Loca Over Malacca

When we booked for a flight for Kuala Lumpur, Malacca (or Melaka in Malay) was originally not in the itinerary. Friends, however, insisted that it is the best place to visit especially if we are planning to go to Singapore from Malaysia. They raved about the 3Cs : Colors, Cuisine and Culture. It got me thinking – might as well go to another heritage site on my birthday since I love history.

Seeing Red

Like any town surrounded by water, Malacca is one of the trading spots in the spice route. Chinese, Indians, Arabs and Europeans have passed by this seaside city that faces its own Strait and the Indian Ocean. Wares have been traded. Intermarriages happened. Influence of other cultures are very much evident in this side of Malaysia. Conquered by Portuguese and Dutch, the imposing Church by the hill, the water wheel by the river and the “red” square shout European. Yes, red is everywhere – from the Melaka Church to the scaffoldings at A Fomosa. Due to its Chinese origins, the lanterns, signages and the large Jonker Street stage are coloured crimson. There are yellows and greens and oranges yet the colour of life and love is everywhere.

red postal box

red postal box

Crimson gate of our guesthouse.

Crimson gate of our guesthouse.

Red scaffoldings in St. Paul's Ruins and A Fomosa

Red scaffoldings in St. Paul’s Ruins and A Fomosa

Parade of Hello Kitty rickshaws

Parade of Hello Kitty rickshaws in different shades of red.

Something to light the alley.

Something to light the alley.

Backstreet guest house, Mamee restaurant, sunny day and a colorful temple

Different colors : Backstreet guest house, Mamee restaurant, sunny day and a colorful temple

Hot, Cold and Sweet

My first travel abroad 10 years ago introduced me to Malaysian cuisine — or the mixed of Malay, Indian and Chinese influences on the food. It didn’t leave a bitter (or spicy) taste in my tongue then and it is still on my eat list after tasting the good eats in this side of Malaysia. The noodles kept me breathless with all the spice and fish cakes. The simplicity of the dumpling noodle paired up with a strong kopi c kept me energized for a morning of walking.

Noodles galore at Jonker 88

Noodles galore at Jonker 88

Peranakan noodles, chicken 3 ways and musses in a pot

Peranakan noodles, chicken 3 ways and musses in a pot

The story of noodles continued until lunch with the Nyonya laksa that is best eaten with a tissue on hand—or a crunchy and sweet rojak on the side. To counter all the soups, an ice cendol or ice kachang made of shaved iced and flavoured beans and sweet nothings drizzled with coconut syrup, is the answer. A dessert that looks like a meal by itself. It was an attack to the senses when I first tasted the syrup that I decided to get a solid form of the sugar.

My new favorite : Rojak!

My new favorite : Rojak!

Ice kachang

Ice kachang

Since it was relatively warm in the city, cold treats came in between walks : iced pops with red or green beans, cendol, cold durian puffed and iced kopi o. Eating iced pops reminded me of younger days – days you buy iced buko straight from the styro box. I think I never forgot how to eat ice pops real fast – bite the ice!

Night cap was composed of a gula malacca cake (since it was my birthday), a dare to stuff one’s mouth with durian puff (the tastiest since I tried it in Singapore too!), sweet potato pie since I am so impartial with this root crop, a bit of egg tart (hey, this was a former Portuguese colony) and the list goes on.

Street desserts

Street desserts

The Place the Baba dan Nyonya Built

There might have been strong presence of the Europeans in the city but nothing can compare to the intertwined cultures of Chinese and Malay. There are areas that Malay culture is very eminent as shown in their architecture. Yet, shophouses that dot the area shout Chinese. The Baba dan Nyonya Heritage Museum is one of the best places to dropby to learn about this great combo. There are no shots of the interiors of the house but photos can’t put justice to the affluence and the strong attachment they have for their married culture. It was like a bahay na bato with a whole lot of Chinese stuff.

02 Museum

01_culture 1

Outside the Baba dan Nyonya heritage house

Outside the Baba dan Nyonya heritage house

My favourite parts of the tour? Holding on to the marble (to cool you off) and admiring the yellow paint interiors of the hallways. It is so admirable that the 4th generation were able to preserve the original house.

It cannot be discounted that Peranakans love their history so much. Admittedly, developments can be seen from the outskirts (or shall I say the city center) but preservation of their culture is still on top of the list. From the shophouses to the food to the lively shows on weekend nights, these speak volume of how the people in Malacca treat their history.

St. Paul's Ruins

St. Paul’s Ruins

Thirty-six hours in Malacca is not enough. I would love to go back and explore all the churches and visit all the museums. Take a cruise in Sungai Malacca during the day to see the arts by the river. Eat the chicken rice balls and go biking afterwards.

Malacca had me when I saw the light illuminating the river.

A river runs through it.

A river runs through it.

Advertisements

Foto Friday : Hot and Cold

Hot Rafa (source: nadalnews.com)

Hot Rafa (source: nadalnews.com)

I cannot deny my love for Rafa. This photo is not for some shoot but one of his game faces worn during the ATP Finals in Rio.  One day, I know that I will be watching you playing LIVE.

Ice kachang

Ice kachang

The syrupy coconut sugar made my heart melt. I remembered telling my cousin that I wanted the flavor with the brown syrup. Lo and behold, all ice kachang(s) are drizzled with it. I even brought home chunks of that sugar.

An All Girls Weekend

A trip that took two weeks to prepare. It was a blessing that my cousin joined us to the so-called 2nd leg of the SEA trip after doing the 1st leg in 2012.

It was a frantic preparation, including last minute buys for travel essentials that’ll be needed for a hot and humid weather in Malaysia and Singapore. One thing that we were ready for — our flight! We were way too early for our 2PM takeoff.

Upon arriving in KL’s low cost carrier teminal (LCCT), we headed out for an early dinner of nasi lemak. That fueled us til we reached Malacca, a three-hour bus trip from LCCT. We were booked for a 9PM trip thru Transnasional thus a dinner along the way was not an option.

image

Reaching Malacca at almost 12mn was like being in the zone. A very quiet zone with red lanterns flickering on the shophouses of all the jalans. What was needed is some oriental music in the background. I can not contain my excitement when I got the first glimpse of the heritage town. I imagined how colorful the place is during the day.

Malacca is a place like no other. I will not describe how friendly Peranakans are but how they looked out for your safety. We were twice reminded by residents to keep safe of our belongings while we were walking in Jonker Street. It was like a concerted effort among residents to protect their reputation as a safe historical site.

Backstreet guest house, Mamee restaurant, sunny day and a colorful temple

Backstreet guest house, Mamee restaurant, sunny day and a colorful temple

Malacca is a place for old world buff like me. Cobbled streets. Check. Interesting facts about its history. Check. Old (shop)houses and turn of the century ruins. Check. A river that runs through it. Check.

A day was not enough but we had to move to our next destination – Hello, Singapore!

The city state is all modern dotted with remnants of history. Cosmopolitan. Worldly. Hot. Truth be told, this is my first time in the land of Lah! I was excited to try out the chicken rice, tons of indian set meals and laksa. Fortunately, my cousin who resides there brought us to all the places and had us experience a fast break look of the city (aka river cruise).

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far far away...

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far far away…

jog

I can never be happy enough to have a 5-day all girls trip. A very long weekend indeed.

Love you, mate!

I can’t recall how my fascination with the land down under started. It must be the laidback vibe  I get from the place.  Maybe it was because of a cricket crazy furniture manager. Or Ian Thorpe and swimming with the sharks jokes. Or my favorite summer Olympics.

All I know is that I wished to be there that I even wrote in an online goal setting community (www.43things.com) in 2001 that I will go there soon, among other things.

Little did I know that I achieved my goal in 2012 , eleven years after. With added bonus — I met HIM and walked under the stars. Okey, I did set my goal in 2001 to be kissed under the stars but a stroll along the moonlit Bondi Beach, and of late —at Botany Foreshore Park and all imaginable land beside a body of water. I can’t complain that a water baby finally met a man in love with water.

Still under the stars

Still under the stars

As both of us are still counting Saturdays until our next fishing trip and beach adventure…I say,

p2

something that is still travel relevant.

Very soon :D

Very soon 😀

The Purge : Chinese New Year Version

The other week was a long weekend. It was supposed to be a staycation or a quick road trip somewhere south or north of the city. Unfortunately, I am saving my travel funds for some bigtime travels in March with friends and another travel in the middle of the year. The 3-day weekend ended up being holed up in my condo.

Then, I decided to check out my stuff hidden behind those closed cabinets for a much needed “after Christmas” cleaning.  Letters, old notebooks, a draft of my college thesis, my beloved DVD sets featuring my favorite Korean actor, receipts /billing statements and scrapbook materials. I realized that I have amassed alot of stuff.

Before Emails.

Before Emails.

The Untouchables: My Hyeon Bin Collection

The Untouchables: My Hyeon Bin Collection

I was lucky that my bestfriend volunteered to arrange my files in the numerous clearbooks at home. Then, we saw the boxes. Letters and postcards sent by friends and family when email was still an idea of the future. Heck, I even saw the stamp collection of my bestfriend in one of the boxes.

The cleaning ended up with reading some notes and laughing at the biggest crush I had over an athlete. Hah, I am not talking about Rafa!

Updated wall

Updated wall

At the end of the day, the cabinet is neatly arranged. The frames on the wall are updated. The wires are tied up well. My tiny condo looks a tad bigger.

Not bad for the Lunar New Year celebration. A good time to kickstart the new year.

A reward for a job well done - new shoes for besty and me!

A reward for a job well done – new shoes for besty and me!