February 27th 1984

posted in: The way back | 0
Malacca

As it happened, I didn’t throw up overnight, but I wasn’t well either , with the return of the trots, which are still plaguing me, on + off, every few days.  A right pain in the arse, metaphorically too.  We spent virtually the whole morning in our room,  looking at all lour old photos etc for one last time before packaging them up, together with some of our cassettes + letters + cards we’d received (except the Yopi ones – we kept just one out of the 8.)  It made a remarkably heavy little parcel, quite a weight out of the pack, especially when Val was able to spring-clean odds + ends of rubbish we’d somehow accumulated.

At the post office, they were adamant that it would cost M$25 to send it, + only after 5 mins or so would they admit there was a cheaper service, about M$8.  That, naturally enough, was the one we selected.  Then, business done, we were free to wander round the sites of historical interest in Melaka, largely dating from the period of Dutch rule in the town.  The Town Hall + church in the main square were interesting, mainly because they were painted bright red, giving the square a faintly Toytown look.  We went to the Portuguese  Porto Alfonso, the final relics of the previous Portuguese occupation, + then climbed up to the top of the hill, St John’s Hill, where there was an old church, subsequently fortified + used for defence.  It was good up there, + both Val + I had the feeling that the place resembled Launceston Castle, in atmosphere rather , so than in anything specific.  Both places have a quiet dignity, an unspectacular impressiveness.

Portuguese ruins

Then to the Stadhuys, another red-painted Dutch building, now used as a museum.  The museum itself was disappointing, especially since there was no English labelling, so we didn’t stay long.  These places were all central, to visit Melaka’s other major attraction, the largest… sorry, I must be tired… oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia took a bit of a walk, + I’m not sure it merited it.  But Val wanted to see it, so off we went.  So that was Melaka done.

We collected our bags then, + caught the bus out of town, to Tanjung Keling, a beach resort a few miles out of town.  The bus dropped us right outside one particular losmen,. + as it was just starting to rain, we went there.  (Tho we did regret it later, when we discovered another similar place further along the road, slightly cheaper, slightly better.)  The losmen boasted a small café + a cluster of tiny A-frame chalets on the beach, boasting just a platform large enough to take a double mattress.  Spartan, but entirely adequate to our needs.

Our accommodation

The café supplied the usual Western traveller’s delights, so we indulged in banana drinks – very nice – + had a swim – the rain had not amounted to anything.  Later we strolled along the beach road to check out the other places, + had roti chanai with egg in the first place we came to.  It was cheap + tasty – a sort of puff pastry pancake with a spicy sauce to dip it into.  And then a further stroll to the next establishment (the better, cheaper place mentioned above) for dessert – pancakes!  (The most common traveller’s food of all.)  An early night – we lay in bed listening to Men Without Hats on the Walkman… then the waves on the beach.

Very clearly we did not have time to sdpare, spending a pretty frantic day sight-seeing, and ticking Malacca off our list. Ans then hitch-hiking again; we were very pleased that it seemed to be ana acceptable way to get around. And the beach hut, along with various travellers’ delights, suited us very well.

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