We had been invited to stay with Malaysian relations in Kuala Lumpur but we still had a few days in hand before we pitched up with the car.
So we decided to head South to Malacca, which we understood to be similar to George Town but potentially better?
We were in need of a shower so Malacca for us, needed to include facilities! We found ourselves in a friendly joint over shops with a pop up street food restaurant outside the door at night. There were no windows, but we consoled ourselves with the fact that there was more space than in Landy, plus there were facilities down the corridor and air conditioning, which was not optional!
In common with much of Malaysia, in Malacca there is evidence of the multiple ethnicities, Malay, Baba Nonya, Chinese, Indians mainly Tamils, and more besides. There are so many different culinary offerings reflecting the ethnicities and again streets and areas, although mainly Malay and Muslim, host Indian and Chinese communities side by side.
Like George Town the historical city centre of Malacca has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 7 July 2008. And whilst perhaps George Town is more edgy, Malacca is much more accessible to visitors. It has been well restored, the buildings are buzzing with activity, it has become a magnet for many shops and cafes which provide good browsing opportunities for its many visitors.
The girls in the cover photo were tourists from neighbouring Jakarta. They said they liked it because it was similar to Jakarta!
If I could only find time to do one of either Malacca or George Town, I would probably choose Malacca as it is less demanding, very pretty with its canals and bridges, and it is easy to find the recommended places to visit including the hugely popular Junker Street which at night becomes a seething pedestrianised night market selling food, clothing and more besides!
Like George Town this sea port was strategically important to the many colonisers, including the British, the Dutch and the Portuguese. Each has left its mark and many old Colonial Buildings now host museums.
It was important mainly because of its geography, controlling the Straits of Malacca, but also because the area was rich in spices and sought after culinary delights.
We could have spent more time here, but before we left we did find time to visit the Malacca Straits Mosque, which sits out into the ocean on a promontory and provides a superb setting for the dying light.
On returning to Kuala Lumpur, we sought to link up with a German friend whom we had met in Pattaya. His wife had popped back to Europe for work and he had headed to the cool higher altitude climate of Genting Highlands, just outside KL. The recommended parking spots were no longer there, so we linked up briefly in a massive coach park which hosted the many buses bringing visitors up to the cool mountain top hotels. Whilst the climate was great, the built up areas were pretty grim. Large over sized, over priced resorts with nothing to do except, eat, sleep and potentially gamble.
As we were saying our goodbyes in the morning, our friend realised that his massive truck was slowly rolling down the slope towards the parked coaches. He ran after it but failed to shimmy back into the cab and it came to a crunching halt when it reached one of the empty parked coaches.
As you can only imagine, the day did not quite pan out as planned. Luckily no-one was seriously hurt, although our friend did suffer some colateral damage in the chase. As for the truck, as luck would have it, there was a main dealer not far away, expecting to take the vehicle in for servicing that day and they had bodyshop facilities. So things could have been a lot lot worse.
Once all the necessaries had been dealt with and our friend was in ‘safe hands’ we took ourselves off to Kuala Lumpur to meet up with Seri, Ghani and family. Seri is my first Cousin, being the adopted Malaysian daughter of my Uncle, David Wilson. This was going to be a really interesting experience and we were really looking forward to meeting all the family. But more of that later.
They had guest accommodation and plenty of space for us to do our final preparations to ship Landy to Australia. This was going to involve me in an excess of cleaning whilst Jim visited sites and mosques in the heat.
But more of that later. Yes even car cleaning has a story or two.