Published: November 10th 2003November 10th 2003
I left Singapore on the Friday for Melaka, a large town around four hours away by bus. Melaka, although at first seems to be really busy, it isn't. It's just the badly laid out roads and the poor driving that gives it the impression of activity. I travelled to Melaka with two Dutch guys and a girl, Erwin, Lucien and Carolyn all of whom I met in my hostel in Singapore. Erwin and Lucien were both training to be English teachers, and so spoke perfect English. This was great as it meant that I didn't have to talk 'posh' all of the time. It's amazing how much trouble people had with my slight Norfolk accent - at home I didn't consider myself to have one.
Around Melaka there were lots of sights to visit, mostly museums and monuments of particular importance to Malayia and Melaka's history. One exhibition in the People's Museum was on 'Enduring Beauty' - and showed the lengths to which people in various places and cultures will go to in order to be considered beautiful. It was really interesting - I even learnt that the women who wear rings around their necks in order to give them long necks aren't long necked! Their collar bone moves down their spine!
I also visited a ruined Dutch church, St. Pauls, which overlooked the town on a large hill. On leaving, due to blackening skies I stopped to take a few photos, and was asked to take one for a Japanese lady and her family. As thy were moving down the hill, a massive boom caused everyone to cover their ears, to which the Japanese boy in front of me ran down the entire hill screaming. As I passed ( quickly - I wasn't gonna take any chances) the Japanese lady stopped me and told me that the lightening had hit the tree just 10 metres from where we had been standing. Godverdomme!! ( Dutch for 'God Damn!')
Melaka like many other Malay towns at the moment is having a great deal of money spent on building, renovating and improving buildings. This made a large proportion of the town seem like a builing site, but I suppose it's the price you have to pay in order for the sewage not to be pumped directly into the river. Other than that, the town was nice, quiet yet with a reaonable night life and plenty of good food. Yet, there are only so many museums you can visit in the time you are there before you start spouting facts about long necked women who are really short spined.