Monday, October 31, 2005

Melaka Day 2: Exploring & Bingefest

9am Eagerly head down for breakfast aka stuffing session #2. Unfortunately crowd's pretty eager too, feels like hungry ghost festival, even the staff are overwhelmed - must be the weekend getaway crowd. After stuffing ourselves, we head back to hotel room to vegetate. G claims it's gonna rain, tho I beg to differ.

11am I declare tt the weather's too good to stay indoors. Drag G along for exploration-by-foot of tourist spots - she's been to Malacca many times before, see.

1st stop - Maritime Museum showcasing Malacca's maritime history under the Portuguese & Dutch. But before we got there, was attracted to some medium-sized boats I spied from a distance and finally realized it was the pier. Crowded with many locals, supposed they were all heading home. The Maritime Museum's actually a Portuguese ship constructed as a 2-storey museum tt invites vistors to explore along its decks - albeit narrow & pretty dark.

Up next - Architectural Museum. Almost missed it because there wasn't much indicating its contents, other than a comissioning plaque. Interesting exhibits explaining the diversity of architectural designs in Malaysia - including the Sultanate Palace, the Malay community house, the Nyonya house etc. Was v. peaceful till family came in with terrorizing kids who can't stop running around.

Circled the A. Famosa area and climbed up the hill via Porta da Santiago, the sole remaining fortress gate. Upon reaching St. Paul's Church on the hilltop, a basker's soulful crooning greeted us, reflecting the peace & solemnity of this resting place - a Dutch graveyard skirted 1 corner of the hill.

Walked over to the Stadhuys, the official residence of Dutch Governors since 1650s, now a collection of museums archiving the town's eventful past. With Arab traders who stepped foot onto Malacca, the centre of trade also become the centre from which Islam spread across Malaysia during the 1400's. Short history lesson for me there.

2pm Finally get to try the famed chicken rice balls - actually just chicken rice but with fishball-sized riceballs, dense with carbohydrates & fragrant oil. After stuffing session #3, walked down the Jonker stretch which looked pretty different in the day time. Bought pineapple tarts & coffee mix - these fav products tt are splattered all over the place. 1 shop we bought from "Bibik House" made the tarts fresh - how can any discerning pastry-lover resist?

Headed back to hotel to watch Ian Wright & Far-flung Floyed on TV while relishing our acquisitions - small wonder tt we got easily psyched up for stuffing session #4.

8pm A rickety, old Mercedes cab with a driver cursing at traffic brought us to the Portuguese Settlement - for a moment was worried about safety. Settled down at Restoran de Lisbon. Though the food didn't seem particularly Portuguese to me and more like normal S'porean seafood fare, we had a feast nonetheless. Otak was awesome, grilled fresh fish was heavenly & sambal belachan was just shiok.

10pm Same old rickey Mers brought 2 middle-heavy souls back to the hotel.

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