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Friday, May 15, 2009

Trip Well Worth It

The trip down south started off with low expectations. Storm clouds were brewing while we were driving towards Melaka and when we finally got there, Holiday Inn I booked for a night was characterless. I didn't want to make a mistake of booking into a "boutique"hotel when the they advertise with words like "cosy" when they actually mean miniscule and windowless.

Anyway, the skies were grey but no rain so we started off for the famous Jonker street where the food beckons and antique stalls were abundant. I am told that since 2008, Melaka has been taken more seriously as a historical tourist spot and there was a concerted effort to spruce the city up. Streets were landscaped beautifully, bus stops were poshed up, everything was clean and well organized, unlike KL. What a relief.

We headed off to Jonker for the famous Hoe Kee Chicken Rice but though the restaurant was housed in a charming traditional old building, the food was ordinary.

After unstatisfying our appetite, we headed down the winding streets in and found it very sweet. Some of the antique shops looked genuine, with all sorts of junk piled on top of each otherr, others were well manicured and where everything was labelled and had a price tag. Some shops were so huge there were 200 ft deep, it was fun pacing amongst the old and not having the shopkeeper following you around.

This is a T shirt shop.

There were art galleries and funky shops selling trinkets, everything looked quaint and not too touristy. Between every few shops, there was a small bistro offering cool drinks and local coffee. The one we stopped at decorated the entire ceiling with tiny disco balls and the walls were painted a wild pink.

Old men with rickshaws.

I bought a blue china ceramic pot for my hydrangreas at home but that was the extent of my shopping.

After the boring lunch, we didn't have much hope for dinner. Driving about 2km away from the hotel and towards the beach, we found the old Portuguese settlement. It was a mini East Coast Seafood Centre with 10 seafood joints. We picked the busiest one and looked at the extensive crab menu. They offered salt and pepper baked crabs, steam crabs with ginger, pepper and several others, after little deliberation we settled on the sambal crab.

It was divine! We even bought our own bottle of wine and the uncle asked "want ice with that?"haha.

Melaka is a sleepy town at night, so there wasn't much to do. We were driving back when we saw the new mall showing Star Trek so we went for a late movie. Anyone seen that yet? Good movie to watch.

I will come back to Melaka again, it is so close and such a nice change to the bustle of KL.

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