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Published: February 21st 2009
(Day 320 on the road)
I feel great, but unfortunately I don't look the part. In fact, I think I look a bit like a drug junkie at the moment. People in the street stare at me, and I am pretty sure it is not because of my good looks (for the time being): On my forehead, my nose, my neck and my arms, the skin is peeling off from a sunburn I caught whilst on Pulau Tioman last week. Around my mouth, there are an incredible amount of heat blisters, also from the sunburn. On my left arm and my left leg, there are big red rashes where I was stung by stingray whilst diving. Further, on my left bum (luckily not many people get to see this) there is a massive blue spot from the time when I fell off a chair a few days ago, landing hard on my behind. And lastly, but really well hidden, a travel companion told me that she found worms on (or rather: in) her, so I am also taking anti-worm medication to get rid of these unwanted guests. All in all, a nice package - and you won't be seeing a picture of
me for a while.
And all of this is happening in beautiful, colonial Melaka on Malaysia's west coast. However, so far I have been unable to take any pictures, as my camera has decided to die on me. She had been playing up a bit over the last months, and I guess now it was time for her to give up altogether. So I spent a frustrating day camera-shopping, with very limited selection and high prices. I settled for the smallest camera at an affordable price; but even with that, it ate nearly half of my monthly budget. Darn.
With the new camera ready to go, I was ready to explore the city in earnest. Melaka used to be the playground of firstly the Portuguese, then the Dutch and later the British. They all left their distinctive mark on the city, most notably seen in the city centre with its pretty colonial architecture. Little bears witness however to the hardship of the local population under the foreign occupation at the time (the Portuguese for instance used forced labour to erect many of their new buildings, including the famous A Famosa fort).
One thing I again noticed here
in Melaka and which as already puzzled me in Kuala Lumpur a few weeks ago, is how some of the Muslim women dress here. Picture this: High heels, tight jeans, tight top, painted toe and hand nails, red lipstick and generally a lot of make-up - and headscarf! From my ignorant understanding of wearing a headscarf, the whole point was to hide the woman so men would not look at her. So wearing heels, tight clothes and makeup sort of defeats the whole purpose. Weird.
Next stop: Port Dickson (Malaysia).
To view my photos, have a look at pictures.beiske.com
. And to read the full account of my journey, have a look at the complete book about my trip at Amazon
(and most other online book shops).
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