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The 60s meets the future, Batu Feringghi Beach, Penang, Malaysia

December 21, 2012

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This post marks the last in my series of retro photo locations and I thought it would be a pretty easy one since I knew it was Penang and every local I showed it too instantly identified it as Batu Feringghi beach; the largest and most popular of the island’s tourist beaches – and an easy distance by bus from my hostel. The locals were all also quite amused by the grass on the sand which is apparently considered pretty retro now. Sometime in the 80s it was decided that grass on the sand wasn’t quite paradise enough for a paradise beach so large quantities of white sand was shipped in to cover it. I wonder how many pristine white ‘paradise’ beaches are actually naturally that way.

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I left it till the eleventh hour and went with two Swedish guys from my hostel that I’d spent the week with. We figured we’d take some snaps and then spend the day supping beer and snoozing on the sand. A cursory walk up and down the beach soon disappointingly revealed that the hills in the background did not match those in the picture though and there was also the little matter of the small island behind my family which was suspiciously missing. The Swedes suggested I try and blag that it was dismantled for its sand – possible I suppose.

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I was faced with a minor dilemma; should I spend my last afternoon in Malaysia engaging in a likely fruitless search, around as many miles and miles of almost identical looking beaches as possible, trying to find the exact one or be happy with the one I’d found and buy a beer? Well, I’m sorry to say that beer won. However, I think you’ll agree that my beach is almost identical and its not impossible that it is the same beach in a few of the photos. I was happy to accept just the one minor failure on my great quest.

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The next day brought 24 hours of r and r on the train back to Bangkok during which I demolished the best part of the Hunger Games trilogy. I’m pleased to say I’m happily settled into a new flat in Lop Buri and once again attempting to teach Thai four year olds a little bit of English (and enjoying the fact that they all think Christmas is St Nick’s birthday). More on that soon.

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