KL and Melaka
26.05.2009 - 30.05.2009 89 °F
Arriving at the KL train station and making my way to the LRT train was confusing in the hustle and bustle of a big city. But asking for directions from anyone you are guided in usually perfect English and lots of smiles. The train station i wanted was one stop north of KL sentral. Yes sentral is Malay for central. You find a lot of words in Malay that sound almost the same as the English equivalent. Malya is also one of those languages that is phonetic. What you see is what you say. From Pasar Seni I followed directions Id written down earlier to the guest house a friend Id met in India said he'd heard was a good place. It was right on the edge of China town and just a few blocks away. I walked straight past it and got turned around and turned around again and was sweating my ass off with my backpack and day pack all in the 85% humidity. I spied another guest house and thought Id check it out and maybe get directions to the place I needed to go. The Reggae Guest House is like an oasis of luxury. I walked in and thought wow nice place but its way out of my price range. The woman on the front desk was like everyone Id met in Malaysia, happy and smiling and helpful. Ok Im totally waffling.
After settling in I took a trip up to Batu caves. The buses are efficient and drivers mostly knowledgeable and friendly. Caves were interesting, but to be honest I enjoyed the little tourist stand in the mouth of the cave that had Hindu goddesses playing some funky little tune that rang through my head for the rest of the day.
Kl is a modern city with Mono rail, light rail, and buses. There are some older inner city areas and they are now starting to realize they need to protect these areas.
KL is a shoppers paradise. I hate shopping, but it was worth going just to see the amazing malls. Times Square is the daddy of them all.
After a few days in KL it was time to head out into the rest of the country. No easy task to leave the comfy guest house. Melaka is south and a 3 hour bus ride. I arrived and found Ringos Guest house, run by Howard. The reviews had said it wasnt a particularly clean guest house, but Howard was a fantastic host. When I entered and was met by Howard, the first thing I noticed was his two mountain bikes. After a little chat it turned out he was going to be doing a bike ride with the local mountain bike club and said I could come along. Two of the other travelers came along too. The ride was 47km into the countryside, down small streets and out in the dark. These guys were great. It was just like a group ride at home, but in blazing heat and we started out at 9.00pm.
After doing the big road ride on wednesday they told me about another ride that was all off road in the jungle on Friday. i couldnt miss that one, so stuck around in Melaka and went out in the middle of the night again. Flat tires are just part of a ride, these guys are pretty efficient in changing them.
Ciggy breaks on a ride!! How serious can they be.
Still a great ride, and good to get some exercise.
Doing the tourist things in Melaka
Big fake Portuguese ship, that houses a pretty nice museum with all the history from the Portuguese through the Dutch to the English. All had their turn in Melaka and turned it from a successful trading port to a forgotten about backwater.
Old town center
Melaka at night really puts on a show.
They love their food here, all the influences of China, Europe and Asia come together. The food markets are the best places to eat. large open courts with food stalls on the perimeter and seating in the middle. walk the stalls and give them your order, sit at your table and they bring the food.
I'm so bad about reaching places and then not being able to leave. eventually it had to be done. Pack the bags and say good bye to a wonderful time in Melaka. The bike group have tempted me to come back to compete in what they call a jamboree. A 12 hour bike race in October. Next stop Penang.