Tag Archives: Melaka

Melaka, Malaysia to Singapore

8/10 – Health update: remember the leech bites from Taman Negara?  Well, mine healed up nicely, but Jim’s got infected (probably from wading in the river to buy our bus tickets), and really started to hurt.  The bite area actually turned black and looked pretty awful, so before leaving Melaka, we decided to see a doctor and get some antibiotics.  We tried buying antibiotics at the pharmacy, but unlike some countries we’ve been to, you need a prescription here.  We found a clinic nearby, and the doctor saw Jim within 15 minutes.  He cleaned the wound, dug out the necrotic skin, applied antibiotic ointment and a bandaid, then gave us 5 days of antibiotic pills, disinfectant, a tube of ointment and a half dozen band aids.  We were on our way in 20 minutes, for about $25.00.  Americans really appreciate foreign health care!

8/11 – Took a cab across town to get back to the bus station.  We had been assured by a travel agent in Melaka that multiple bus companies ran buses to Singapore every hour, and there was no reason to purchase tickets in advance.  Well, that turns out not to be true after a holiday weekend.  We got to the station at 9am, but all the morning buses were booked, so we had to hang around the station until 1pm. Not so bad, and we had a nice lunch before we left.

There were signs at every seat on the bus that under no circumstances would the bus wait at Customs for more than 20 minutes. At the border, we hightailed it off the bus and jogged to the immigration line, then back outside to jump on the bus. We made it, but others didn’t, and the bus pulled away leaving people behind – Singapore doesn’t fool around!

The bus stopped on a busy street and let us out at the city center, just five minutes from our hotel. Singapore is a big, modern city, with the same cultures as Malaysia (it used to be part of Malaysia until it became independent in 1965). This time our hotel was in the Muslim area. There were so many shops with pretty headscarves, pins to keep the scarves in place, and colorful long dresses on display, I started looking at them longingly. I think I’ve been wearing my two tee shirts too long!

8/12 – We spent the day just walking around town. Lodging in Singapore is expensive, although the food is reasonable and delicious, and we will only be here a few days. Everything is very clean, and there are lots of rules here. This is the place where a person can get caned for spitting on the street. Don’t even think about stepping off the curb before the light turns green!image

We walked through a busy market.

We got some lunch. So did some pigeons that flew in.image

There was an employment agency on the corner near our hotel. Every time we walked by, we saw a row of identically dressed maids waiting for an assignment. We don’t know if the same women were there all day, or if there was a succession of them. Glad I’m not a maid…image

Tomorrow we will visit the Botanic Gardens!

Sunday in Melaka, Malaysia

8/9 – While we wandered around town yesterday, we came upon Christ Church, an historic building built by the Dutch, with an active Anglican congregation.   

 
They hold services for the English, Chinese, Malay and Indian (Tamil) populations that live here.

 
We decided to attend the English service a at 8:30.  The church isn’t fancy inside. 

 

We were greeted by several parishioners and a priest on our way in.  The priest asked about our home parish, and gave us a heads-up on how they do Communion (they intinct – dip the host into the wine).  Although there were lots of hymns I recognized in the English/Malay hymnal, the selections for this Sunday were all new tunes for me.  Just like at home, we had to juggle the hymnal, the prayer book and the week’s bulletin.  The teens gave us a rousing praise service on guitar and drums, with Amazing Grace sung to a different tune.  The homily was given by the bishop.  Then Amazing Grace again, the time to the familiar tune, but with a verse I was unfamiliar with, from the original 1779 version: “The earth will soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine, but God who called me here below, will be forever mine.”  In good Anglican fashion, we were invited to the coffee hour after the service.  Nice people of Malaysia!

There is also an RC church here: 

   
And the ruins of St Paul’s on the hill, which was built by the Portugese in the 1500s, repurposed as a Protestant church and then a fort by the Dutch: 

    

A little girl trying on the angel’s wings from a burial stone:

 
After the Dutch, Malaya (as it was known) was taken over by the British, then by the Japanese during WWII, then the British again, before gaining freedom and becoming Malaysia.  So much history here!

On our way to church, we passed a long queue of folks standing in front of a restaurant that wasn’t even open yet.  We had seen the same long queue yesterday.  We stopped and asked what the attraction was, and we were told that this place served the best chicken with rice balls in town – a “must have” for visitors to Melaka.  

 
Well, here you go – chicken with rice balls!  This dish is sold all over town, so I asked what makes this restaurant so special.  The answer: other Chinese posted on social media that this is the best place, so this is where the Chinese will queue up to go.  It’s a Chinese thing…  

We walked down to the river, where boat rides are given: 

  There’s an old water wheel here:
 
…and a reconstruction of a Portugese galleon.   

 
There are reminders of WWII here: 

    
 
…and old trains and fire trucks: 

    
 
What a fun weekend!  If you get a chance to come here, we recommend the oyster omelet, and a Malay dish called Nyonya Laksa (below), after you’ve had the chicken rice balls, of course!

  

 

Kuala Tahan back to Kuala Lumpur, to Melaka, Malaysia

8/5 – Back to KL by bus today. Thank goodness we don’t have to go back by slow boat! Had lunch in the little town of Jerantut while waiting for the next bus.   

  Magazine rack in Jerantut.  Is this the Malaysian equivalent of Cosmo?

 
We were unable to book the nice hotel with the pool that we stayed in before our trek, but booked a very nice older hotel in Chinatown, the Mandarin Pacific, and the bus dropped us right at the door!  

When we were in KL a week ago, we ordered new glasses – both of ours were scratched, broken and superglued after fourteen months on the road.  We each got progressive bifocals, and a second pair of sunglasses for about a third of what we would pay back home.  Today we went to pick up our new glasses – what do you think? 

 
We’re singing, “I can see clearly now…”

8/8 – Time to bid farewell to KL.   

  They’ve got one of the nicest bus stations we’ve seen – sparkly clean and modern, and everyone queues politely.

When we were on our way to Georgetown several weeks ago, I sat next to a young man on Bus 101 who suggested that we stop in Melaka (Malay spelling = Melaka, English spelling = Malacca) on our way to Singapore. We’d never heard of Melaka, but it looked to be about halfway between KL and Singapore on the map, and the young man said there was lots to do there. So, as we have been doing throughout this trip, we modified our itinerary to spend four days in Melaka.  Jim had a hard time finding a hotel room, but we didn’t stop to wonder why. Turns out that August 9th is the 50th anniversary celebration of Singapore’s independence from Malaysia, and this was a four day weekend where Singapore folks come to holiday in Melaka. We picked the busiest weekend of the summer to visit!  Here is Dutch Square, at the center of town:

   

How do you get around Melaka? Lots of tricycle cabs decorated with Frozen characters, blaring out Let It Go as they roll down the street! 

   
Or maybe a horse-drawn buggy? 

 
There are lots of photo opportunities for tourists. Here’s a Malaysian Blue Man:

  

This guy said he was Captain Malaysia: 

   

  

Jim is bullish on America.

 
The main area is Jonker Street, where there are lots of things to buy, and lots of things to eat.  Below is the Malaysian equivalent of a Trader Joe’s, with folks lined up to purchase authentic Chinese (we think) delicacies. 

There’s a Hard Rock here.
   Texas isn’t the only place with this slogan: 

 

More from Melaka tomorrow.