Jan 29, 2009
Our trip to Melaka started off being a bit of a "filler" trip. Our original intent was to go to Taman Negara (which is a rain forest/hiking area about 6 hours NE of KL) but due to Chinese New Year and the fact that it was still the rainy season there - we developed alternate plans ...hence - Melaka!!
With 3 nights and 2 full days, Melaka was a great destination especially for foodies like us.
Melaka is a historic port city about 2 hours south of KL. Due to its seaside location, over the past 600 years, in addition to the native Malays, its inhabitants been Chinese, Portugese, Dutch and British (very similar to Cochin,India). With the different cultures, the city's people are a blend of different nationalities. Depending on if the wife is Malay and the husband Chinese (or vice versa) the specific cultures are Peranakan or Baba-Nonya.
we stayed at the quaint guesthouse just outside the historic city center. The Kancil Guesthouse is owned by Doud and run with his staff of great ladies. The accomodations were simple but very comfortable and his home reflects his love of unique and quirky antiques. He also has a wonderful garden sitting area complete with thatched room portico.
The guesthouse is geared towards the more mellow traveler and the patio area ended up being the meeting place for seasoned travelers to share their experiences. Thank you Yvonne for your insights.
Jim and I ventured into the historic area both of our full days. The 1st day, we checked out St. Paul's Church and the Dutch Studheuys museum and then the 2nd day we visited the Chang Ho Cultural Museum followed by lunch in Chinatown at D'art Cafe (good stop with cold beer).
The highlight of our short trip was dinner at Ole Soyana (a Baba-Noyna) restaurant. Our dinner consisted of savory flavored chicken Kapitan, prawns in a tamarind sauce (with the heads on) and morning glory - a veggie similar to spinach with stalks but sauteed with spices and a lot of garlic. The Melaka area is still celebrating Chinese New Year, so the restaurant was very festive and busy and full of locals.
Although unplanned, Melaka was a very enjoyable side trip and we would highly recommend a trip there and a stay at the Kancel Guesthouse.
Our last night in Malaysia was back in KL and quiet - playing cards on the patio and having dinner with Michelle and Adrian - a couple living in KL and staying at the Classic Budget Inn for a short time.
Off to Cambodia early 2/2.
Michelle (above) is added to our IASW list. She is living in KL, working in the hotel industry. During our conversation one evening, when she learned that we used to live in CA, she told us that after college she was hired to work in a hotel in CA - the Casa del Zorro. We were stunned, as most of you know (or not) that when we were living in CA - Jim volunteered at Anza-Borrego State Park near the small (really small) town of Borrego Springs - which is where Casa del Zorro is located. We were amazed that we'd meet someone in Malaysia that was familiar with Borrego Springs. Michelle didn't take the job and we moved to AZ but we felt it must be fate that brought us together.