Melakka: It was fun, until it was not fun at all

So two weekends ago Iris and I took a little trip to Melakka. It is only about two hours away from here and by all accounts is a nice little city. Obviously it was a big draw to me because of the whole history thing. You see…..you know what, no. I am not going to bore you with a long drawn out account of the history of Melakka, why the Melakka straits are so important. I am going to let this wonderful handsome person I found on youtube explain it to you a bit.

So there you go. I did not hear what that man said, I was too busy staring into his beautiful eyes. In serious news, shortly after shooting this my camera woman had her picture taken by a Malay woman and posed for a picture with said Malay woman. Not sure why, as Melakka had a lot of white people walking around. I think it is because she is so beautiful, and Iris did not disagree.

Our hotel was right on Jonker street, which is where the night market is every weekend. Specifically, our hotel was right in front of the stage where people could sing karaoke, off key and in Chinese. It is also the sight of the Melakka arm wrestling championship in May, something I will be going back for. The city has a very famous body builder, seen here in this statue, one of two we saw in the city.

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The karaoke stage, aka future site of my Melakka arm wresting championship victory.

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Now in that picture of the stage you will notice two things. First, there is the don’t mess with Melakka slogan. The flag for the city looks just like the Texas flag. So of course a few years ago they adopted the same slogan as Texas. Not so fast. According to city officials, they had no idea about the Texas slogan and it is all a coincidence. And even if it was not, they contacted officials from Texas who said it was okay. Seriously. Look it up, they deny copying the slogan from Texas, even though it is THE SAME FONT and everything. Crazy. The second thing to notice is the lady dancing on the stage. No clue who she is, but she danced the same dance for about an hour, regardless of who was on stage and what they were singing.

 

Seriously…what is that song?

 

Anyway, the adventure continues. I should note at this point that there will be no food pictures in this post. I am saving those for an over-sized edition of how to lose weight in Malaysia later in the week.

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This is the Jonker Street Market. Pretty standard as far as Asian markets good. Some great food, some good food, lots of cheap toys for sale, and some “antiques” that are probably not as old as the sentence I just wrote. At the end of the market is the river, and one of the  more famous sites of Melakka:

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These are just two of the trishaws of Melakka. They are not rickshaws, but trishaws. I think I am spelling that right but if not you get the idea. They are all decorated and most of them are playing really annoying music really loudly. There were a lot of Frozen themed ones and most had other cartoon themes. Apparently the city is well known for them. I personally thought they were kind of annoying but that’s just me, bitter grizzled American!

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The next day we took a little boat tour on the river in Melakka. This is where, during it’s heyday as the biggest port in the world LONG before the British came on the scene, the boats would dock and unload. Eventually they moved to the port on the ocean and eventually they moved to Singapore.

The city has done a good job, in my limited opinion, of making the river a nice place. There is a lot of street art all along it, and an 8-km river walk that people were walking, running, and biking along when we went by.

Of course, there is also a monorail line that they built for a lot of money (in the millions) that broke the first time they used it and it has never been fixed…but hey, the art! Let’s focus on that!

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Like I said, the art was nice. Seems to me this is similar to what Richmond should do but apparently a canal walk no one uses is more inline with their 10 year plan.

 

A nice little shot of the Chinese temple’s roof along Harmony Street. It seems that every Malaysian city we have been to has some form of this Harmony Street: It is usually a temple, a masjid (or mosque-my Arab students have taught me that mosque is an insulting name so I am using the Arabic word that is also used here in Malaysia, Masjid, from now one) and a hindu temple all near each other. I mean I get why. The country or more correctly the government always wants to display religious and ethnic harmony since the whole country kind of balances on co-existence. But really Malaysia? Really? Every city has a harmony street that they decided to create on their own with no input from a central authority? Really? That being said…I have enjoyed the Harmony Streets we have visited so far.

More street art. Not sure I understand this one.

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Lastly, the confusion. I wanted to see the old Portuguese church in the city, built around 1511. Iris took me to the Portuguese settlement and, well, I’ll let the cute guy from youtube explain what happened.

Just some of the wild life of Melakka!

 

So that was the good part. Now the bad. I will keep this brief because I have to go teach a class soon and because I do not want to anger up the blood, as they say. So we were driving home, about an hour or less from KL when the car started shaking. Then BOOM, our tire burst. We quickly pull over and discover that we have a spare and a jack, but no tools for using the jack or taking the tire off. (So we though-the next day we found them hidden under the driver’s seat) Fortunately for us a man who works for the highway services pulls over to help us. He has the tools and changes our tire for us. We are thankful. We ask him how much and he says how much do you want to pay me? So we are stupid Americans, we gave him too much. 1km later…BOOM…the spare tire pops. So we pull over again. And here is where it went bad.

-the highway “cops” are fortunately within site helping another motorists when we pull over. So 20 minutes later they come to help us.

-They tell us they will call the mechanic/tow truck, and they will call us. I ask repeatedly if I can call the mechanic directly (they gave me the 1-800 number for the highway service department) and repeatedly they tell me no no no no. I have to wait for them to call the mechanic and the mechanic to call me.

-ONE HOUR LATER the mechanic has not called. So we call the 1-800 number. They give us another number.

-We call that number. They give us another number.

-We call that number…they give us another number.

-Finally we talk to the mechanic. By this point our car battery has also died. He says it will cost us 170 RM. This is a bit too much but what can we do? We count up all out money and we have….I kid you not…171RM. Finally he comes about 2 hours after the spare tire first popped. His puts on a new tire and jumps us no problem. We finally head home, very tired and angry, but very excited to shower and watch Brooklyn 99. Long story short, Malaysian Roadside Assistance sucks.

But Melakka, it kind of doesn’t suck.

 

That’s all for now. Jumpa Lagi!

Kevin

 

 


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