Randal and I are both pooped. Randal from all the boat work he is doing and me from the yesterday’s all day trip to George Town and chores today. Tomorrow we’ll go back to the local public market, a 45 minute walk from the yard. Hopefully I’ll walk off some of the George Town snacks!
“Thosai and Cheese Naan”
Yesterday we made another journey into George Town. (I spell it with two words because that’s what’s on the local map and local street signs.) Five of us went: P and E, Randal, me and the Frenchman Nicholas. We left the yard about 7:15 am just as it was getting light. You have to hike up a hefty hill and then walk down the other side to leave the yard and get to the main road. It’s not at all bad in the cool of the morning when your pack is empty. In the late afternoon with a full pack and an additional full canvas carrying bag (advertising the wonderfulness of libraries,) and, trying to hold an umbrella, it’s almost all bad! I say almost because there was no thunder and lightning, just a steady light rain. My goal was to not only get up the hill as dry as possible, but also to avoid squishing the wonderful bread I’d bought in town. (And I used to dread unloading my car under the carport after a trip to Kroger.)
We left early morning for two reasons: more buses run in the morning and we could have time for a second breakfast in town before the shops opened. We caught, (ran for,) the bus, which was coming along just as we got to the street; and then we sat for about 90 minutes as the bus route went round Robin’s barn to get to town. The bus is clean, comfortable and air conditioned (I got cold) so it isn’t bad, just long. At least we had seats and finally did get to George Town.
Finally off the bus, our first stop was a bright green and yellow place serving Indian food. Indian food has great breakfast foods! We had thosai, a wonderful slightly fermented rice pancake. E and I had plain and the guys had egg.
It was crispy and wonderful and came with dipping sauces varying in degrees of heat from mild to too spicy for me for breakfast. One sauce had a yogurt base and I stuck to that. There were 4 dipping options, so even plain is never plain!
We almost never eat indoors anymore. Tea and coffee comes in glass mugs.
When I started to write this I wasn’t sure what the pancake was called but remembered P and E calling it something like “toesee.” I looked up rice pancake and figured it out. I could have asked E but that would have involved climbing down out of the boat and then climbing back up the boat. They are just across our bow but weren’t visible for me to call over to them. “There are various ways of transliterating dosa: dhosha, dosay, dosai, dhosai, tosai, thosai, or dvashi. In different countries it is spelled in different manners; for example, in Malaysia and Singapore it is spelled thosai, because of the different way in which Tamil is transliterated in South-East Asia.” Wikipedia.
I guess they are all close enough so if you just say some version, even “toesee” you’ll be understood. I have a hard time learning Bahasa Malaysia, but thosai I’ll remember.
After breakfast the guys went one way and I went with E who knows George Town well and is a great guide. I had a few things to find as did she, and she also had a dentist appointment a bus ride distance from historic George Town. Randal went off with P and Nicholas to chandlers and hardware stores. P needed 26 kilo of sand (57.2 lbs) so he and Randal would taxi home. I don’t remember every stop E and I made, there were many! but it was about 2 pm when we had another snack, this time cheese naan with ice water with lime. We ate at the restaurant where I’d taken the photos of the bread oven. E and I each ordered a cheese naan and it was an entire piece of naan with buttery cheese lightly melted on top. The pieces looked, and were huge, and there was none left when we finished. Interestingly you get different foods at different times of the day. Thosai in the morning and naan in the afternoon. Each needs the oven and I guess in not the same way. I like all of the different options so it doesn’t matter to me. Randal likes the naan best so he is always sorry there’s none for breakfast. When Randal was in the hospital in China for his food poisoning I went looking for rice for his breakfast but the food stalls were only selling noodles. He was tired of noodles, but that’s what he got because that’s all there was until later in the day. Maybe same reason? At least that morning in Jingan.
E told me what this was; I don’t remember. But its fragrance says India and it masks the smells from the drains. You see it on the sidewalk in front of shops.
I was ready to walk off my pancake and there were chores to do, so off we went………
Marina office, bus terminal, dentist, bus, small shop that sells pants E likes, hand towel shop, paint shop, electrical shop, European style Rainbow Bakery for great whole grain bread. (They also sell bagels and what Americans call English muffins though the British don’t.) art gallery, art supply shop, rag shop, pharmacy, carpet shop for small, cheap mats because of boat yard grit, and for fun, a really great thrift shop that has prices that even beat my 6.90 ringgit shirt. The thrift shop is a charity so I’m going, finally, through all of my stuff and, if I don’t love it, it’s going into the big bag for the thrift shop. And if it’s too small. I tried on my bought in China jeans shorts and it was sad. I could almost get them on unbutton in China and now they’re too snug! All of the wonderful and interesting food is taking a toll! Lots of passages and rally dinners don’t help either. Soon we’ll weigh 35 tons.
The Rag shop: I bought three of the small, colorful bundles. They cost very little but filled my backpack.
“Antiques” if you needed those too. E just looked, I just bought rags.
At this very large renovated shophouse you could buy anything needed for any Hindu or Chinese custom or celebration! They also sold aromatic candles that E uses against mosquitoes.
Three shop houses had been combined to make this very large store that went up three floors.
Lions and tigers and dragons, oh my!
On the top floor were the statues with missing hands, or had dings or nobody wanted them for another reason. A tangle of lamps too. Not sure where things went after the 3rd floor.
It was a wonderful building with wood floors and stairs. Thankfully many of the old shop houses are being renovated rather than demolished. I really made that up about the 3rd floor stuff.
Walkways in front of the shop houses are like covered arcades. Cool in the sun and dry in the rain.
A little before 4 pm we walked back to the bus terminal to catch the 307 “rapid” bus back to the boat yard. First we had to sit and wait for the bus, and then it wasn’t really all that “rapid.” It took us about an hour to get back to Batu Maung where the boat yard is located. That was a half hour faster than the 302 local but 40 minutes longer than a taxi. Just as we got close to Batu Maung it started to rain. But, as I said earlier, it could have been worse. Rain is starting to come less often and not so fierce. It is the time for the dry season which is why kids have these few months off from school.
Today was a boat work and chores day. Randal is getting lots done but is also getting pooped. It’s tiring just climbing up and down the stairs to get on and off the boat. Tomorrow E and Randal and I will walk to the local public market for veggies. ( P will keep sanding Labarque’s hull which is why he needed all that sand.) We’ll also stop at the small stainless steel factory: Labarque needs some work done and Randal has some questions. I want more veggies so I’ll stop eating bread and cookies!
ps Is it baseball season yet?