Melaka is a nice quiet town (but has terrible mosquitos…if you come here, bring extra bug spray!), so I decided to stay a couple days longer than I originally expected.
As you walk around the city, it feels incredibly diverse, and very unique. It was founded by Hindus from Sumatra, shortly after that was protected by the Chinese, then taken over by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British. Add to that the fact that it was such a major sea port and was constantly visited by traders from around the world and you’ve got a very interesting place. Depending where you are in the city, it can feel SE Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Chinese, or European. This can be seen both in the people and the architecture, and a perfect example of the architectural variety can bee seen in the Kampung Kling Mosque.
Straight from Wikipedia – “The architectural design of the mosque is a cross between Sumatran, Chinese, Hindu, and the Melaka Malay”…”The mosque also has a blend of English and Portuguese glazed tiles, Corinthian columns, with symmetrical arches in the main prayer hall, a Victorian chandelier, a wooden pulpit with Hindu and Chinese-style carvings, and Moorish cast iron lamp-posts”
I spent a bit of time walking around Bukit Cina (Chinese Hill), which is a massive Chinese cemetery – the largest outside of China.
It had a fairly different feel than any other cemetery I’ve seen. The small graves were large, and the large graves were absolutely massive, and they seems to be randomly scattered along the hillside.
I thought this one was big (probably about 20ft wide)
Until I saw this one, which I couldn’t get far enough away from to capture the whole thing
The grounds were fairly unkempt, with lots of the stonework showing signs of it’s age
This one had a small tree starting to grow out of it
And not far away, and idea of what that tree will have done in the next couple decades
A couple were surround by heavy barbed wire looking more like something from a war than a cemetery
Dead grass and trees throughout don’t make the place feel any less creepy, that’s for sure
Someone left oranges for whoever is buried here…just for the record, if anyone leaves me oranges after I’m dead, I won’t be too pleased…pulled pork and whiskey is all I’ll be interested in at that point.
Moving on to the living, I stopped at Cheng Hoon Teng, a Chinese temple, which is also the oldest temple (that’s still in use) in Malaysia. It was built in 1645, entirely from materials that were imported from China
On my last night in the city, I went for a run with the local Hash House Harriers group. Hashing (as they call it), as far as I can tell, involves meeting up with a bunch of friends, going for a run, then drinking (a lot) of beer.
Hashing actually started in Malaysia, so what better place to be introduced to it than the motherland? It was started in 1938 by British officers who would meet every Monday evening and go for a run to work off their hangovers from the weekend. I’m not sure when they implemented the idea to start drinking again immediately after the run was finished.
Some guys at the guesthouse I was staying in were pretty involved with it in Melaka, and they convinced myself and a few others staying there to go. We had a hot and humid 12k run through palm and rubber plantations, then cooled off afterwards with some beers.
A newly planted portion of palm plantation
A more developed area
Harvest from a rubber tree
The next morning it all feels like an exercise in masochism…you have sore legs from the run and a throbbing head from the beer.
Today, after recovering from the run, I made the quick trip up to Kuala Lumpur, and after a bit of driving around the city, I found a spot to park my bike with the Petronas Towers in the background.
I’ll spend a few days here and see what the city has to offer.