i traveled up to malacca for 3 days a couple of weekends ago to visit my relatives there and to just take a break in general. everytime i visit, i wish i could stay a little longer but with all the work i had to clear back home, a short trip was all i could afford.
below are the photos i have selected to share, with the accompanying captions. enjoy.
my second aunt’s beloved kampung house, also my accommodation during my visit. the house was renovated a while ago and the once wooden walls replaced with concrete. for me, a stay here beats any fancy hotel anytime.
the outhouse where you can take a shower with water pumped from a well.
view from my bed.
2 of my extremely loving and generous aunts – second and fifth.
hospitality extended. a meal whipped up by my second aunt, who is one hell of a cook.
scenes from the window of my cousin’s car. it rained a lot while i was there.
no trip to malacca would be complete without a stop at a satay celup (a variety of bites on satay sticks cooked in a spicy, peanut-based gravy) outlet, so i had dinner at the best satay celup establishment in malacca, and possibly the known world – ban lee siang.
this is the real deal. satay celup stalls live and die by the taste and the quality of the gravy that the food is cooked in.
the old folks you see in the background are part of the family that owns the place. from day till night, they string bits of meats, vegetables and other food items onto satay sticks in anticipation of the onslaught of customers in the evening.
what was left of my meal.
when it is time to pay the bill, a waitress will come over and count the number of sticks taken. you pay for what you don’t finish too, so waste not.
on the second day i visited my first aunt, who doesn’t get around much these days;
then a stall operated by of one of my aunts for lunch. i spent an entire afternoon there because it started to rain very heavily and i could not get to town. so i sat, i ate, i drank, and i made some pictures.
when the rain finally subsided, i went shopping at dataran pahlawan and mahkota parade, 2 of the malls in the middle of town.
faux snow with foam pellets. choking hazard, no?
the bus repair workshop/graveyard behind my aunt’s house;
more pictures of the area at dusk;
and my uncle’s obsession with the brick game.
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whenever i speak of going to malacca, i always refer to the trip as “going back“. that is the way that my mum puts it, because malacca is the place when she was born and raised. almost all of her family still reside there.
i returned from what i have come to describe as my “annual pilgrimage” last wednesday. the trip to malacca this year was a short 3 day/2 night affair, largely thanks to the fact that my reservist unit is on standby and i could be recalled anytime. i figured that it was pretty safe for me to skip town for a couple of days and no longer. the prospect of having to explain myself to a bunch of numb-skulled superiors should i fail to materialise if my unit got activated does not really excite me.
below i have posted some of the more interesting photos from the trip, along with the corresponding text. feel free to post comments or questions. enjoy.
how we roll — there are a few ways to get to malacca. being broke students, my brother and i naturally chose the most cost-effective way – mrt to kranji station, bus 170 across the causeway to larkin bus terminal in johor, then onto an interstate bus for the ride to malacca.
on the interstate bus with our “skinny stethoscopes”. it’s not easy shooting yourself with a dslr sans tripod and remote trigger, but we managed.
one of the many pylons that dot the malaysian landscape. the cables stretch as vastly as the roads and the land that they overhang. a strange kind of communion between nature and the works of man.
once in malacca, the typical way for a foreigner to get around would be by taxis, which do not have a meter in them. as such, the cabbies would often call out exhorbitant charges if they get a sniff that you are a tourist. since i have relatives who are locals, i always am updated on the prevailing fares from one point to another. if i sense that a cabbie is trying to rip me off, i just grunt in disapproval and walk away. they are plenty more around lazing in the slow afternoons. regardless, fares usually hover around the 20 ringgit mark.
taxis aside, there are also buses that run on irregular schedules. if you are willing to wait an hour at times as well as endure the less than comfortable ride on these rickety old “tin cans”, you can save a lot of money. bus fares are around 1 to 2 ringgit.
the inside of a bus run by the patt hup bus company. this is a company that does not believe in keeping up with modernity and upgrading its fleet (not exactly) of buses.
this boy can’t wait to grow up and buy his own proton ___ra (or “ga”).
while we are still on the subject of beat-up old buses, adjacent to my auntie’s place is a lot where buses go to rust and die. they are stripped of all recyclable materials (and their dignity as well) and then just left there. clearly, the authorities there have a lot to learn in terms of waste-management.
above is the photo of my auntie’s kampung house bathed in the glow of morning. i woke up at 6 a.m. that day (no one wakes up at 6 a.m. there because there is no chase, corporate or otherwise) to shoot the sunrise and got the following:
in case you are wondering why there are temperate-looking trees in the background, it is because there is currently this big effort in malacca to reclaim land and to make the coastal areas more aesthetically-pleasing. let us not judge them, for we each have our own way of dealing with the current economic downturn. in their case – potentially unsuccessful attempts to boost tourism.
malacca is home to some really great food. my favourite local specialty has to be “satay celup”. a bunch of starving individuals sit around a table with a cooking pot of peanut-based gravy in which they dip their food (on satay sticks, of course) and wait impatiently to stuff their mouth.
the boy caught in the act of doing so is my nephew terence, by the way.
being a historical city, there is no shortage of culture and heritage in malacca, even though much of it is not the doing of the locals. there is a strong portugese presence in terms of historical structures. below are what remains of a church on a hill, and the handless statue that stands vigil.
a final note, they are not 2 seasons behind in terms of fashion.
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for more on my thoughts, click here.
as a kid, every bit of a holiday is to be savoured – with unjaded senses that take in the world impartially.
i can remember looking forward to even the 4-hour coach ride to malacca, a place that i have come to consider a home away from home, a destination to which i make my annual pilgrimage.
upon arrival it would be off to my auntie’s old kampung abode, the smell of wood and incense permeating the air. and the quietness that only a place left behind by time can preserve.
all that is old is gold to an old soul.
tomorrow i will make that journey yet again. i am looking forward to seeing my relatives. i will look forward to visiting the museums and the monuments. i am also looking forward to finding the bits of my soul that i left behind through the years.
and may i also find joy in the long bus rides that will bring me there, and take me home again.
for more of my thoughts, click here.