Natasha and Geoff's Round-the-World Adventure travel blog

Melaka

Melaka

Melaka

 


So, as per the last blog; our first 2 days in Malaysia were spent with the Tweedie Family. They generously put us up for the night and in the morning, took us to the neighborhood restaurant to experience our first taste of Malaysian food. The Malay breakfast traditionally includes Roti, which is a flat bread similar to Indian Naan. This roti can be plain (roti canai), or dressed up with egg, onion, cheese, etc. The roti is usually served with a lentil curry (dhal) to dip the bread in (roti prata). Then to drink you can have tea, coffee or Milo, hot or iced,as well as lime juice or iced lemon tea (like Nestle). So, I ordered roti prata, and an iced lemon tea. The curry was not spicy, which is good for me, and had a really nice taste. Geoff had iced coffee, and roti made with egg in the middle (kind of an omelet effect) with the dhal. He also really enjoyed his breakfast, but they like their drinks sweet and the coffee is made by mixing very strong coffee with condensed milk and “some” sugar. ;) So, after all 8 of us having a few pieces of roti and an iced drink each, Joylane treated us and picked up the 26 ringgit tab. That’s about $1 Cad per person, and we were all nicely satisfied. It’s hard to comprehend that you can actually eat a full meal for $1, but hey, we liked the idea. Joylane got the kids started on their home school work and then took us on a tour of Johor Bahru, including a drive past the sultan’s massive property which is just around the block from their neighborhood. After a welcomed at home lunch of simple sandwiches, it’s amazing how good a taste of home is after a few months, Jolayne took us to the bus depot. We were bound for Melaka, a 3 hr bus ride, and the bus depot is crazy enough to make your head spin. Tons of touts hollering at you to book with their bus, and we were so glad that we had Joylane there to negotiate in Malay and get us on the right bus that was leaving in 10 minutes, at $4 per ticket. So we put our luggage below, said thank you and good bye, and boarded the coach. We sat in the front row, noticed that there were seatbelts and reached down to pull them on. When I reached in beside the seat, I saw something move! I pulled my hand back and looked down to see a cockroach quickly scurrying back down to the darkness below. EEEEEEK! Geoff compassionately offered me his seat but the belt on that seat didn’t extend far enough to do up anyway. Oh, well, I haven’t seen seat belts on coach busses before anyway. The whole trip, Geoff kept an eye on the gap between the seat and the window, and our little friend poked his head up a few times but mostly stayed below the seat. Well, we made it to Melaka and spent a few days there exploring the city and learning about the historical and cultural treasures that make the city the tourist draw it is. Funny enough, our bus ride leaving Melaka was also interesting, but no bugs this time. Since we were on our own to book this next bus to Kuala Lumpur, we were glad when the driver of the taxi we took to the bus station offered to help us get on the right bus. We told him where we were going and said that we wanted a non-stop, nice (first class) bus. There are tons of different companies and they range in quality from a little up from a school bus to a “greyhound” to a luxury coach. The issue here was cleanliness, we don’t mind ridding on a basic bus but we didn’t want to share our seat this time with a cockroach. The other thing is that not all busses are licensed and if you get on one of these, and the police do a “sting” at a rest stop, you would be left stranded with no bus. So we were glad when the taxi driver negotiated for what we thought was a nice bus. At 50% more than the last ticket ($6) for a shorter ride we figured it would be a nicer bus. We walked over to the right bus and it turned out to be more basic, and perhaps even a little less clean than the last bus. We looked at each other, sighed, and boarded the bus. I can happily report that we didn’t have to share our seat with any bugs, but our other request for a non-stop route must have also been lost in translation. We started to worry when after a few minutes down the road, we noticed that the sign for Kuala Lumpur pointed in the opposite direction. Well, after 3 stops to pick up more passengers and what seemed to add an hour to the trip, we were on the right path down the highway. I can’t call the rest of the ride smooth because either the driver didn’t know how to drive a stick shift or the bus was so old that the clutch was practically gone. Shifting into 1st and 2nd were almost enough to through you out of your seat. Although, once we were on open highway everyone was able to relax, and as we approached the city, we sat up to enjoy the great view of the twin towers. A little ways into town, we stopped in what we thought was traffic, but were confused when all but 2 other passengers got off. We asked the driver if this was the central bus station, because we were lined up along other busses, but just stopped on the road. He told us yes this was the last stop and that we were to get off here. When we got off there was a man to help us get our bags out from underneath and asked us if we needed a taxi. Well we didn’t know where we were and so said yes and fallowed him (across the busy road) to get into his taxi. I was getting a little nervous by this point. We told him our hotel name and he told us it would be RM25. Well we had not realized we needed to go to the ATM and only had RM12 with us. After asking us a few more times if that was all the money we had, he grumbled and agreed to take us for RM12. As we drove away we passed the busses lined up and realized they were all queuing to enter the ramp to the station about 1 block down. This made me feel better, knowing we had not just been dropped off in the middle of nowhere, but understood the whole ordeal when we later found out that the rate for taxi in KL starts at RM2 per kilometer. Being that the trip should have been no more than RM10, we were glad to have forgotten to go to the ATM, just for the principal of it all.

As we sat on the bus to Melaka, Geoff and I looked at each other and said “can you believe that we are traveling through Malaysia right now?”. We both smiled and said “no, I can’t. Can you? ”. This trip has been amazing and surreal so far, and to think we still have half to go is crazy. We are completely enjoying every minute but of course think of all of you often, as we miss you tons. Feel free to leave comments on the page by clicking "leave a message". We love to hear from everyone at home.



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