Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Melaka to Kuala Lumpur. We wuz robbed!!!

Nikki and me left Singapore on Sunday morning. We had tickets for the express bus that travels north out of Singapore into Malaysia, to a small town called Melaka. There were only 6 people on the bus, so we had plenty of room. It was a weird bus too as there were 3 seats across - all the size of armchairs with a built in massager mode!! It really was cool, if a little dated. The journey was OK, stopping at the Singapore and Malaysia customs points to get passports stamped and then back on the bus for the next hour or two till we reached Melaka. The first thing we noticed when we arrive at Melaka bus station, was the massive 'TESCO', sign – It gets everywhere!!
Anyway, we sat and waited at the bus station, as Buffy was supposed to be here to meet us, but there was no sign of her. We took turns to wander around to find her and eventually Nikki came back with a big smile and a Canadian Buffy. It was really good to see her again and after saying our hello's we set off on a local bus into town and to our Hostel.

Melaka is an old port town, that has turned its hand to tourism, with museums on its history, when it was banded about between the Portuguese, Dutch and British in the 15 and 1600's. It now has a night market 3 times a week on Jonkers street, where we were staying, as well as famous tri-bike taxis. These bikes are all covered in flowers and lights so that they are very bright day and night. They also have sound systems that wouldn’t be amiss in a souped up hot hatch. Some of them play local Malaysian music, while others ride around town playing modern stuff like Lady Gaga and the like. They are a fun part of the town and some of them are just outrageous.

After booking into the Hostel we took a walk around town, had food and for the evening we wandered up and down the night market on Jonkers Street, checking out the stall and watching the bad karaoke, which is played everywhere from temples to a massive stage in the centre of town, where an old man sang while an equally old man danced next to him. The crowd loved it and it got even weirder when someone who looks like Michael Jackson (as he looks now, 2 years after his death) climbed onto the stage in shiny trousers and frilly shirt and continued the show.
After the Karaoke show we needed to mellow out, so we took a leisurely boat ride along the Melaka river, where all the brdges and houses are all lit up at night.

In the morning, I took Nikki out for a run alongsiode the canal before breakfast, after which we visited the church in the hill (St Pauls) and the reconstruction of a Portuguese galleon, that doubles as a museum. It was a nice relaxed morning and we continued by wandering down the seafront, through rubble and rubbish that has accumulated over the years, before having lunch in one of the big shopping centres 'The Mahkota Parade'. Lunch was good and afterwards we spotted an indoor archery range, so we spent 12 Ringitts ( About £2) firing arrows at targets for half an hour. It was then into the amusement arcade where we were on Sega Rally – my favourite car race game when the day was spoilt....

Nikki had put her bag down beside us while we played on the game and when she picked it up, it felt really light. Some arsehole had been in her bag ans stolen her Ipod touch, camera and mobile phone. It really put a dampener on things as we had been having a great day. The next couple of hours were a blur as we reported it to the security guard, who in turn passed us onto the tourist police and then the local police, where we spent an age waiting to get a report filed. It was strange though, as we could see through a glass door, to the cells in the back of the police station, where the people under arrest were dressed in purple jump suits and kept stripping as their friends or families were led in to visit them. After giving the statement and receiving the police report of the robbery, we had a couple of beers and relaxed. Nikki had calmed down a lot after being understandably upset earlier.
In the evening we returned back to the arcade to get rid of the remaining tokens. We spent them on one of those dance games – it was hard work, but fun and me and Nikki were soundly beaten by Buffy. We also took a trip up the gyro tower, which gives views over Melaka and the surrounding areas, before a jug of beer in a local bar and then we watched a bit of downloaded TV in the room before bed. We had a lovely cold room ,with great air-con, which was actually too cold to sleep, which is a nice position to be in. Its better than being too hot, which is what it is like most of the day here.
Tuesday morning and we had some free toast for breakfast before leaving the (really good) hostel and grabbing a local bus back to Melaka Sentral (sic) bus station, where the bis Tesco store is across the road. It cost us 12Ringets ( Again just about £2) for tickets to Kuala Lumpur, a 2 hour bus ride. The bus is even weirder than the one from Singapore. This time there are still 3 seats across the bus, but there is a gap between each row, so there are 2 window seats and one 'middle' seat in a row all on its own. Even though the seats are clearly labelled, the locals also didn’t quite understand the concept and sat wherever they liked, moving when someone got on and wanted to sit in their seat. It was like musical chairs as first one person got up, moved to their allocated seat, where someone else invariably sat, who then in turn moved to a different seat, moving someone else!! It would be a lot easier if they just sat where they should.
On arrival in Kuala Lumpur we got off the bus in a massive interchange station that is more like an airport. Surprisingly Malaysia has a lot of very modern and futuristic buildings like this even though there is a lot of squalor and shittiness around in the back streets.
A quick train ride into town (on a seat that looks like a urinal) and we were quickly in our hostel/hotel before 3pm.
We settled in and then took a walk around the city – ending up at the world famous Petronas towers – The main reason I wanted to come back here. On Ozbus we had spent less than 2 hours here and now we have 5 whole days. The towers are spectacular during the day so we took some photos and then had some dinner in an American diner in the shopping centre under the towers. Buffies mate Joel is arriving tomorrow and we didn’t want to see too much of the city before he arrives, so we don’t have to do it all twice, so we went to the cinema and watched a British movie called 'The Infidel', which was surprisingly good.
After the cinema it was a quick walk outside to see the gardens outside the Towers and we were blown away by the sight of the towers all lit up at night, towering 450metres above us. A stunning sight, well worth the trip here.
After the obligatory photos, we took a walk back through town to the hotel and had a good nights sleep.

In the morning we had a good lie in past 10am and then went shopping for a new camera for Nikki, after hers was stolen in Melaka. We visited one shopping centre called BB Plaza, where after a look around we got her a really good camera from a really nice Malaysian lady who couldn’t do enough to help us. We continued looking around and ended up in another shopping mall that is 10 stories high and has a massive theme park and roller coaster inside!! Nikki went to take a photo of the roller coaster with her new camera, but after getting it out an setting it up the roller coaster had finished!! haahaa! I think she needs to be a little quicker.
Buffy had left us by now to get to the airport to meet Joel, who will be travelling with us from today, so me and Nikki continued our day out, with a beer in a nice bar, before am afternoon siesta in the hotel.

Nikki and Buffy meet!

Then have a beer together

Michael Jackson lives?

Archery practice

Up the Melaka Tower

She is his girlfriend!! sad

Petronas towers

Same without a flash - cool!

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