(written by Dave)
It was raining very hard this morning when we got up, complete with flashes of thunder and lightning. A nice day to not be riding. It was raining so hard that we had trouble getting out to brekkie without getting completely soaked. We’ve not commented on the footpaths here in Malaysia yet and they are worth a mention. In summary, there are none. You are basically at the mercy of the building owner. The buildings in all the cities and larger towns come up to the front edge of the road and touch each other on the sides. If you are lucky, the building owner has left the porch area clear so that you can walk building to building without stepping out into the street (much less out into the rain). The transition between each porch usually has a step and many porches have various bits from the ground floor shop pushing out onto the porch. There is also the odd building where they have completely boxed in the porch. Every time you have to step off the porch, you are out in the traffic and getting wet if it is raining. This morning it took quite a few dashing through open gaps in the rain and traffic to get to our Indian restaurant for brekkie. Brekkie was good and we were hungry when we got there. We lingered long enough afterwards for the rain to die down.
On the way back to the guesthouse we stopped at the local market (Gon Gong Hoe market). This was a proper Malay market with the normal vegetables but also plenty of local meat – again out in the open with no refrigeration. It was hard to look at some of the meat stalls, much less take photos. Apologies to the squeamish over the chicken photo below. We made it worth a visit, picking up all the ingredients for eggs on toast tomorrow so we get to cook brekkie in for a change.
It was still trying to rain when we returned to the guesthouse so we did some route research and played with Sarah (the 4 year old daughter of the owners). She is pretty cute and very clever. She speaks Malay and Chinese as first languages, but is also learning French and English. I made play-dough cakes with her while Nancy supervised.
We headed back to Chinatown for lunch. The Melaka speciality is supposed to be chicken rice balls so we had to get an order of them. They came with a piece of roasted chicken and were quite tasty. Next we found a “proper” coffee shop that featured coffees from each of Malaysia’s 13 states. And they know how to make a macchiato. Afterwards we wandered Chinatown visiting the Hoon Teng Temple and mosque. This mosque is one of the oldest in Malaysia. Needing a revival from all the sightseeing, Nancy ducked into one of the ubiquitous foot massage joints while I returned for another coffee (my feet are too ticklish).
It got very hot again in the afternoon so we returned to the guesthouse for a cool down and shower before heading out to dinner. Tonight we met up with Elaine and Ken, the cyclist we met in southern Malaysia a week ago. Turns out that they were up from Singapore for a long weekend and contacted us for a catch up. They were kind enough to buy me a birthday beer and give me a cycle touring book to read as a gift. We ate at one of the local Nyonya restaurants – trying to pay attention to what they ordered so that we could pick up a few more options going forward.
Nyonya is sort of Malay/Chinese fusion, invented before fusion was used to describe food. We started seeing more Nyonya signs the last few days and were looking to try it out. Nancy had read another traveller’s blog that suggested a particular Nyonya restaurant in Muar but only remembered the word Nyonya. We tried to find it but kept seeing restaurant after restaurant called Nyonya and it eventually dawned on us that we were kind of looking for the equivalent of Italian food in Italy.
Tomorrow we’ll be staying again in Melaka. We have some more sightseeing to do plus we might actually go to a movie. Nancy keeps reminding me that not everything has to be “oh my gosh historic”. We are out here living normal life as well so a movie is fair game, so long as it’s not dubbed in Malay!