Arrival in Malaka

Thursday, December 15, 2016
Malacca, Melaka, Malaysia

Transfer by local bus to the old port town of Melaka (approximately 3 hours) . Back when Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore left little impression on a map, the historic city of Melaka was the most important trading port in Malaysia, attracting Chinese, Indian, Dutch, Portuguese and British traders. These visitors sought wealth or an opportunity to control the Straits of Malacca, a vital trading route between the Indian and Pacific oceans, which lead to 400 years of colonial rule. Today, Melaka's wealth of historical sites remind visitors of times gone by, and its multicultural past is revealed in its distinctive cuisine. Like Georgetown, the Melaka was declared a World Heritage Site in 2008, and like its Penang sibling, the city is a harmonic mix of cultures, a place where colonial buildings sit next to Chinese shophouses and temples.

I woke up around 7:20 am but wasn't sure of the time since my phone was dead. I took the room key and my computer and went down to the lobby where I was able to get wi-fi and I checked my new United flight info to pass on to Carolyn and Intrepid. I accepted Alex and Tai as my new facebook friends and updated my blog with my notepad entries. I was just about finished with that when Alex popped up with her hand out for the room key. She very kindly agreed to come back downstairs and have a cup of tea while I had my breakfast. She had already been to breakfast. We were later joined by Simon and Tai. Alex and Simon were going walking with Shane at 9 am, but I passed because I didn't want to get lost (not that I mistrusted them) before we were supposed to leave at 11 am . Now I have pretty much packed and hope to upload photos before we leave to go to the bus station for a bus to Melaka.

At 11 am we walked down to the green hotel AnCasa - the more upscale one - where the shuttle bus to the bus station was standing. We stood in line as people got on. A young man was looking for change so he could board the bus and Shane offered but Tai changed his bill for him. Then we all piled on with our luggage. There was a space for luggage since it was a shutle. We sat in seats for the 20 minute ride to the bus station that is located outside the city just like an airport, and for the same reasons, according to Tai.

Actually the bus station was much more like an airport than bus stations in the US. It had ticket windows, screens with departures listed, gates and a waiting area with lots of shops and chain restaurants. While we waited for an hour, some of us went off to get some lunch. Margaret, Alex, Simon and I ended up at the Subway shop . There was a Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurant right across from our seats. Even though this chain was founded by a country singer from the US and a former CEO of KFC, I had never heard of it. I passed out my bananas and rambutan but didn't have than many takers: Frank took a banana and so did Simon. Shane took a couple of rambutans. Close to the boarding time, we went and waited in the boarding area and then went outside to the bus when they opened the "gate" door.

The ride was uneventful - I slept a little - I saw lots of palm oil plantations. I didn't take any photos from the bus. We may have had a bathroom stop
with more totally dangerous toilets awash in water and slippery ceramic
tiles. We didn't have to stop for lunch since we got our lunches at
the bus station. We arrived on the outskirts of Melaka and began to see houses, apartments, commercial buildings. It looked more appealing than KL for some reason. I am not sure where the bus station is here in Melaka, but we got picked up in a minivan and driven to our hotel - the Hotel Mimosa. We liked
it a lot better than the one in KL but the air-conditioning was still
quite cold. We had a view of the mosque and minaret across the street
from us although I never noticed it once we walked out.

Then we had 10 minutes to get our laundry ready. I got my camera and other stuff ready for our rickshaw ride at the same time but needed an extra minute to get downstairs . I think that was when I locked our room door leaving the room key card inside. Most of us trooped down to the laundry with Tai and paid for our laundry. We then gave our tickets to Tai who will pick the clothes up for us tomorrow on our free day so we don't have to come back.

We walked back to the hotel. At 4:30 the trishaw or rickshaw drivers pulled into the hotel
parking lot. Margaret wanted the green decorated rickshaw. I think
Tai-Rabbit went for one decorated with rabbits and Alex and I got the
one with Pikachu from Pokemon. The driver Chris turned out to be our
tour guide as well. But before that we met an elderly gentleman who introduced himself as Kama Pasha whose ancestors
came from Turkey. He does not know any Turkish at this time. He told us
he was in the Royal Navy from 1961 to 1982 and worked on getting rid of
mines. His brother went into the military too and ended up a Major
General. Kama asked each one of us where we were from and wasn't
satisfied with the country. He wanted to know the state or province or
whatever because he seemed to know about every place. He mentioned he
lived on some island between Vancouver and Vancouver Island that had
artists and craftspeople. I don't know what he was doing there. He was born in 1943
when the Japanese controlled Malaysia and he is still able to ride people around in a rickshaw. I was impressed.

Our rickshaw driver was Chris and he was our local guide . We saw the Melaka River and the Ghost Bridge where the Japanese killed the people who were against them when Japan took over Malaysia because of the rubber and other natural resources. We also saw Chinatown and the oldest Chinese temple, a Buddhist temple dedicated to a woman monk. We also went past the Hindu temple and St Francis Xavier Catholic Church. I am trying to remember where else we went - oh yes, the Malaysian houses and another large Chinese temple that was not Buddhist. At the end of the tour we ate at a very nice place called Geographers and the
star performer was testing the sound system. We didn't stay for his
performance. We walked back to the hotel with Tai while Shane and Simon went out for some drinks. Oh, I forgot - we saw the house that Raffles built on the riverside by the Ghost Bridge.

After returning to our room, I uploaded today's Nikon photos and am writing up this blog. I may try to go through my previously uploaded but not seen photos before I go to bed.

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