The day before we had seen quite a few river cruises running up and down the river so decided to do the touristy thing and have an early morning cruise. It was once again ‘a scorcher’ but this was definitely the life sitting back and letting the boat do the work. As we progressed from the immediate town centre the houses had all been painted with various arty designs on them so the riverside became one big painted artwork. The art along with some of the older bridges gave the river tour a bit of a Venice type appeal without the crowds – or expense!
On the way back we saw a Monitor Lizard in the water – SE Asian places are not complete without one of these creatures – I say Monitor Lizard but there are probably thousands of lizards with similar characteristics and because I cannot be bothered to delve into my Ispy Lizard book any further – everything becomes a Monitor Lizard, lizards made easy!
After the river tour we decided to explore Malaka further, one of our finds being a Buddhist temple where the devotees were getting in a bit of extra offering to start them off well for the Chinese New Year – we did keep hearing in the distance one of the many Dragon dancing troops about the place but did we see one – short answer – NO! The temple had the distinct air of a place getting ready to spontaneously combust as there were so many people lighting incense sticks and the like but I believe the place is still standing so ‘good sense’ must have prevailed.
Another Malaka oddity we saw all over the place was their trishaws – which had to be the most showy things on the road each having a ‘theme’ usually based around a Disney character – they knew the market they were aiming for – and a boom box blasting out of both appropriate and inappropriate music. Most had a small battery then some wiring and plug extension socket that would have been at home on ‘Rogue Electricians’ all wires leading to the technicolour lighting show of the main seating area. Not sure of the wisdom some parents were showing in putting their precious little ones on these potential death traps but good fun seemed to be being had by all!
Once again we tramped the streets of Jonkers Walk to soak up the atmosphere but this time we took it a stage further because we could get a seat and ate up some of the atmosphere! We ordered Little Crabs and Deep Fried Malaysian (Kentucky) Fried Chicken – and what arrived, yes little crabs hundreds of tiny little crabs you ate like whitebait (except they were crispier and crunchier) and chicken which either was very hot in temperature or it could have been the coating – something burnt anyhow.
Next we re-visited the singing grannies, one of whom was singing something with quite a catchy chorus which got stuck in my head throughout the rest of the stay – damn those wizened old women!
We then retired to a bar on the waterfront and although Malaysian beer is currently being sold at the same rate as gold, we decided to treat ourselves and we ended up chatting to an Englishman called Joe who lived in Crete but spent his time in their winter travelling South East Asia. He was a really nice guy who had unfortunately when younger had had a stroke, you could hardly tell this apart from a slight slur ‘before’ he started drinking and he walked with a cane. We sat and chatted for quite a while as he was very well travelled and gave us much more information than we returned in kind but it was really good. He then told us about a band due to play at the bar who were worth a listen so inside we went. The music was jazz though which to me is a bit like musical masturbation – i.e. the performers tend to be playing for their benefit rather than the audiences but it was not too bad and the guys certainly could play their instruments. The only downside being the place had no loo so we had to nip wherever when the need arose. Anyhow it was a most excellent night and then back to Bala’s Place for sleeps!