(written by Nancy)
We took another couple of days off in Melaka to explore this interesting town. There is lots to see and do and it is hard to squeeze too much into one day especially when the heat really comes on in the afternoon and all you want to do is sit somewhere airconditioned with a cold drink!
Sunday Dave made eggs on toast at the guesthouse. We bought most of the supplies while we were out wandering on Saturday, including some nice multi-grain bread from a bakery that just opened and is not too far from where we are staying. On Sunday morning he went down to the open air market just a couple of doors away to see if he could buy just a couple of eggs – usually you see them being sold in flats of 24. He was successful in buying just a couple and we had our old favourite eggs on toast with homemade mango salsa.
We walked into the central Melaka area to do some more sightseeing and visited St John’s church, which is located at the top of a hill. The church has had different names, depending on what country was then in possession of the country but the remains of the church are interesting and the views from the top out to the Straits of Melaka are very nice. There were lots of folks wandering about – this is clearly a tourist destination.
Melaka has an amazing number of museums, most of them clustered around the same area. We went through a couple that were interesting – most are fairly small and focus on one particular theme. We spent some time in the Historical and Ethnography Museum, which is in the Stadhuys, the building that housed the administrative functions during the period of the Dutch colonisation. It portrays the lifestyle of the different communities and sub-communities that make up the population of Melaka – the Malays, the Chinese, the Indians, the Portuguese, the Baba and Nyonya (Malaysian-born Chinese), the Chetti and Chitty (Malaysian-born Indian and Tamil) communities and has a lot of historical items from the various countries that colonised the area over time (Portugal, Holland, Britain).
After wandering through the museums we tried to find the Portuguese section of town but couldn’t really find too much going on and were melting in the heat. We headed over to one of the big shopping malls, found some lunch and then went to a movie! It was fun to do something a bit normal and nice to be in the airconditioned mall for a bit.
After stopping for a coffee along Jonker Street we walked back to the guesthouse but first stopped at a great Indian restaurant for a nice chicken tandoori set for dinner. It was delicious and the restaurant was one of the cleanest we have been to in Malaysia. We made it an early night, heading back to the guesthouse to do a load of laundry in a real washing machine – first time since we have been in Malaysia!
Today we decided to go back to the Indian restaurant for breakfast and it was as good as dinner was. Dave had his usual tosai masala while I stuck to the usual roti canai with egg. Very tasty and again the restaurant was very clean and shiny and very busy. I am not sure we will get another place like this up the road… It happens to be right next to the bakery where we got the great bread the other day so we popped in to get some food for morning tea and some scones for our ride tomorrow.
We spent the rest of the morning at the guesthouse trying to get some things organised, do a bit of planning and made some skype calls to family. Then it was off to the duck restaurant downstairs for lunch. I’m not a big fan of duck but gave it a try – still not a big fan. We headed back into the main city area to do a couple more chores and tried a local dessert called gula melaka cendol – crushed ice with various other sweet bits in it. It hit the spot on a warm afternoon. We wandered back to the coffee shop near Jonkers Street that we have been to several times now. They have coffee from each of the 13 states – interesting blends and a fun place to hang out so we spent a bit of time there relaxing. Well, by then it was time to think about dinner (see, this is what you do in Malaysia….).
There was another famous local dish that we were supposed to try called satay celup and the most famous restaurant for it was a placed called Capital Satay, literally around the block from our guesthouse. We had walked by it on Saturday evening and it was absolutely packed with a long line all the way down the block. Well, unfortunately it is closed on Mondays so we found another relatively well known place a short walk from the coffee shop so headed over there for dinner. You pick out whatever satays (meat, tofu, veggies) you would like from a refrigerated case (.60rm per stick) and cook them at your table in a hot vat of spicy peanut sauce that sits in the middle of the table. We were there quite early so it wasn’t too crowded, which was nice, but it was starting to fill up as we left. All very tasty, though a bit hot! Nothing like sitting in an open air restaurant in a hot and humid environment with a hot vat at your table! Anyway, it was worth the walk over there. Plus, along the way we went by the gym of Mr Universe, Mr Asia, Mr Malaysia and Mr Melaka Datuk Wira Gan Boon Leon (don’t worry, we have never heard of him either but he certainly must be something based on the statutes and plaques out front of his gym!).
Thanks to Michael Wong for all the eating suggestions – I think you could spend many more days here trying all of the great restaurants but we must move on before we can’t move any longer. This has been a nice place to rest for a few days and it is tempting to stay – we can see how people end up hanging out here for weeks. But, we must move on so tomorrow we are back on the road heading for Port Dickson, which is on the coast north of here. It is an 85k ride so we hope to get out relatively early but that is always a challenge after a few days off with our stuff spread everywhere so we will see how we go.