To Malaka on the Spice Trail – Day 34 – 21/Feb

We had a good chat in the morning with the fellow couchsurfers at ‘the hovel’ and they seemed quite a good bunch really so perhaps we could have stayed a bit longer but our tickets were booked and our bags now packed so off we were set to go. The bus station was out of town but was easy to get to and a very organised affair, ran like an airport so you knew when everything was happening. It did not mean things ran on time but at least you knew this!

The journey was not too bad either as there was plenty of room on the bus to spread out. We were taking the main roads which are not too bad at all to travel on, there appeared to be quite a bit of development going on just outside of KL. for the wealthier Malay. At the end of our journey another bus station this one planted some good way out of Malaka – so we had to get another bus into town! Here was another set of people who believed in the mantra – a good bus is an overfull/bulging (possibly unsafe) bus, the man at the front was still trying to get people on when there were people falling out of window at the back of the bus! You could not move for upsetting the person next to you and as we had large backpacks as well, we were hardly flavour of the month.

Malaka was a busy bustling town – Singaporeans come here to get away from Singapore and the place was especially lively due to the Chinese New Year having recently taken place. We found our digs – called Bala’s Place and it was just off the main thoroughfare – a place called Jonkers Walk. We soon parked our gear and went off to explore. The place was lovely, full of lots of different types of architecture set around the river – everywhere was very chilled and relaxed and a lot of the buildings in the very centre were red bricked.

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The riverside had some old ramparts complete with cannon, a replica waterwheel and dry docked nearby was an old boat as well so plenty to have a look at but as it was ridiculously hot we decided to cool ourselves at an air conditioned museum to the local lifeboat services – rock and/or roll lol. It was a strange place as some of the exhibits could have been better labelled ‘old tat’ but it was cool and this weighed heavily in its favour. We nipped back for a snooze prior to ‘hitting the town’ proper later but on the way back noticed huge amounts of queuing taking place outside some of the Dimsum restaurants – they must do some wicked Dimsum as the queues were out of the door down the street and in some cases on the road themselves – not a good place to be as there was still plenty of traffic on the roads.

The night out on the town was quite en eye opener – the road was closed for the Jonkers Walk market at which sell anything and everything which is good because the Chinese folk present were wanting to buy anything and everything too! Half way round they also had a Chinese open mic karaoke on the go being abused by a couple of old ladies who were then in turn being danced from the stage by some local aged Lothario seeking some Human League-style Love Action! At night, the streets already adorned with Chinese lanterns were all lit up as was the river too so that everything looked a picture – we fell in love with the place.

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Whilst wandering about we found one of its more strange features was a little ‘area’ – for want of a better description – devoted to the local bodybuilder with a statue of him being pride of place. In front were various locals and trippers ‘striking the pose’.

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