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.
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.
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.
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 better 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.