Monday, April 14, 2008

Melaka - Day 3

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Another bright, sunny, hot and humid day. Much like most days here. After puttering around our hotel room a little we sought out breakfast on our way to pick up the laundry Jim dropped off the day before. We first stopped at one restaurant a few blocks away and sat down at an outdoor table but couldn’t figure out what we were being told by the server. When we asked about roti or nasi lemak, he pointed to the indoor area of the restaurant so we went inside. But were pointed outside when we asked about ordering. Confused, we walked further down the street to another place where ordering was much easier. We ordered some nasi lemak, roti with Indian curry and coffees. It was so good. I swear I was becoming addicted to this stuff.

After breakfast we headed over to the laundry and saw these orchids. There were so many varieties that we’d never seen before just growing everywhere. This one looked like a hibiscus at first until you looked at the plant itself. That’s when we realized it was an orchid.

We also saw a Tata (yes, it’s ok to giggle). We took a few pictures for a friend who liked cars and trucks that weren’t readily seen here in the US.

Once we picked up the laundry, we dropped it off at the hotel and took a few minutes to walk around the pool area. The plants around the pool had beautiful flowers and brightly colored fruit which was apparently a tasty treat for the local birds.

Once we finished enjoying the pool area, we headed out to the bus stop to catch one of the local buses to the fabric shop we saw the night before.

Here's the view of our hotel from the bus stop.

Across the street from the hotel and bus stop, the place we had breakfast the day before.

One of the routes went around to the area of town we were in last night where we spotted the big fabric store. Along the way we took these pictures of the city and bay.

It only took about 20 minutes to get to the fabric store. After looking at several selections of batik style material we picked out one we both liked and got 10 meters, enough for each of us to have a shirt made with plenty left over for future use. It was a great price too at roughly $20 for the entire piece.

By the time we finished looking at material we were beginning to get hungry so we walked up and down the street to look at what our options were. We stopped in front of one place that smelled wonderful. One of the restaurant staff came out and persuaded us to come in and we’re glad we did. We ordered Mee Goreng with chicken. A squeeze of lime really added to the dish.

After lunch we decided to head over to the river to see Villa Sentosa. The river and the foot bridge we needed to cross were only a few blocks away. Said to be an unofficial museum in Melaka, Villa Sentosa is a privately owned home opened to visitors by the owners whose father was an important figure in the early days of independent Malaysia. Here's some of what we saw:

Wedding chairs

The open entry way

Decorative clothing

The Dining Room table

Guest Bedroom

China Cabinet

The current owner proudly shows guests most of the rooms in the house as well as the great number of family heirlooms including china, clothing, furniture, and a gong. The latter item was once used as way to relay messages across the village and beyond before more modern forms of communication were available. Today, you can make a wish and bang the gong three times for it to come true. I'm still waiting.

The tour ended in the guest parlor where stack upon stack of guest books were sitting on the floor. Dating back to the 1960's these guest books have signatures from people who have visited Villa Sentosa over the years. And as you can imagine, just about every country was represented in the books. It was quite interesting to look through them then add our names to the latest book. Overall this was one of the best things we did in Melaka and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who ever visits. They do not charge admission but accept donations.

The gardens on the property had lots of interesting plants like this pitcher plant.

As we finished up our tour and were ready to leave, we took our self portrait. This has become one of our traditions on every trip we take.

By now, we were tired, hot and sweaty. A shower was beckoning me back at the hotel so that’s where we headed. And seeing as it was our last night in Melaka, we wanted to have dinner again at Restaran Peranekan. It was so good and the beef rendang was the best I’ve eaten and we were looking forward to trying out some other items on the menu. We strolled along Jonker Walk which is much different during the week than it is on Friday and Saturday night when it's full of street vendors. Several of the buildings have very intricate decorations.

But alas, when we got there it was closed. Phooey. We walked further down the street and came upon two restarants. One overlooked the river and had nice white tablecloths, the other place was a small local place with plastic covering the tables. We chose the latter of the two because it looked less touristy and we were not disappointed. An advertised special was a sampler of sorts featuring a pineapple and shrimp curry, a veggie omelet, fried fish in a tomato based sauce, lamb stew and water spinach with hot peppers and onions. A bowl of chicken soup came out with it as well. It was all quite tasty especially when washed down with a couple of Tiger beers.

On the walk back to the hotel we took a slightly different route, walking by the Maritime Museum and walked through an open air mall that was mostly closed up for the night. What was open wasn’t of much interest so we continued through and out the other side. Across the street was the nice new air-conditioned mall. We walked through the nice cold mall savoring the cool air and looking at a few shops along the way. The far exit for the mall opens out to the street in front of the hotel so it was a short walk once back out in the heat before we got to the hotel.

We began to pack up our things so we could get an early start the next day as we would be traveling by bus to Singapore.


Anonymous said...

I love your blog so far. Im dying to read about the rest of your trip. My partner and I leave for Malaysia next month and we are drooling over your food pictures.

Barbara said...

Anonymous, For food, we would usually follow our noses or look for the place with the most locals eating there. We tried to get the name of the places we ate at but in a few cases, we couldn't find a name.

If you're planning to go to Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching or Singapore, e-mail me and I'll send you some more detailed information about what to see and where to eat, etc.

biscuit blog at earthlink . net

Anonymous said...

We will be in Singapore a few days...we're also taking a train all the way up to Laos to visit family. In Malaysia, we'll be going to KL, Getning,and Tanah Rata. I know what you mean about following your nose. We've travelled all over and just sortof look, smell, and point and smile. Taiwan had the best food in the world so far. My name is Joshua btw.

Barbara said...

Ah, my next couple of posts will be on Singapore. I'll have plenty to write about and lots of food pics.

KL will be the last few posts. Again lots to see and do and more good food.

We've talked about taking the train through Malaysia as well, only going to Bangkok instead of Laos. I'd love to hear about your trip when you get back.

Joshie said...

I have many funny train stories from Thailand. I got robbed once. Another time there was a flood/mudslide right throught the middle of the country which made for quite a convoluted trip. Another time i made the mistake of taking hte lowest class train, which turned out to be little better than a cattle car and it stopped in every single village. It felt like the train never gained speed. The train in Thailand is fun fun fun :-)