Sunday, July 29, 2012

Malacca: What We Did

On our first full day in Malacca, we headed right for the center of the historic district, the square in front of Christ Church (the oldest Protestant church in Malaysia and very interesting). First we saw the church and the associated attractions of the square (mostly knick knack sellers, trishaw drivers and a fountain put up by the British), and then we headed up the hill to the former Dutch administrative offices (the Stadthuys), now a museum on Malaysia's history and culture.
R liked the fountain
Dad with a ceremonial boat
Historic Dutch oven: can you imagine the heat??? OMG 
Waffle iron from the 18th century: it's just the same!
After a break for lunch (and R's nap), we headed out again to tour the city on the other side of Malacca's river (the old Chinese section). I especially enjoyed viewing Malaysia's oldest Chinese temple (dating from 1645) and oldest mosque (built in 1748).
Cheng Hoong Teng temple
Sweaty parents, still having fun
This lion will bite your hand off if you tell a lie: luckily R can't talk yet!
This sign about con artist monks was pretty much B's favorite thing
R really wanted to sit on the prayer cushion, and threw a fit once removed
At the mosque, in a very unflattering burka
Everyone else was feeling pretty hot. Oddly, even though Malacca is right on the sea, it was hotter than Singapore and quite uncomfortable to tour as a pedestrian. So we took a break at a riverside cafe, and then R and my parents went back to the hotel.
R guzzling water: it was SO hot
B and I continued on our walking tour, taking in the Maritime Museum (housed in a replica of a Portuguese galleon, which is why we visited). It was incredible to see how very small these ships were: I can't imagine the fortitude (or foolhardiness, depending on your point of view) of the sailors, venturing to completely unknown lands in such tiny wooden vessels. The museum itself was text heavy, unfortunately written in a style influenced more by propaganda than history (lots of stress on the "Malaysian people" even though such a concept didn't really exist at the time). However, I was interested to learn that the ship carrying all the loot from the sack of Malacca in 1511 (including 60 tons of gold!!) sank and has never been found. A good opportunity for some lucky treasure seeker, I think. (This website says it's worth $2.6 billion.)
I loved this sign: bird's nest is a Chinese delicacy (swallows use spit to make nests, then they collect it and eat it)
The museum/reproduction caravel
The next day we toured Jonker Street (the main shopping section, where I bought some cute crafts) and then St. Paul's Hill, site of the old Portuguese fort. Then we had to hustle back in the sweltering sun to our hotel, to meet our taxi driver for the ride back home (my mom was very anxious about timing, thus the hustling). My parents got lost along the way (because my mom was anxiously hustling off in her own direction). B and I repaired our nerves at the hotel bar with some gin and tonics, while my mother lost her camera in a final fit of anxiety, but in the end it all worked out. We boarded the taxi, drove past the Bukit China (the largest Chinese cemetary outside of China), and then headed back to Singapore.

No comments:

Post a Comment