Around the World 1977 - Malaysia
I ended up not seeing a lot of Penang. One of the first evenings I was there I was having dinner at a small restaurant when a Malaysian guy came up to me and started to chat. His story was that he had arranged to meet an Englishwoman at the restaurant but she had stood him up. He wanted to talk about it. He bought us some beer and I listened to his tale of woe. By the time dinner was done I was expecting some sort of scan, but he just stood up and said good-bye and handed me a little packet as a present....
I was staying at the old Cathay hotel. I went back to my room still wondering what was in the package. It turned out to be a big chunk of opium. Crap. What to do now? Have I been set up? Will I get the death penalty? Should I flush it down the toilet? Throw it out the window? Either way they might recover it.
So, I did they only think I knew that would destroy the evidence. I ate it. What a mistake. I slept without being able to get out of bed for about 36 hours and had the absolute most crazy dreams I'd had before or since. I was really out of my tree. When I finally was able to get up and walk about I was dehydrated, malnourished and really disoriented. I walked around town a bit and took a few photos, but that's about it.
In a day or two I made it over to Butterworth and got on a train for KL.
Photo number: my010.jpg -
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Photographs and text copyright Michael Newman and William Garsden: 2017.