|The bus journey to Melaka was packed yet again and probably ranks right up there as one of the worst yet. Whilst the ride was ok, I was sat next to a guy from Pakistan who totally freaked me out (yet another downside of travelling alone). He spent two hours telling me that I was beautiful, I had beautiful lips and asking if I had a husband or if I was Muslim! He even tried teaching me Hindi, singing the songs from the video that was playing to me and reading my palm - apparently, I'm going to have two boys and a girl and I was going to Melaka - hmmnn... I was friendly at first but even feigning sleep didn't deter him from touching me and he became very insistent on holding my hand and on me giving him my phone number. He also tried giving me his necklace as a 'gift of friendship' and when I refused, physically put it on me - its now in the bin so I'm probably cursed!! I felt so uncomfortable and was pretty close to tears when I got off the bus. I don't know what I would have done if I had been alone. I can cope with the shouts and the stares most of the time but that is the first time that anyone has really made me feel that uncomfortable and even slightly intimidated. I'm sure he was just trying to be friendly and it was some kind of cultural mix-up but I must admit that I can't wait to get to Australia now. Malaysia is great but it sometimes feels that there is so much that I can't do just in case it is disrespectful - yet it is ok for other people to openly stare and harrass me!
Stil, we booked into a lovely guesthouse in Melaka, reccommended to me by the guys I had met in Langkawi. Its quite small but really clean and there's loads of places to just sit and chill out, which I think is the plan for tonight. I kind of wish that I was staying here for more than one night but I've already booked my ticket back to the dirt (and hairballs) of KL for tomorrow.
On Wednesday we took the 'Melaka Heritage Tour' which is basically a 3 hour walk around the city that takes in most of the main attractions. Melaka seems like a really nice place so I have decided to stay an extra night. The colonial buildings are interspersed by tiny Mosques a,d Hindu and Chinese Temples. There is also a strong Chinese influence here although we did manage to sniff out the local Indian cafes again for our daily fix of roti and dahl.
Visited the only shop in the world that makes shoes for bound feet - very odd. Chinese well-to-do women used to break the bones in their feet and bind them up to fit into these tiny shoes that are about three inches long. It was supposedly a symbol of wealth and beauty but I personally found the little embroidered shoes kind of creepy (maybe that had something to do with the fact that Childsplay 3 was showing in the hostel the other night?!) Although this custom isn't followed anymore, they still make the shoes for tourist souvenirs and the owner proudly showed us where Jacques Chirac had signed the guestbook when he had visited and bought a pair.
In the afternoon I headed over to the shopping mall to cool off a bit but yet again got fed up with the stares and groups of young lads daring eachother to go and stand next to me.
Quiet evening although a quick trip to the bank nearly put me off my dinner. On the walls were loads of photos of road accident victims - they were so gross - legs and heads missing etc. Even Debs and Rach, who are nurses, turned a bit green. From what I can gather, it seems to be a shock tactic to put people off riding motorbikes (or something like that). It certainly works as I don't even want to get on the bus tomorrow!