Dogs, DJs and disappointments
Trip Start Jan 27, 2006
26Trip End Sep 09, 2006
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Melaka is a sleepy coastal town with a long and varied history, most of which seems to be dominated by invading Europeans. The Portuguese, Dutch, French and -inevitably - British have all had a part to play in the history of this little port, at one time more important than Singapore. However, Stamford Raffles put paid to that, sorting out Singapore as the premier trading city in the South China Sea and relegating Melaka to also-ran status.
Thanks Stamford. You did it a favour. It is sleepy in the most charming way. Not a lot appears to happens in Melaka - at least not a lot happened whilst we were there. Most days were a snails pace mix of cafes and needless trinket shopping (Phil bought a catapult, for Gods sake)along Jonkers Street, the main throughfare in Chinatown
Whilst pottering about, we noticed that we are now living through the Chinese year of the Dog. You'll understand what we mean by the photos. Sam is pointing to a Jack Russell. I am pointing to a Red Setter. If anyone has played the "If I was a dog, what sort of dog would I be" game you can guess - or will know - why. One of us is high energy, always working, nose into everything and liable to give you the occasional pointless nip; the other is a bit stupid, eager to please and likely to run headlong into closed patio doors whilst bounding towards the garden.
Three bits of excitement (if you can call them that) kept us from becoming totally horizontal.
We had haircuts. Not very exciting for you, but Sams' ears have seen the light for the first time in years. We'll call her Shawn.
We watched outdoor Karaoke. Every night on a permanent stage at the end of Jonkers Street aging Melakans would sit in rows and patiently watch and wait their turn to stand up and howl at the moon. Some were in tune. All of them were deadly serious
We spent the day at the Hotlink Hitz.fm Roadshow ! Hitz.fm is the LEADING ENGLISH LANGUAGE RADIO STATION IN MALAYSIA and had chsoen lucky Melaka to celebrate its 9th BIGGST BIRTHDAY EVER. Melaka, you Rock !!!
BRILLIANT !! A host of DJs (do all DJs go to the same school ? The guys were either really wacky or tooooo cooooool and the one girl - Serena C - was slightly diffident in that Jo Whiley sort of way)were joined on stages by the following :-
Some bad ass rappers
a minor TV celebrity-cum-rapper-cum-Bhangra bloke
a hopeless Canadian duo who were a teeth-clenching mix of crap Boyzone and Fleetwood Mac
a couple of rap-metal bands (one with the biggest selling single on the Hitz.fm chart in 2004 no less)
a bloke who did 'his updated' version of Stevie Wonder classics in jeans and a jacket with the sleeves rolled up a la Nick Kershaw !
It was fantastic fun. We spent hours there. And a day later, we saw Serena C on telly. We rock !
After that, we needed to calm down a bit, so headed for Georgetown on the island of Penang. We had high hopes and thought we might chill out a bit more (!!) for a weeks or so as most of the guidebooks had recommended the beauty of the place, the intriguing history, the great food.
Maybe its was the heat; maybe it was the 8 hour journey; maybe it was our hotel with 'faded grandeur' and a brothel attached ! But we didn't get it.
We toured the town in search of the great food and ended up hot, bothered and tired in the 'Soho Free House' - and English-theme bar with constant football, hot and cold running tattoos, and the best Chicken and Leek pie (with chips and peas) this side of the Horseshoe in Tatenhill. Yes, we succombed. And it was LUVVERLY.
We caught a bus to Penang Hill, which was nice.
We changed hotel. You would, wouldn't you ? Our new room had quieter neighbours, and a sea view. It overlooked the regal Eastern and Oriental Hotel, the sister of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Unfortunately, your eye couldn't help but be drawn away from the elegant white facade of the hotel to the luminous orange sign advertising 'Slippery Signoritas Spanish Bar and Nightclub' just to the left. And that sort of summed up our experience of Georgetown.
So, we buggered off. Two flights later, we were in Borneo on the hunt for Orangutans. No kitten heels required. Oh, how adventurous we are ......