As you might remember from my last post, I had been thinking about heading over to Langkawi for the duration of my time alone before my parents came out to Malaysia. However, after researching it a bit more, I thought that without companions it might be a repeat of Kampot all over again. Sadly Izzy and Aislynn couldn't make it down to meet me as there just wasn't enough time and also the price of flights were astronomical (but we will see them in California!)! So, without the girls, I thought it be better if I headed somewhere that focuses on things to look at rather than socialising and beach time. After a mammoth googling session, I decided to go to Melaka.
This is a picture from a street performance of punjabi dancing I found in Penang.
So, on Monday, I hopped on a bus for 10 hours and eventually arrived at the hostel I had booked (L'armada Guesthouse). I had checked on tripadvisor and wiki travel to find an affordable yet “good” hostel in the town. Sadly, when I arrived, I was horrified that I was left to struggle up 3 floors of a stairwell which smelled and looked like it had a tramp in residence. Imagine the stairwells in public car parks…yeah, kind of like that. When I eventually got myself up to the third floor, I was greeted by a man who I took to be the owner who gave me my key (padlock) to my room and proudly said “I've given you a big room as we are pretty empty at the moment”. Although this was a nice gesture, it was slightly undermined by the fact that the room resembled a prison cell (that is no exaggeration) and the bed had no sheets or covers and was, essentially, a grubby mattress with dubious looking pillows. After resigning myself to one night in the cell (it was already 7pm), I ventured back into the common room to ask for a map which was rustled up from under the mattress of a day bed in the corner. The guy I took to be the owner couldn't tell me where on the map the hostel was or, apart from a stall in the car park outside the window, where to get some dinner. As you can imagine, I was pretty miserable and weepy at all of this.
However, it's times like that when you remember how great your family are: I received not one but two unexpected calls from Alex who was very supportive and worried for me, as well as mum giving me great advice and pep talks! 🙂 there's nothing like speaking to your loved ones to make you feel better and loved…even when you feel lonely and intimidated.
So, long story short, I moved to alternative accommodation the following day. After the “hostel owner” vaguely waved out of a window and said “go in that direction for things to see”, I took myself off to find the centre of the historical town. I wasn't let down by this as, once I'd found it (and a map kindly supplied by a hotel into which I stuck my head), I was inundated by places to eat, shops to peruse and crowds of Japanese tourists to navigate through! A lovely man who ran the cafe at which I had lunch suggested I try a hotel around the corner as they were more affordable than most in the area. I am very glad I chatted to him (and that he recognised my tear filled eyes and wobbling bottom lip as a cry for help) as the hotel not only had a room available but was nice and clean and had sheets! I can't express how much accommodation affects your mood while travelling…as soon as I had checked into Hotel Puri, I breathed a sigh of relief and was much more chirpy.
Melaka itself is very cute. I mainly stuck to the touristy area of the historical town but I thoroughly enjoyed pottering around the little streets, ducking into the numerous curio shops (if Alex had been with me, I'm sure I would have convinced him we needed Chinese carved shutters for our future house! The amount of beautiful items for sale was staggering but, without him with me to choose together, I didn't want to make any purchases), eating fabulous food and chatting to local people. The architecture is, as in Penang, charmingly run down but there are also adorable little side streets with dinky little houses that are lovingly covered in climbing plants. Again, I wandered around, snapping pictures of people's walls and front doors! Tourist!
Oh! Remember my post about tuk-tuks? Of course Malaysia have their own version too. They are more like cyclos but they are the same sort of premise. What sets them apart from the other countries is the decorations! Especially in Melaka, the tuk-tuks had false flowers, fairy lights and cartoon faces plastered all over them! Brilliant!
As those of you who know me will know: I LOVE Hallowe'en! This year is the first time I can remember not either hosting or attending a party. Mum really made Hallowe'en special for me and Gus when we were little and it has definitely rubbed off on me in adulthood. She used to decorate the house beautifully and throw parties for us where we'd play “pin the cat on the witch's broomstick” (having all drawn our own cats in gold pen on black cardboard), the doughnut game, bob for apples and dance to The Time Warp! Dad used to dress up as Lurch for the Addams Familg and open the door to terrify my little friends! On Gus' first ever Hallowe'en (he was 6 months old), he refused to dress up as my black cat (I was a witch, of course!) so, when he went down for a nap, mum drew whiskers on his face and he had no idea! Haha! Anyway, the reason I mention all of this Hallowe'en-y awesomeness is that, yesterday, I decided to raid the small amount of make up I have with me and join in with the festivities, albeit from thousands of miles away! This was the outcome:
This would all have been fine…had a man not turned up just then to deliver my washing to me! No one had knocked on my door for 2 days until, of course, I am made up to look like some sort of undead being! Typical!
So, today I have taken yet another bus, this time to Kuala Lumpur! In 2 days' time mum and dad will arrive for their 2 weeks here in Malaysia and I am SO EXCITED! I've checked into the hotel in which we'll stay for the first 2 nights and I will look into what is nearby that they would find interesting for their first few days here. Mum has been amazing and has put together a really very comprehensive itinerary which takes us all over the country and I am really looking forward to all of it! Also, in a week's time, Alex will come back too! This break with him here will be our last stint in Asia! When he leaves at the beginning of December, we'll be embarking on the Australia/New Zealand leg of our trip! It's all going by so quickly!