Wayfarer Guest House in Melaka - 5th April

Last Night we walked the short distance from the Wayfarer to the famous Jonker Street market. It was 6.30pm and the crowd was enormous. There was little room to move as we passed by “Touristy” trinket stalls etc. You can imagine it, as tourist orientated as anything we had ever seen. All Asian Tourists with just a few westerners who were mainly drinking beer at street bars. Lots of Western food here as well as local Malaysian. We walked a few shop house streets and then repaired to our very own shop house for the night.

Jonker street market

Jonker street market

Chinese tourists in Red Dutch Square

Chinese tourists in Red Dutch Square

Our hosts have kindly rearranged our rooms here so we will have 4 days in one room after the Artists Suite tonight. Have placed our tourist glasses on and after a coffee in the downstairs living area, we are off to face the hoards!

My history lessons began today and learnt that it was Magellan the Portuguese explorer who visited Melaka and was only able to control it for 6 months before the Dutch invaded. Much blood was shed.

Melaka is truly exotic and that is probably why 5 million Asian tourist visit each year. It is very close to Singapore and most of the tourists look of Chinese ethnicity. We have been to the The Stadthuys Museum this morning. It is housed in a vast 17th Century building erected by the Dutch. It showcased the history of Melaka in a most interesting way.  We were particularly interested in the Porcelain display as many pieces reminded of our collection. We have been collecting Chinese porcelain and furniture from the 11th Century to the 18th Century for many years. All sits in storage now. Put this on your “Must do in Melaka” list.

Tourists in large numbers are everywhere with “Selfie Sticks” attached to their cameras. All taking touristy pictures just as Westerners do. We will be in many pics they have taken as our politeness weakened after a while and we walked through their shots.

Went next to a very good Malaysian Customs Museum that went through the history of taxing opium and todi in the early days to modern day operations. Left very impressed.

Dutch fort

Dutch fort

Ayam Chicken Rendang

Ayam Chicken Rendang

Spicy Kangkong Sambal

Spicy Kangkong Sambal

Visited what remains of Old Portuguese and later Dutch Fort. Built of large stone blocks with large cannons atop. River cruise was too busy for us so decided to try some Nonya Food.  The Baba Fred Nonya Home Cook eventually seduced us. We ordered Spicy Kangkong Sambal (water spinach with dried shrimp chillies and garlic), Ayam (Chicken) Rendang, slow cooked in Chilies, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, galangal and turmeric root spices, in thick coconut milk and grated toasted coconut. Was as good as it sounds! We washed it down with lime juice, cool fresh lime juice with sour plum. Total cost was 32RM.  We are now dedicated Nonya food lovers. How fickle we are as we had almost forgotten Ipoh food.

Am beginning to think those “tourist glasses” that we put on yesterday have turned us into one. Just goes to show if you keep too close to people a little bit rubs off.  Resolved to do our best to revert to being “travellers” straight away although the Twilight River Cruise already looks tempting.

Melaka is 66% Muslim so although the church bells rang out at St Francis Anglican Church it was not the most popular place in town. The prize today goes to Chung Wa Chicken Rice Ball Restaurant where the queue to get a table stretched about 50 metres along the footpath all day!

Wayfarer Lodge

Wayfarer Lodge

Across river from Wayfarer Lodge

Across river from Wayfarer Lodge

Retreated to our Wayfarer Lodge and we have been moved to the Artists Suite which takes up the front of the Shop House on the 2nd floor facing the Melaka River with a terrace. No words can describe this room! A painting of Paul Gaughan graces the entrance foyer and you could just imagine him staying in a place like this. It is inspirational and my fingers refuse to stop blogging! It is a large room facing the River on one side and the Atrium (characteristic of shop houses) on the other. Fitted with a King size bed, writing desk and a large ensuite bathroom opening onto the terrace above the river. Oh that we could stay here forever. Melaka is getting to us despite the pesky tourists.

Have been mulling over the lower life expectancy of Malaysians and have been wondering if it is due to the small amount of vegetables containing the much touted fibre in their diets. Slow passage of low fibre food through the alimentary tract is known to cause bowel cancer, one of the largest causes of early death. On the other hand they take in large amounts of chillies. Every dish is served with a little dish of chilli sauce. It is most definitely true (and has been my experience) that chillies do speed up the passage of food trough the alimentary tract. (This is as certain as Newton’s Law of Gravity.) Maybe this gives them the same protection as the less palatable high fibre diet. I plan to research this further.

Tonight waking along the Melaka River on our side to a night Dim Sum Market. The boat cruise is still lurking and hopefully we can resist its pull.