Day 43, Wednesday 08 Feb, Melaka (Malacca)
I woke with a mild hangover, but surprised myself by sleeping very soundly – it was a great couch. Had a good cooked breakfast as it is part of Trefor’s serviced apartment deal, an awesome skin pealing shower and then hit the road before the day got too warm. I took the tube to the south bound long distance bus terminal about 20k south of central KL. I arrived in the bus terminal just before the 10:30 bus to Melaka so perfect timing, and for a change the advertised two hour journey only took one forty five. The long distance terminal in Melaka is about fifteen minutes from town by local bus, which also conveniently was leaving in five minutes. The day is going so well !
We soon arrived in Melaka’s old town and I was instantly in love with the place. When I booked my morning flight to the Philippines I forgot I had to get from Melaka to Singapore, massive Doh ! So I had to reduce my two days in Melaka down to one, I so regret that now. Unlike me, I had booked my accommodation ahead and have a massive room in the Oriental Residence Riverside Guesthouse, and it is a charming place with very welcoming, helpful and friendly owners. Once I had settled in my room they spent a few minutes with me and the map explaining how to get to all the various sites, great service.
After a coffee and a quick bit of sink clothes washing I set out to explore Melaka. With a couple of sweaty days and carrying the backpack everything I have, including the fresh washing seems to be greasy and sticky and sweaty and my day bag smells, it is just not nice! I have booked the nights in a guesthouse in Puerto Princesa, my first stop in the Phillies, and when I get there I am going to have a major cleaning session. The sandals are still good though !
Since its founding in the 1300’s by a Sumutran prince, Melaka (or Malacca)has been kicked around by most of the usual suspects, Chinese in the 1400’s, the Portugese in 1511, the Dutch in 1641 and finally the good old English in 1795. As you can imagine the town has some interesting architecture and the old town is now a protected place and is very attractive. I think the next thing they need to do is pedestrianise a couple of key streets, or maybe ban parking as it does ruin the view ! The old town is on the Melaka river, just inland from the straits of Melaka.
I wandered around the town for three hours in the very hot sun, including a visit to the local mall to buy myself a belt, my pants keep falling down, I think it is me that has shrunk not my pants that have expanded !
Over the past couple of weeks have really taken an interest in snapping photos of old bicycles so got a few examples today – I will do a bicycle photo special one day when I have time. But here is a genuine Chopper, oh man I have not seen one of these for years. I coveted one when I was young.
I also visited a “war is a crime” exhibition at the muslim museum and there was a presentation out the front. The exhibition seemed to be largely anti-American more than anything else, definitely lacked perspective. However in the presentation, which was in Malay I did here Bosnia and Rwanda mentioned, so maybe it wasn’t just yank bashing.
My hostel is the one with the pink flowers up the wall.
By 4.30 I was starving so popped into the local laksa house for a great home recipe laksa and the coldest beer I have had in months, lovely stuff. After a wee lie down I wandered out again and up Melaka Hill, must be at least 20 metres high! To look at the ruins of St Pauls church and wait for a largely uneventful sunset.
Back to the hostel for a beer and a blog.
Reading back on this post, I have been a bit unfair on Melaka, it deserves way more attention than this , it really is a nice little town, stunning buildings and a nice feel – so sorry Melaka ! I am tired.