Saturday, December 15, 2012

Malacca, Malaysia

I thought I would escape the heat of Singapore by heading to Malacca. (HA!). It was a fairly painless journey except when the locals go running off the bus at immigration, breeze through their special access lane in minutes while you stand at the end of a 30 minute line, you really start to worry if maybe it's common for the bus to leave people behind. I then fought my way through a very packed night market, knocking people aside with my backpack (not on purpose), cursing myself for never taking an orienteering class so I could confidently navigate side streets without a map. But I found the hostel on my first try in the advertised 10 minutes. This is a big accomplishment in my book.

My first day in Malacca I went to breakfast with an Italian named Werner then off I went to explore. I lasted one hour until I headed back to the hostel. I burst in, bright red and dripping with sweat from every pore on my body. "Howwwww do you do this?!" I asked Werner who was sitting at the computer. He replied, "It's the hottest part of the day. You stay inside and explore later." Oh. My problem was I kept thinking "MUST SEE ALL THE THINGS!!" and was going at a frantic pace to accomplish this.

Staying in Malacca was my Backpacking 101 refresher course where I relearned how to do extended travelling. It only took one day to get into my new groove and now my days look like this: Wake up around 9am. Shower. Go to breakfast with friends which can last about 2 hours and do a little exploring. Go back to the hostel and chat with people, look up info about your next destination etc. 2pm go to lunch. 3pm explore, ride bikes, see temples, etc. 8pm go to dinner. More chatting in the hostel or a bar. Shower. Go to bed. It's a much slower, more enjoyable and more manageable pace to live at.

About Malacca's a lovely city. It is known as the Historic State of Malaysia and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Like Singapore there is a vibrant Chinatown and Indian district. We spent our time walking up and down the river that weaves through town, visiting several markets and temples, chatting with the local firemen and expats, riding bikes by the sea and out in the 'burbs, and eating some DELICIOUS food. It was here that I discovered banana pancakes and even more importantly- coconut shakes.

We had been riding along the highway, which isn't as scary as you think. The drivers seem much more aware of what's going on around them here than back home and give you plenty of room. We had been riding for about 30 minutes when we passed a long line of parked cars. There didn't seem to be anything special happening or any monument or temple around so we backtracked to see what was going on. A coconut shake stand is what was going on. Freshly made and so delicious the locals line up and wait forever to get one. I almost ordered a second shake but  the sun was beginning to set so we had to head home.

If you find yourself in Malaysia, definitely stop in Malacca!


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