The Canadian Family in Penang
Years ago, C & myself were waiting for the Penang Hill Railway to get on top of Penang Hill. I can’t remember exactly how we got talking, but it could have been a can of Coke in the hot weather and this Canadian family with three children helped clear up the mess. It turned out they were two teachers and had sold up all of their possessions and were going round the world. They were obviously educating their children as they travelled.
They had started in the UK and then crossed Europe by train to take a ferry to North Africa, where they crossed the Sahara in a truck. Gradually, they progressed through Africa to Dar Es Salaam, from where they took a dhow to India. When we met them, they were living in a two dollars a day flophouse in Penang. In a few days, they woukd be off and hoped to get to Darwin.
I asked if they had had any trouble. They said, only really the baboons. But then babons are the hooligans of Africa. Although, their son had broken his humerus, somewhere in Northern Nigeria. The local head man introduced them to the local bonesetter, who felt it all back into place. Later in Lagos, the Canadian High Commission, got them an appointment with the best orthopaedic surgeon in Nigeria. When he looked at the arm, he just gave a knowing look and said that the bonesetter was better than he was at puting broken bones back together. He’d not had any trouble since. I wish that bonesetter had put my gammy arm back together.
I always wonder what happened to that family. I assume all was well, but it would have made the travel book of the decade. I suspect, the authorities would have something to say, if a family tried it now.
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