|I arrived in Melaka in the pouring rain, found Jalan Jalan guesthouse and once the rain had subsided stepped out for a bite to eat with my new friend Gideon from Holland. He is a strict vegetarian so we had to wonder around for a while to fine something suitable. Gideon is kind, very political and intelligent. I spent the next day with him having a look around the heritage trail.
The town is quite cute- there is a well banked river that runs through the centre of town and lots of old Dutch buildings which makes it have a slight European feel
Melaka is an interesting place with a big colonial history. The Portuguese owned Melaka from most of the 16th Century until it was invaded by the Dutch. Then the British took it over and the Japanese controlled it during WWII. The thing I found most surprising was the violent history of all of the colonialists. All of these forces- amongst fighting each other, were also met with resistance from local forces.
It has a very Dutch feel here, with most of the heritage trail filled with Dutch buildings and architecture- the exception is St Paul's church which was built by the Portuguese and later destroyed by the Dutch-it is just ruins with a lot of old Dutch tombstones. Quite beautiful.
Gideon and I ended up at the Jetty where there is a large karaoke house- we walked passed all the rooms filled with Asian want to be superstars and found ourselves at the Jetty bar which over looked the water. We stayed for some beers.
Today the sun was shining and I met a new traveller Keith from the UK. We had decided to head to the botanical garden which is further out of town. On the (very long) bus trip there were 2 very cute indian boys that were keen to practice their English so we chatted with them about their dogs, their school, their families and taught them incy wincy spider.
It took us around 2 hours to get out to where we wanted to be and by that time the rain clouds had formed and we found ourselves only miniutes away from being soaked. We had lunch and waited out the rain, then we walk around the garden, which was more just like a rainforest. It was beautiful- the plants looked healthy and fed after the big rain. There was a sign that pointed us toward the pre-historic garden, which we both thought would be pre-historic plants...No No... it was filled with Plastic dinosaurs! Pretty hilarious! It took from the beauty of the nice plants just to leave a tacky taste in my mouth.
Trying to leave the botanic gardens back to the hostel turned out to be a bit of a nightmare- we had to walk along a very busy road for a couple of Km in order to find a bus stop- On the way we passed the ugliest water feature I have ever seen- it is now my mission to find and even uglier one...
Melaka is nice but is is not my favorite place so far. I think it is the local people here that make it.