George Town wandering

Yesterday evening (21st) I went for a 'quick walk' into town. My apartment is about a 20 minute walk from the edge of George Town heritage area and 40 minutes from the jetty and core tourist zone. Between home and the edge of the 'nice' part of town is not particularly nice: apartment blocks, malls and big roads with... intermittent... footpaths. There are still lots of interesting places to stop of course; markets, stalls, local restaurants, general streetside chaos. Walking around here takes a lot of concentration, between trying to take in the surroundings, not being hit by scooters and cars, avoiding enormous open holes into the sewer, and not accidentally buying a kilo of tropical fruit every five minutes.

The sky was blue. My goal was to procure coconut oil for cooking. I thought it would be easy to get hold of here, but so far, after a few days of hunting around, I found it in a vegetarian restaurant (Leaf Healthy House) and a baking shop for twice the price. I asked in an Indian grocery, and was directed to another grocery store, but I never found it. So I returned to Leaf to pick up 2 litres for RM 36.30. Or so I thought. I got distracted by not-meats at a different Indian grocery, paid a visit to Fort Cornwallis, plus dinner at Veggielicious, and by the time I made it to Leaf I didn't have enough cash left.

On that note, Fort Cornwallis was pretty rubbish. There are guided tours where one is presumably told about the history.. I was at the allotted tour starting point at the right time, but nobody showed up. The 'exhibits' are glass boxes in mouldy rooms containing bits of rock or dioramas, and no explanation of what they are. There isn't much 'fort', just outer walls and some cannons on hills. I was feeling particularly disgruntled because I paid 20 RM to enter, which could have got me four or five meals. I left after about half an hour, most of which was occupied milling around waiting for a tour guide to show up.

When I got back it had started raining, with thunder and lightning. I sat in the outdoor bit of the pool for half an hour, watching the sky light up.

Today (22nd) I went into town at lunchtime, and made the first stop Leaf, for coconut oil. I was accompanied by two new guests in my AirBnB, P and A; ship engineers from Poland. Apparently ship engineering isn't as exciting as it sounds. We ate at Woodlands vegetarian Indian. Service was frustratingly slow, but the food was good and cheap. While we were there the sky opened and the lightning commenced again. I headed home, and they went off to explore town some more. It rained heavily, intermittently, but I mostly stayed in the cover of the archways that line most buildings here. I stopped at Mydin, a giant supermarket and department store, and finally bought more kitchen stuff. I got a blender for less than $12. It's probably not good quality, but it only needs to last two more months.

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