Last known location: London, England

Prayers and Pork Buns

From Kuala Lumpur we took the short bus journey south to Melaka, a port town and another colonial outpost from days gone by. At various times it has been ruled by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British all of whom left their mark, and, if you believe the museums, did their best to run the place into the ground in different ways!

Like everywhere in Malaysia the town was a mixture of Chinese, Tamils, and Malays with some Portuguese thrown in, along with Chittys and Peranakan (varying mixtures of the above!). We were staying in Chinatown, but on a short walk down our street we heard the bells from the church, passed the Chinese temple which seemed to be burning a huge crate of incense all at once, as well as a Hindu temple and a Mosque blasting out the call for prayer. In short, quite a mixture of cultures!

We arrived on a Sunday, in time for the weekend night market on Jonker Street, packed with food and souvenir stalls, as well as Chinese tourists. We managed to try all sorts of foods, including Taiwanese sausage, Popiah (basically a giant spring roll), Dim Sum, and Malay chicken curry along the way, so we didn’t go home hungry!

The next morning we got up relatively early to try and avoid the hottest part of the day. Gem had been up a while though having been woken by the call toprayer at 6am, which was so loud it sounded like the man was standing on the roof! I managed to sleep through it which was a pleasing role reversal! After a tasty breakfast of Chinese tea, dim sum and delicious pork buns (which I’d happily have every day!) we explored the town’s colonial relics. There was Christ Church, built by the Dutch in 1753, next door to the Stadhuys which was even older and had housed the Dutch governors. It was recently converted into an interesting museum about the different communities living in the town through the centuries.

Up on the hill overlooking the town were the ruins of St Paul’s church, built in the 16th century by the Portuguese but eventually converted into a gunpowder store by the British – much more practical! Our last stop was the Maritime museum, housed in a replica of an old galleon.

After a break to cool off we relaxed at a bar by the river with a couple of cold beers (cold but expensive due to the high tax on alcohol in Malaysia), and watched the sun set. Our final stop was Little India where we had a tasty South Indian dinner. We had no idea what we ordered but ended up with a huge selection of vegetables, soup, chicken, mutton, rice and bread, all served on a banana leaf and a bargain at £5 for the two of us!

The next morning it was back to bus station for the trip down to Singapore, the 12th country so far and our last in Asia.

1 Comment:
  1. Rose 3 Mar, 2011

    Melaka looks a really pretty and very interesting place. You look very proficient with those chopsticks Gem!!

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