Edit Blog Post
Published: April 20th 2010
Since I can remember, my entire vision of Malaysia was built on a mind’s eye image of Melaka, oddly enough. As a result, my expectations of the city were revving on the red side of the expectations temperature gauge which is often a little dangerous but what could possibly be disappointing about a Colonially marked Muslim Indo-china symbiosis?
After our 100th over night, just better than bearable bus ride, the bus station appear around 7am, marking our much anticipated arrival in Melaka. Admittedly the general mood of our pair was erring on the side of irritably exhausted and we still had to negotiate our way to the other side of the city so we did what sensibly exhausted travellers do and stopped for a coffee break before having to muster the energy to haggling with a cab driver. 1 cup of tea, 1 cup of coffee and an egg Mc muffin between us provided only just enough sense of humour fuel to get us across the parking lot, into a cab, out at the other side (for 10 Riels a piece), up two different flights of steps and finally into the Travellers Lodge. In hind sight there was, thankfully, only
an air-conditioned room available so for a slightly inflated price we handed over our dwindling cash and crashed for a good couple of hours, admittedly a very welcome escape from the scorching outside temperatures and mad fatigue!
Slightly rejuvenate after our power napping, we set out to get a sense of what Melaka was all about.
Admittedly the Melaka Raya side of town bodes nothing more than regular looking buildings and a massive shopping centre complex and could, for all intents and purposes, be a city anywhere in the world but China Town and little India most certainly offered slightly more in the way of Malaysian charisma.
We spent the latter part of our first day in Melaka wondering around Red Square and its adjacent market after which we ventured into the depths of China town to check out all the quaint stores that line the narrow streets. While our inner desires to explore were egging us to spend the night on the town to check out the city by might our weary bodies were urging us to get some food and go to bed so we did just that, found a bite to eat and then
retreated to our cool room for an early night.
Sufficiently rested we awoke and set the morning aside to chill, out check out St Paul’s church, do some shopping and just take our second and last day as easy as possible. Admittedly there is not that much to see in Melaka so we did what girls do best once the sights are exhausted and we meandered in and out of the shops and tried very hard not to spend money because we still had Singapore to go and our budgets had already been exceeded!
As evening started to encroach we thought it best to head to the bus terminal to check out what time our bus to Singapore would depart and on our return we took a nice long stroll through little India, along the beautifully lit river and headed in the direction of the national dish of Melaka, Baba Nonya, because you just can’t go to Melaka and not sample some, it is pretty tasty!
From Baba Nonya to Bed and up early the next morning for some last minute shopping, a little snacky lunch and then onwards to catch the city bus which would take
The Old Ship
And no it isn't one of Jan Van Riebeecks!
us to the main terminal so that we could await our bus to Singapore.
Now it’s safe to say that catching a bus in Melaka Raya is about as tricky as catching a commuter taxi in Johannesburg, in fact virtually imposable is perhaps a better description. We has hauled our mad amounts of luggage in the muggy heat down the main drag and planted ourselves in a spot where the bus had stopped the previous day, logic would suggest that this was a bus stop but to our dismay the bus had decided that on this particular afternoon it would drive strait past us, even after we wildly gesticulated, and it rather stopped some 100m up the road from where we were positioned. Naturally 5ft and 18kgs of luggage aren’t conducive to a 100m sprint to catch the bus so we settled for the fact that we would have to lug our bags some meters further up the road and await the next bus.
I swear I am waited ages for, came hurtling down the road and yet again failed to stop at the spot where we were and where the previous bus of the same number had
stopped. It was becoming a joke as we watched the bus pass us without so much as a glance, take the slight corner and stop, this time, some 400m up the road from where we were standing. All I can say is thank heaven we had allowed ourselves so much extra time to get to the bus stop because it seemed the city bus was determined to play a game of cat and mouse with us. Or should I say, in this case, a game of bus and tourist commuter.
Some sweaty minutes late we reached the third potential “bus stop” only to be told by the group of passages waiting that in fact we were on the totally wrong side of the road in the first place and that we in fact needed to cross the road, catch the bus that was now waiting (incidentally looking to go in the completely opposite direction). While reluctant we figured we had no option but to trust the locals and so we navigated our way across the busy street and hopped onto the rusty number 17 town bus, handed over a little money to the conductor and once the bus was
full we pulled away from the curb and hurtled down the street watching the conductor play super man out of the open door as we careened down the street only to do a u-turn some kilometres down the very main road we had been waiting a long. To add insult to injury we passed the very spot we had been waiting at in the very beginning and yet again stopped meters from that very spot to pick up passengers. It was truthfully one of the most amusing and remarkably doff systems that I have ever witnessed. Perhaps there is method in their madness or perhaps they just enjoy branding the invisible words sucker on the foreheads of unsuspecting tourists, I have no idea, but what I can say is that the entire experience was rather amusing and please, if you are lacking in personality or energy, rather pay the extra cash for a cab it could save you a good 2 hours!
45 white knuckle, sweaty minutes later we arrived at the main bust terminal with just enough time to grab a couple of snacks before we climbed aboard or slightly more luxurious bus that would soon have us
destined for Singapore.
Thanks Malaka, the hospitality was great, the food wasn’t bad, the rickshaws were awesome and by all accounts our couple of days in your midst were pleasant. Malaka is an interesting spot but best enjoyed while passing through. I would be hesitant to suggest you spend any extended period of time here to be honest, in fact if you are looking for what I would translate as my mind’s eye image of Melaka I would suggest you visit during a festival or do yourself a favour and come to South Africa for the Cape Minstrel carnival.
Tot: 0.401s; Tpl: 0.062s; cc: 15; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0165s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb