Monday, July 20, 2009

Malacca - Day 1

Sunday morning came early as brunch was to be served at 9:00am. The one meal I truly look forward to when visiting Ipoh is the brunch after the parties. Ying and Hong do an outstanding job of making homemade breads, muffins, eggs, sausages, ham, fruit, salad, baozi, soups, and noodles. It's a nice mix between western and eastern foods, so your mouth starts watering the minute you walk into the dining room.After gorging on brunch, we headed out to Malacca for a four hour drive.

Now the history of this little story goes something like this. We called our sister Hong to see what it would cost to take a bus/train/driver from Ipoh to Malacca since this was a destination we both wanted to visit. Hong calls back to let us know taking the bus/train would be a pain, as you would have to connect too many times, so she checked with her friend who's a travel agent to find out what the cost would be to hire a driver. After a few conversations back and forth a decision was made to have a driver take us to Malacca, and we would worry about the return to K.L. Okay, so that was settled, or was it? We received another call from sister Hong to say that Alex and Dr. Lim would be driving us down to Malacca. What? was my immediate reaction. No they can't do that, it's a four hour drive, blah, blah, blah. This was to be a surprise from Alex but sister Hong insisted on telling us. It's very sweet and most generouse of them, so Mark and I decided we would try and talk them out of it when we were in Ipoh. Okay, that didn't work. Dr. Lim took the day off, as his family still resides there, so thinking he could kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. By the way both Alex and Dr. Lim did an outstanding job of showing us the highlights of Malacca. I would definitely recommend using Dr. Lim as a tour guide, except he has a real job.

Okay, back to the original story. The trip was to take 4 hours, but with Dr. Lim at the wheel it took only 2 hours 45 minutes. Malacca was everything we expected. The city itself is growing, but the historic part is very quaint,colourful, and was awarded a UNESCO Heritage site in 2008.

Once we checked into the hotel, we started our tour. First off, we went to Jonkers street, where all the shops, and restaurants are located. At night all the street vendors come out to sell their wares, and no cars were allowed. Lunch was at Geographic Cafe where we tried some local dishes, washed down with some beers.

After lunch Dr. Lim suggested a couple of museums that we needed to check out. One was the Nonya house. Back in the day, when the Dutch were in control of this town, as were the Portuguese and the English, but I digress, the homes were taxed by how the width of the building, so many people built their homes long and narrow, as typical of this house we went to see. Alas, no pictures were allowed so you will just have to visit Malacca and see for yourself. After touring the home we went to the Chinese museum, to see one of the most prolific sailors in history, Zhong He. According to the book 1421, he and his fellow admirals pretty much travelled the world well before Columbus, Diaz, Vasco de Gama, etc. It was quite interesting and gives you an idea of what the Chinese armada looked liked back in the day.
After walking around the small streets, taking in the beauty of Malacca, and touring we needed to quench our thirst, so Dr. Lim suggested a cute bar/cafe by the river. Nice touch!
Dinner was at one of the better Nonya restaurants. Here we met some of Dr. Lim's family members, mom, dad, and his younger brother. The food is a mix between Chinese and Malaysian food, and was delicious. Needless to say this certainly wasn't helping my weight. The winner was the prawns in a coconut curry with pineapple dish. Okay, the lady fingers were delicious as well, so it was a toss up.

Next on the itinerary was a boat cruise down the river to which provided us another view of Malacca. Later we went back to Jonker street to see how it transforms from day to evening.
Quite lively at night, with a stage for locals to show off their talent.

We knew we would enjoy Malacca, but it was even more enjoyable having Alex and Dr. Lim accompany us.

No comments: