Sparky Travels

November 3, 2009

Melaka

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — admin @ 6:04 pm

After the rare event of me being awake in time for the free breakfast provided at the hostel I made my way out of Singapore. I took the local bus to Johor Bahru and then a coach from there to Melaka. Another bus from the out-of-town bus station to the centre and a 10 minute mapless stroll using hastily jotted down directions saw me reach my accomodation for the next two nights: Ringo’s Foyer GH. It has a reputation for having a friendly owner and he didn’t disappoint. After 20 mins I had advice for Melaka & China and then he gave me a lift in the rain to a local restaurant for dinner. It was a good thing too since the hostel was pretty empty (1 old guy, 2 Singaporeans) and I didn’t fancy eating alone.

Today (4th Nov) I got up and headed out to explore Melaka. I strolled around town to get my bearings and look at the various sights: Portuguese fort, chinatown, St Paul’s Church etc. Then I went in to a few of the dozens of museums in this Unesco World Heritage City. Unfortunately I chose the most boring ones. The Governer’s Museum was ten rooms about how great some middle ranking official was and what stuff he owned. It wasn’t worth taking my shoes off for. I thought the Literature Museum might be better but it was dedicated to the giants of Malaysian writing,including some schoolteachers and poets. There were english translations of the information but no translations of their works so I don’t know if they were any good. I skipped the Museum of Governance for obvious reasons and gave museum-ing one last shot. The Maritime Museum is situated inside a replica 16th century Portuguese Man-Of-War and describes the rise and fall of Melaka as a trading port. It was an interesting place with many maps, models and paintings and it made up for the disappointment of the previous two museums.

Maritime Museum

Maritime Museum

After a drink I went on the Melaka River Cruise which sails - unsurprisingly - along the Melaka River. These events were bookended by some tasty ‘chicken with rice balls’ (a common affliction I’ve been told) at local restaurants. Later, the guesthouse owner took two other guests and me out to a foodcourt for dinner and helpfully explained some of the dishes available.

Melaka reminds me a lot of an English seaside town which has received tourism development money. Lots of museums about narrow subjects of interest, uneven redevelopment and a lot of harking back to the ‘good old days’. It could probably fill another day’s touristing but I need to get to KL tomorrow to get my Chinese visa. On the subject of which, I also booked my flight to Chengdu today. It was only £80 but it had risen £15 in the last 24 hours so I thought I better get in quick. The flight is for the morning of the Tuesday the 10th of November so time is running out to get my visa.

St Pauls Church

St Paul's Church

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