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  • Writer's pictureNondiarist

Messages from Penang - After a month

Setting up life in a new country takes time. So many things are familiar and yet so many things are different. And technology is absolutely critical now for getting established. My phone is everything - I can practically run my entire life from my phone. Will humans in the future be born with some kind of suitable attachment or pocket?

In a bygone era my parents hedge-hopped their way down Africa in a Vickers Viscount from England to what was then Southern Rhodesia and set up their new life. I never really knew what obstacles they encountered when it came to banks, the telephone service or renting somewhere to live. The internet, of course, was unheard-of. In order to research and find the best banks, insurance companies or shops to visit for this, that and the other, they had to make new acquaintances and/or refer to the telephone directory, assuming they even obtained a phone quickly enough. They had to wait for the mail for confirmation that their accounts were active or that orders had been placed or that something wasn't available or had gone wrong.

Now, we expect everything to work and be at our fingertips instantly. Like the air that we breathe, we need a phone contract with data package immediately, which then gives us access to correspondence in various forms, a taxi service, banking, language translation, currency conversion, maps and, in this ridiculous world we are suffering currently, track and trace. We need broadband wherever we live or even go to visit; it's as critical these days as electricity and running water. We can then connect to work systems, do online purchases, buy and listen to music, watch movies and keep documents. And let's not forget that necessity, Facebook.

So a month in, here in Penang, and most things are up and running. I can chat with everyone, get taxis from Grab, move money around, use my bank cards in every situation, start to learn Malay and know how much I'm spending in pounds. I can find my way around Georgetown, pay my bills, sign up for a place to rent and equip it with broadband.

And best of all, Pepper arrived this afternoon. We always say "if only they could talk"; I'm just going to have to guess at all her great adventures and what she thought of the strange sensations she would have experienced flying.

Last time I saw her was in a cattery in Worcester.

Then she was transported to somewhere near Heathrow.

And now she's here, exploring in Penang. Thank you, PetAir!

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