Wednesday, 24 September 2014


Until we arrived back in Malaysia, I don't think we had realized how much we missed the place! As much as we loved the change in Iran, Armenia and Georgia, and enjoyed the varied and completely different experiences we had over there, our hearts really do belong in the tropical, relaxed and comfortably familiar environment of South-east Asia.

We struggled to  recover from the long flight back from Tbilisi, rushed around in KL catching up on numerous things, and eventually got ourselves to the small, untouristy, coastal  village of Cherating where our poor bodies went into shock, and we spent a week and half trying to get over flu-like symptoms that were probably a result of utter exhaustion! The first day was great, catching up with our good friend, Susan, and spending the day at a swish resort pool for Sal's birthday, and although things went downhill from there, we were happy to at least be in a quiet, hot, relaxing place to recover well, and let things get back to normal.

For the next month, we began to unwind, and get back into the slow pace of SE Asia, and enjoyed our little bungalow in the slightly scruffy village with it's laid back feel, less than perfect beach, lovely tropical weather, and cheap and plentiful (and delicious!) food options. Our bodies began to feel more like their old selves after many walks along the beach, and a bit of colour returned to our previously pasty bodies!

Chikka, little rescued monkey, Cherating
Cherating Beach, Malaysia

Cherating, Malaysia

While in Cherating,we met a lovely French couple who had been working  on a British film in Penang. They suggested we might also get some work, so we contacted the company, and were lucky enough to be accepted as extras! It was all very rushed, as they needed us for fitting the next morning, and Penang is on the opposite side of Malaysia to Cherating, but we made it in time, thanks to an overnight bus, and not a lot of sleep.

It was a period drama set in India in 1932, but filmed on Penang Hill, so every day we took a bus to the bottom of the hill, and then the very expensive new train to the top for filming (we didn't have to pay, being part of the cast). The setting was a gorgeous old colonial house, completely set up to resemble an Indian hill station, with great attention to detail. Our mornings consisted of arriving, eating a huge buffet breakfast, and having our wardrobe, hair and make up done- a lengthy procedure due to the large number of extras, small number of make up and wardrobe people, and, in Sal's case, having a wig fitted and set every day (her hair was a bit too radical for 1932 with red streaks!). It was great fun dressing up in old fashioned clothes, and it was the first time Sal had seen Rich in a suit, let alone a tux! The rest of the 12 hour day was usually spent sitting around for several hours chatting to the many other friendly fellow extras (mainly expats living in Penang, but a few other travelers), before heading to the set for more lounging around, eating some amazing food for lunch/dinner, with a few hours of shooting scenes in between. Sal had the added dubious bonus of being asked to sing a song in a scene, which terrified her as she hadn't sung since her high school days! Although the days were long, and despite all the hanging about, quite tiring, we really enjoyed the experience, and would love to do it again someday.

Our costumes as extras
Dawn view from Penang Hill

While we were waiting for filming to start, and between getting fitted, we enjoyed being in Penang- one of our favourite cities. We had quite a long stint here two and a half years ago, when we joined in the double cerebration of Chinese New Year and Thaipusam (here), so we'd seen a lot of the main sights. But  a new attraction is the street art around the heritage part of Georgetown. Sal loved this, and took herself off on a little tour around, joining the hordes of other tourists (all Asian and mostly on bicycles), to snap some pictures and admire the original works.

Street art, Penang, Malaysia

Street art, Penang, Malaysia

Street art, Penang, Malaysia

Streets art, Penang, Malaysia

Street art, Penang, Malaysia
Street art, Penang, Malaysia

Street art, Penang, Malaysia

Lovely girls exploring Penang by bicycle

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the glimpse into the street art scene. Its as much, for me, about deconstruction of the formal gallery scene as it is about the limits of interpretation, akin to what could the images ostensibly be in reference given the surroundings (peeling walls) give little hint to what social circumstance inspired the artist to make the depiction. A great place to do a stint as an ethnographic (anthropological jargon) field study of the street art of Panang.