Melaka: Our last stop in Malaysia

Trip Start Mar 18, 2009
Trip End Jan 12, 2010

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Where I stayed
Yellow Mansion Hotel

Flag of Malaysia  , Melaka State,
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Well, what can I say, a month has almost gone by and we have made it to our final destination in Malaysia, before crossing the border into Singapore.  It has been a whirlwind and Malaysia has definitely been the easiest place in South East Asia to travel as a tourist. No hassle, excellent public transport and convenient stores at your fingertips.  At times it has maybe been too easy, and a little banter with past locals has given us fond memories.

To get to Melaka we took a 2 hour ride in a bus posing as a cold storage unit. The air con chills you to the bone here, and it apparently gets colder in Singapore. We were dropped off at the Melaka Sentral bus terminal and hopped onto the number 17 bus, which took us into town. By mistake we alighted at the Mahkota mall and had a fun filled walk to the Yellow Mansion Hotel. Unfortunately due to the high congregation of museums on Jalan Kota we had to walk the long way round. All I can say was that we were very sweaty afterwards.

Luck didn't seem to be on our side, as we both were struck down with colds again. Maybe it's a little sympathy on our part towards folks back in freezing Blighty. It did take the wind out of our sails and we didn't really see that many places. 

Jonkers Walk was quite a contrasting experience. It would get insanely busy in the morning, but become just as quiet when the sun disappeared.  Part of the fun was trying to walk down the narrow streets without being run over by passing cars. It made the streets of Hoi An feel expansive!

What Jonkers does is give a glimpse of the cultural diversity of this port town. I don't think we have been anywhere else in Asia where you can find a Church, a Chinese Temple, a  Hindu Temple and a Mosque on the same street.  We found Jonkers to be the most photogenic at night, but the weather played games with us all the time, so we would practically get rained on everytime we pulled out the camera.

The only other sight we managed to visit was St Paul's Church, nestled on top of a hill, with views to the Strait (it did look a lot like the Brighton sea front to me). It's foundations were distinctly European and beautiful. I am sure I would never have thought that 9 months ago, but our eye is so trained to Asian architecture that it was a refreshing change. I did notice that the statue of Saint Francis Xavier was missing a right hand. I wonder who stole it? Plus that would be such an inconvenience in Indian culture ;)

Boat trips do operate along the river through Melaka town and are very popular with locals and tourists alike. We wondered if it was a similar service to that run in Bangkok along the canals. Although we opted not to find out on this occasion, and walked instead. I can only describe the boat as bathtub like in its design. We did however stumble along a small shanty town hidden by trees and strategically placed concrete pillars. By the waters edge was a platform and monitor lizards sunning. I wonder if these were kept for food, pest control or both?!

One thing we did find annoying was the tricycles zipping around the town. Covered to the hilter in flowers and flashing lights, and rigged with a top notch CD sound system, each would blast out different styles of music. Painfully clashing as they overtook each other, I can only hope it will be the last time that I ever hear Michael Jackson, Happy Hardcore and 80's pop mixed together.
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