Me lika Melaka

Trip Start Aug 21, 2003
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Friday, August 29, 2003

We arrived in Melaka yesterday morning from Singapore. Immediately off the bus accosted by "touts", the people that try and push things on tourists, e.g. hotels, restaurants, goods. However we new exactly where we were staying and so we headed to Tony's Guesthouse.`Which turns out to be the first shithole guesthouse of our trip. The first sign of this was an incident that Jack witnessed involving the resident street sitter across the way. This guy sits there all day, and Jack was out on the balcony and saw another guy on a motorbike ride up, with one arm behind him in his pants, stop in front of the street sitter and pulls out a machete and starts hacking at the guy. Well, that last part didn't really happen, but a confrontation did (yes with a machete). Other than that the guesthouse is alright except we couldn't sleep a wink last night - those Muslims get rowdy at night as did the bedbugs! But then the monsoon came and washed everyone away.

Melaka is hot, real hot, but the locals say that it is cool right now, for which we are lucky because if it were any hotter we might drown in our own sweat. The city is on the southwestern coast of Malaysia, and was once a booming port town, belonging to the Dutch and then Portuguese so it has some European flavor and heaps of history. Now however the pace has slowed down and it is composed mostly of little shops and restaurants, and people living their lives at a semi-stagnant speed. The people are the best part of Melaka - whenever we pull out a map and look lost, there is a little helper elf eager to lend us a hand. Hello! Where you going? The children yell hello, the only English word they know, and wave whenever we pass by in hope of a reaction. Many people ask us our country of origin and are excited when we say the USA. Never once have we received a bad reception.

We miss our cats, Hi Squirrel and Monk! There are cats and dogs here, but no pets! They all seem to be strays. All the cats have half-tails (weird!) and the dogs have mange.

Today before breakfast we came across a pre-National Day parade, basically a procession of schoolchildren, college students and military people. Women in camouflage and headscarves. Children paratroopers and cops on the sidelines with M-16s and grenade lauchers. For breakfast we had some roti cenai (thanks to my old friend Surin in Bosotn this is one thing I know how to order!) and nasi lemak, which is coconut rice, spicy sause, peanuts, greens, a fried egg, and dried fish. This was really tasty but we didn't like the little crunchy fish as they still had heads and eyes. All this and 2 coffees for 5 Ringetts, which is about $1.50 US! Then on our after breakfast walk we had some cendol - coconut milk with shaved ice, kidney (?) beans, and little squiggly green gummies. Very yummy. You can tell we like the food!

Now we are off to have dinner with some Canadians. Ciao!
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