When you make a trip home from abroad, you have a missions list. Because most services are cheaper in Malaysia, most people would agree with the first five on my missions list:
1. Buy a new pair of glasses
2. Go for dental check up
3. Get permanent curls
4. Buy a new mobile phone
5. Print passport photos
6. Buy a swimming suit
7. Eat at high school canteen
8. Watch a horse race
9. Teach Mum how to use Skype
10. Interview Grandfather on family history
11. Paint Grandpa’s flat
12. Learn ‘freestyle’ swimming from Dad
Needless to say, this is merely the non-food list. I have a separate missions list on specific places I want to eat in Penang, but I will tell you all about that later because today I am off to complete Task #3 – the permanent curls.
I drop by my hairdresser’s salon in the dead heat of midday. He is Big Sis’s friend from primary school. Incidentally, he is getting married next week and I am excited that he has invited my family to his wedding dinner.
I tell him I want permanent curls, and he whips out a Japanese women’s magazine. I am so happy to see Asian faces on magazines again. He talks me through the curls that suit me best, and I go for the coloured wavy one.
I am sat at the salon’s swivel chair, with four hours of chemicals to season my scalp, and soon I begin to fall asleep again.
I wake up and stare at myself in the mirror. My head is covered in cling film, and frankly I am more embarrassed at falling asleep than the absurdity of kitchenware on my head. Did I snore again? I look around and no one seems to take notice.
The jetlag excuse is coming in handy again, combined with the heat outside.