Melaka (20th to 25th March)
Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
87Trip End Dec 29, 2008
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We had arrived by bus from KL but decline the offers of the taxi touts at the bus station for a trip into town for 15 RM and instead got the local bus for 80 cents.
Melaka was once a thriving colonial port - at times under Portuguese, Dutch and the British (is there anywhere we didn't once control??), who gave it back to the Malaysians in 1957 (when Clive was 3 years old!). The colonial history is still very evident in the architecture of the old town with old shop-houses and temples dotted along the streets
Although the locals promote the Nyonya culture being so important, to us the main culture here seems to be much more laid back and liberal than many parts of Asia - particularly when it comes to temples. The rickshaws here are also by far the most fun. Decorated with flowers and tinsel and playing music - we often heard some "rapping rickshaws" peddling up the road, with 50 Cent at high volume on the p.a (yes, I too am amazed that Clive new who it was!!). The owners also had a sense of humour - one asked Clive if he could take us to London.
Friday night seems to be the ultimate Karaoke night. Walking along Jonker Street, which is the major and most of historical street in the old quarter and is closed to traffic at night at weekends, we found an old Chinese temple which for the night had been set up as an open-mike evening for Chinese karaoke (tempted to give it ago, but thought better of it
For a change of culture we paid a visit to the local bowling alley where we had a change of musical tempo. This time, Rock'n'Roll. As soon as the music started, all the bowlers suddenly started jiggling and wiggling in time to Elvis?Chuck berry and Little Richard, which did nothing for our concentration (or our scores - Clive's excuse!)Have you ever seen a hip swiveling bowler ?
The weather here is hot and sunny in the morning and then usually, monsoon rain the afternoon once the humidity has got up to really high levels.
In keeping with the everywhere is closed theme, many restaurants were closed for at least some of the Easter weekend (despite the large number of visitors). We did find a great Indian restaurant open though, which server amazing chicken and nan bread cooked in the tan-door. So delicious, we return a further two nights
Just 3 ringgits (about 50p) buys an entrance ticket to the three museums in Melaka. They quite easily qualify for the worst museums ever, anywhere in the world. One contains painted beach scenery with plastic turtles placed in front (the key exhibit was an extra large plastic turtle with ping-pong balls for eggs), one is a fake galleon (made of old floorboards), and the other contains some disused naval machinery to look at. If only we had paid attention to a guidebook in we found in KL before we left on Melaka. It was pretty scathing about the town , but it did say the museums were the main draw.........
Having had enough of the colonial culture, we got the bus back to KL.