Melaka, home of the Asian Johnny Cash
Trip Start Jan 17, 2010
40Trip End Jul 17, 2010
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We came to Melaka via yet another break-neck Asian road journey, this time in a taxi. Despite our repeated requests that he slow down our driver, perhaps in anticipation of the forthcoming Malaysian Grand Prix (which I hope to attend in KL), merely grinned and increased his speed
Anyway, Melaka has proved an interesting place with more than enough excellent museums to hold our interest for a couple of days. Outside of Melaka's old town and colonial heart, it's a very modern city of Mega-malls which sell anything and everything, including "Boutique Burkahs" (sadly not the actual name of the shop but my invention, see pics), a shop selling jazzed up versions of the veil. In fact I've been surprised (again betraying my naivety) at quite how much Malaysia is keeping pace (and outstripping in some areas) with the West
One of our highlights here has been the Museum of Beauty, an odd museum which looks at the ways in which different cultures mutilate their bodies in the pursuit of beauty, eg tattooing, piercing etc. The most interesting (if not a little sickening) of these was the Chinese practice of foot-binding. Without going into all the gory details, Chinese women used to have their feet broken and bound at a young age to make them smaller - the smaller the more beautiful. We saw some astonishingly small shoes made for Chinese women, some no more than four inches long. By chance later in the day we stumbled across a shop whose keeper claimed to be the only remaining shoemaker for bound-feet in the world. He rather creepily tried to convince us to buy a pair as souvenirs... ummm no thanks! Jacques Chirac has a pair though apparently.
Today we went to a traditional Malay house and were shown round by a local chap who has also given guided tours to a kings, queens and Winston Churchill. Sadly he spent so long reeling off the list of famous visitors that we didn't find out too much about traditional Malay life. We got some nice pictures though. We've just got back from the Chinatown Night Market too, which was spectacular before it started chucking it down. We witnessed a bit of OAP public Karaoke too (as you do), before the rain forced indoors for a beer with the Malaysian Johnny Cash
We're off to Singapore in the morning, and have booked flights to Vietnam in a couple of weeks (conveniently for me just after the F1 Malaysian GP). We're both slightly terrified of the food options that may lie ahead of us for the remainder of our trip though. In Malaysia so far we've been hunting down the Indian Restaurants (there is a large Indian community here), but all of the local food is either meat or fish based. We did try a local delicacy this morning though, Roti Cani (pronounced like Chennai), a pancake-cum Paratha filled with cheese and onions (or indeed anything you like), and served with a Dhal. Just as Kanan was about to tuck in, a kind Indian lady stopped her and said that the spicy stuff in the Dhal was made of fish. I think it's going to be that kind of luck we'll need as hard and fast veggies for the rest of the trip.
Love to everyone
Jo and Kaa X
PS After visiting a Kite museum, Kanan was sulking that she'd never flown one. So I bought her a 50p kite and she proved a natural at that too (see pics).