My 5: Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

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1. Central Food Market, May 2015. What a strange little place the Malaysian city of Johor Bahru is. Dwarfed by the popularity of its neighboring metropolis Singapore, most people have never even heard of it. I’d certainly had no plans to visit before fate intervened. I was enjoying a three-month trip around South East Asia and was looking forward to visiting my old friend Lisa, who lived on the Malaysian island Pulau Sibu. The original plan had been to go to Sibu directly from Singapore, but then Lisa was unexpectedly called out to Johor Bahru for four days at her company’s head office. So I made the short trip over to JB in the hope that there was enough to keep me busy while she was at work. On that first afternoon I headed out to the network of food markets scattered around my hotel. This stall, selling a mixture of Malay, Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, was just one of countless joints in the area. Fine dining it wasn’t, although the slop I treated myself to was hearty enough and dirt cheap. Having spent a few hours eating, drinking and people watching I couldn’t help but wonder: “What now?”

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