Another UNESCO site

Trip Start Sep 19, 2012
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Home Sweet Home

Flag of Malaysia  , Melaka State,
Saturday, April 6, 2013

After the pleasant culture shock of Singapore I head off to Malaysia. Sounds like an easy bus ride so should be there in a few hours. Super luxurious multi coloured bus. Comfortable reclining seats with built in massage machines. This is going to be great. When I passed through Immigration I was asked where my 'card' was. I had no idea what they were talking about and just pushed my passport at them. She kept asking me for my card so I made an attempt to look through my bag and told her I don't have one. With that she closed up her booth and told me to follow her. I could see all the people in the queue behind me did not look happy. Off we marched to another office where a couple of security guys were checking passports and questioning other people. Once again I noticed that fortunately non of them were wearing rubber gloves and I couldn't see any jars of vasaline. To cut a long story short I was supposed to have kept a stub that I filled out on arrival to hand in when I left Singapore. No one told me about this at the time. Anyway they were quite pleasant and I understand this happens on a regular basis. By the time I had filled out a new form and this was checked and my passport stamped I was last one back on the bus. Again lots of disgruntled faces. I just smiled. From there, there were no more problems getting into Malaysia. 

I had met a Polish couple in the last hostel who said that Malacca was an interesting place, so this is where I was headed. When I travel I do not have any Lonely Planets or Rough Guide books. I use an APP called TripAdvisor that has recommendations from other travelers or ask people I meet where they have been and get information this way. The reason for this is that I see so many people carrying these big thick travel books and follow all the recommendations in them. I think this takes out the surprise element and adventure of travel because everyone is going to the same places. I am sure this is a good idea if you are on a short trip. I generally get off the train or bus and then ask friendly looking locals where to go and what bus  etc I should take. Once I get to an area that I want to be in , I then just walk up and down looking at various places to stay. Check out the rooms and If I like it, that's me sorted. This has worked well and so far and in my travels so far have only had a few grim experiences. But I check out in the morning and find something new or move on to the next destination.

So arriving in Malacca I had no plans at all. As I got off the bus I was approached by a tout for a hostel, which looked OK so he arranged for the owner to come and pick me up.. Turned out to be great little place within walking distance off all the sights. The only thing I vaguely remembered was that I had been taught something about the Straights Of Malacca and it had something to do with pirates. Turns out that this used be one of the main shipping ports of old and was inhabited by the Malay, the Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and Finally the British who ran it into the ground and then left. Apparently in its day was they hub of all shipping and could accommodate about 2000 ships at a time. So, with such a rich culture this ancient port has an eclectic mix of people and architecture and some awesome history. Just about every explorer and sailor came here at some time or other. From Marco Polo, Magellan, Capt. Cook, Vasco da Gama among many others. Subsequently, it is now a UNESCO site and yet another one I can tick off my list. I don't really look at these sites as a 'must do' but seem to just find them. This does make for interesting travels. The old part of town consists of the usual Chinatown and lots of old warehouses and buildings featuring all the previous conquerors styles. On weekends there is a hectic street market with some great food stalls, interesting antiques shops, stalls selling cheap Chinese goods and then a great big Hard Rock Cafe which looks so out place. Some good museums especially one that is inside a replica of an old Portuguese ship. there are plenty of Tri Shaws for hire and these are covered in gaudy plastic flowers and at night they are lit up. Each one has a huge sound system and Gangnam Style still rules in Malaysia. Every second bar advertises karaoke and apparently it is taken very seriously.

There are also some huge big malls with anything you would find in any western mall except that every second stall is selling cell phones or accessories. The competition is fierce and prices are dirt cheap. However I think a lot of them are cheap Chinese models. There was six McDonald's outlets in one mall alone. I even found a Nandos'!! The street food is amazing and there is a little place around the corner. It consists of a stand with a large selection of meats (pork, duck,chicken and things I didn't recognise),various sausages, mushrooms and vegetables all on skewers. You select what you want, hand it over to the old lady who bastes it with oil and spices and then she hands it over to the guys at the braais and it is all cooked for you and brought to your table on the pavement. Really tasty and cheap. 

After 3 days here I have decided to move on and the next destination is Kuala Lumpur.
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Comments

GabonPhil on

Thanks for sharing Gus. Malaysian peninsular is yet another great part of the world.

Do hope you are working toward Thailand, one of our favourite destinations.

Saw Lu socially last night and this morning she escorted us around Plaine.

Phil.

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