to put this picture up the other day, the beams of light must be caused by the mountain tops illuminating a strata of cloud. Quite fascinating, at least to me.

garlands

Now we are boaty tourists, the plan is to work hard on the boat with frequent breaks sightseeing. Our first trip into Penang was a bit rushed but we did get to see an interesting exhibition of old photographs of Penang, Kathy is reading up on the history of the place, and guess what, the Brits don’t come out of it too well, surprise surprise.

I think I’m a bit used to SE Asia now, but I forget how strange it must all be for Kathy having never been east of Kalamos in Greece.

smmellies
Joss sticks gone crazy

china-door

Spotted some kittens playing, Kathy wanted one, and of course I would love to have obliged, but the thought of splitting them up seemed so unfair 😉

 

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Back at the boat I have started on the starboard side cap rail and coaming. This side has more damage, but I think I can repair the wood sufficiently.

Very rough
Very rough

One day I might replace the whole rail, but there are other priorities right now.
Since we arrived I have checked off quite a few tasks, we have a new mixer tap in the galley, so now we have hot water for doing the dishes. I have stowed the old CQR anchor in the lazarette and also re-organised the stowage, there’s a chance the fenders will all fit into the locker, which would be amazing.

The best bit was connecting the boats internal Air-Con into a supply of tap water from the pontoon, as it’s own sea water cooling pump has failed. This worked, which proved the refrigerator part of the AC is working, so I can now hunt down a water pump in Penang, the challenge is to find a pump that works with salt water, runs continuously, is quiet, and not too expensive.

Back to the sanding

Paul C.