Posted by: John McGerr | January 1, 2009

Penang


Orchard Road is Singapore’s ‘Main Street’ if such a term is applicable anymore to major cities. It’s Singapore’s equivalent to Oxford Street in London, or O’Connell Street in Dublin.  We visited Ngee Ann City, a large shopping mall, stopping to watch some Chinese acrobats perform on the side of the street. There is a bookstore in Ngee Ann City that is supposed to be the largest in Asia, or was in 2003.  The problem I have with large bookstores is similar to that with multichannel television – so much choice you keep changing channels hoping to find something good. I did buy a book by a Singaporean author Douglas Chua. A comment in the book lists him as “Singapore’s Jeffrey Archer” – I hope Douglas didn’t end up the same way!.

We flew to Penang, an island off the coast of Malaysia – we stayed in a place called Batu Ferringhi. The island was much different from Singapore – more of a gulf in wealth.  We ate out both nights we were there at a restaurant called ‘The Ship’ , appropriately built like a ship on dry land. At night stalls were setup alongside the road where you could buy cheap jewellery, paintings and other knick-knacks.  Compared to Singapore the weather was much sunnier.

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