After a long rainy season, from about mid-January we started the normal hot season for Chinese New Year. Beautiful and sunny all day. But for the past three weeks it has rained about once a week – twice quite heavily. And sometimes now it is overcast. But mostly the beautiful sunny days continue. Still, the hot season seems much shorter this time.
Chinese New Year seemed rather quiet this year. Only on one night was I awoken several times by World War Three sounding explosions of fireworks. Most years I experience several nights like this. And the traffic seemed also quieter than usual. I guess it’s all over now.
A couple of days I was driving slowly in a back street, and saw a bird perched on the edge of a refuse skip. A cat had snuck up underneath, and then made a sudden leap for the bird. The bird flew off with millimetres and half a second to spare.
This action from a local animal seems rare. There are many dogs and cats that appear to be stray. Some are, and some are owned by locals, but they roam free – (both the animals and the locals.) Some have collars, and some not. But neighbours feed the animals daily and so they are all very relaxed.
A few dogs chase cars, but they are in the minority. They are rarely threatening to anyone, in fact, many are quite timid. Just show a tiny bit of attention to some of them and they will follow you into your property, and generally act hopeful when they see you for the following few days. Others are only interested in their owners and those who feed them. And the population of these stray dogs is ever-changing. They come and go. Some stay for a short while, some for longer.
I have heard that when people move properties they sometimes just abandon their pets. And the pets are left to fend for themselves. And then they breed, and there are more strays. But at least life is quite easy for them in Penang.
Since Starbucks introduced a system whereby you need to use a code on your receipt to log into and use WiFi, and restricts you to one device and for up to two hours, it is less attractive to drink there. For a start, we can’t log in with our iPad. It just doesn’t work. Then there is the extra fiddling around putting in codes. And you have to log off one device if you even briefly want to use another device with the WiFi. For a couple it makes sense to buy drinks separately so you have two receipts, one each, with a log on code each. Today I just couldn’t log on with my computer, and wasted a lot of time trying. In the end I had to log on with my phone, and it’s much slower typing into the phone. So now I spend less time at Starbucks, as it’s easier just to skip it and go home and use my Internet there.
So generally it’s all pretty quiet.