malacca - Where's Byrne?

malacca

03.03.2012 – 06.03.2012 Sunny 28°C

We had to get to Tasek Selatan bus station to catch a bus from KL to Malacca, which stupidly, we chose public transport for. Walking down the road from Chinatown we needed one of the LRT Stations, the nearest being Masjid Jamek. We got on after half an hour looking for it and headed two stops south to KL Sentral, got off, bought another ticket, as this was a separate line and used a coin system as opposed to the ticket system, and waited for the train to the bus station. We waited, and waited, and waited a bit more. Two trains had been cancelled while we were sitting there and by then we were into our second hour of waiting. It was hot, there was nowhere to sit as the platform was so busy and I was getting pissed off. Finally the fucking train turned up and we got to the station and experienced a much simpler process of buying a bus ticket but our journey to the bus station that was supposed to take fifteen minutes had taken nearly three hours. In Tasek Selatan we looked on the big screens for when the next bus to Malacca was, noted the company name, queued at their desk, bought tickets (10RM each), walked downstairs to the platform, put our bags in the hold and sat on the bus for two hours until we reached Malacca. Simple. A taxi from the Sentral Station was 15RM and we’d chose Apa Kaba Homestay due to the reviews on the internet. It was nice, first impressions were good. It was set in homely grounds with a big lawn and gazebo type wooden building where other travellers were sitting reading, the rooms were adequate and the price was cheap. 30RM a night cheap. Unfortunately, Apa Kaba was full except for a room Kenny, the owner, referred to as his ‘overspill’, where I presume he sticks guests when they’re rammed. A small room with windows nailed shut on two walls, a table with lamp and a single wooden bed were contained within. Kenny said he’d put down a mattress for me and we could move rooms tomorrow night when they had availability. No worries. We dumped our gear and Kenny explained to us where things were, which was a bit lost on us, much like most of the places I have described throughout will be on you if you haven’t been there I suppose? We stumbled across Jonker Walk after a breezy fifteen minute stroll through the town which seemed to be where the action was. A long street with old buildings both sides which had been turned into bars, restaurants and various other shops. Luckily too, it was Saturday and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are the nights the night market is held. Very lucky as come Monday the place became deserted. We had a walk about taking in the Stadhayus, various churches and other ‘things to see’ then found a bar called the Honky Tonk Cafe, situated on a side road from Jonker and run by a friendly but ‘knows nothing about everything’ Australian. He asked me if I had ‘heard’ of Tommy Cooper and went to tell me if the English FA doesn’t make the right appointment to replace Fabio Capello, we might be relegated. Quite. Anyhow, Jazz beers were six for 26RM (£5) and the back of the bar sat right on the river in the sun. That was that, I wasn’t moving. With Premiership Football on later, cheap beer and the sun out I was set. That’s where we met Katie from Cardiff and Anthony from Birmingham. I wasn’t sure they were a couple at first but they later revealed they had met at university and had been together for five years or so. He was a Villa fan and she was Cardiff. They were heading to Borneo next (done) then to Bali (doing) and then to Australia (also doing) and it worked out they would be in Bali the same time as us too. A heavy night on the Jazz’s unwrapped itself with us ending it arguing about Frankie Boyle. I think he’s hilarious and Katie despised him. That’s what comedy’s about – opinions? We left it meeting the following day for dinner under the dragon at the beginning of Jonker…

I awoke with a banging in my head, my tongue like a flip-flop and a gap of sunshine burning me right between the eyes. Kenny caught me coming out of the shower and asked us to move rooms asap as he’d let our one out again. We decided there and then, having not even mentioned it the day before, to move guesthouses. Apa Kaba was great but we just didn’t like the fifteen minute walk into town. Some of the other guests staying were right miserable too, B was blanked by three Irish girls and I was ignored by a tanned European bird and some old guy (one on the way in to the shower and one on the way out) What’s wrong with people?

We packed up and found Bala’s Guesthouse on a side road from Jonker. A very Indian woman was our host and a guy who was also very Indian seemed to be the boss. I took them to be husband and wife. The room was good. No window though, which I hate as you never know what time it is, but a ceiling fan and a comfy bed, we checked in for two nights at 35RM a night and went to eat at Little Mommas recommended by our hostess. It was a little café which again, backed on to the river. All the shops and cafés seem to back on to this river which helps make Malacca a relaxed and behind the times (in a good way) town. The grub was good, a selection of local dishes and a fresh juice went down a treat and we went back to waste the afternoon sleeping. Waking up late for our meet with Katie and Anthony we dashed about and got to the dragon at 6:15pm, a touch after our arranged time. They weren’t there, we must have missed them. We walked through the night market again which was arguably even better than Saturdays market and went to bed. Our last day was used buying, writing and sending postcards, organising our next stop, Singapore, and general internet based shit.

Malacca is exquisite. It could be an old town in Portugal, it hasn’t moved on much since they ruled. Tons of cafés, coffee shops, restaurants and a few bars make it a good place to spend some time. The food is abundant with loads of variations, the locals are friendly and the architecture is amazing. The ‘things to see’ are average though.

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