I’m heading back to Thailand tomorrow as I’m fairly close to the border, I’ve run out of things I want to do in Malaysia and I’m tired of being forced into the dossiest dosshouses by the high cost of accommodation here. I don’t know if I’m going to enjoy it, though.
For two days I’ve been in Georgetown, capital of Penang island in the northwest of Malaysia. I like it here, actually, but I’m happy to move on now that I’ve seen the sights. In some ways it reminds me of home, since it was the first British settlement in the Malay Peninsula.
It’s also very Chinese
and has a lively Little India.
So now I’m sitting outside my dosshouse, using the very good wifi - I have to, as there’s no plug socket in my cell-like room - and eavesdropping on some young drifters talking about the south of Thailand. One’s a 25-year-old Frenchman who’s been bartending there for years and knows all about the drugs, the corruption, the scams and the nightlife (to put it politely).
Christ, these guys make me feel old and staid. I also find myself silently judging them, rolling my eyes at the shallowness of their conversations and asking myself if they’ll ever do anything positive with their lives: highly ironic, given that in a moment of facetiousness I named this blog The International Slacker.
I don’t know if I’m going to enjoy the beach resorts. They’re not my scene at all. I may well end up just finding a good-value hotel with good wifi and taking a couple of weeks to apply myself - seriously this time - to finding some work in the autumn.
Long before I fly home, I’ll also buy a razor to replace one that broke a couple of weeks ago. But until then, I don’t mind going across the border with heavy stubble verging on a beard. From the travellers I’ve met lately, there’s no doubt in my mind that Thai immigration doesn‘t discriminate against scruffs.