Friday 20 March... This afternoon at about 4.00pm I went for a stroll down the road and into Penang Old Town. It`s a fairly large old town but maybe because, unlike Penang island, the old town is not particularly a tourist destination, many of the local people I pass by here give me a smile, often say hello and sometimes even strike up a conversation. Even if they don`t, I often just give them a smile and they always smile back. And I think I`m starting to be recognised here because I always wear my hat. (Indiana Jones is in town again).
Anyway, this afternoon I sat down at a Malaysian street restaurant and ordered an iced coffee and something to eat. I sort of explained that I wanted something spicy accompanied by some sort of paratha bread. When the dish arrived it looked delicious. It was like two Spanish omelettes with two small but ample vegetable curry dishes. And it all tasted amazing. What`s more, the bill only came to 8.50 Ringgit, which is less than £2. Man, do I love it here!
On Friday evening I got chatting to a couple of the girls who work on commission at the bar down the road from the Temple. Their commission is based on the number of drinks they manage to sell you. All the girls are very attractive and one of them told me she is from Northern Thailand. When I asked what she`d previously done for work in Thailand and she said, massage, I almost asked what type of massage but then remembered I`m a guest at the Krishna Temple, so thought the better of it. Who knows where it would lead. My understanding of massage in Thailand (well, in Bangkok at least) is definitely of the other kind. But unlike most western views, there is less of a stigma attached to it. Of course their are also many massages available in Thailand which are not ultra personal (for want of a better word). I guess it depends on what you`re looking for.
Later on Friday evening I returned to the bar as, being my last evening in Penang, I thought I`d treat myself to a couple more lagers. It was the entertainment that night which got me into a little problem later with Lord Krishna.
I couldn`t resist the Filipino version of the Spice Girls (well, three of them anyway) who were on stage looking delightful in their hotpants and even dedicated a few songs to me. I dragged myself away from them at around 10.30pm. As I approached the Temple, just 5 minutes walk away, I had a feeling that a little problem may be awaiting me. Sure enough, as I approached the Temple I could see the gates had been locked!
Following my initial panic, I placed my hands together in front of me and bowed my head and apologised to Lord Krishna for being late, hoping he would provide a solution to my dilemma.
The solution he gave me was to give me the strength to climb over the 6 foot high gates.
You see, in the excitement of watching the Filipino Spice Girls, I had forgotten that the Krishna devotees, for security, lock the gates of their Temples and Iskcom Centres at around 10pm each evening.
More to follow soon.