Diary for Christine and Chris in Asia

Last Tango in Melacca


We`re holed up in an establishment just like home in the last destination of our Asia circuit - the Traveller`s Lodge in Melacca. It has internet TV, a basic cafe serving breakfast and snacks and a self serve kitchen where we have just made a fruit salad of mango, dragon fruit, mandarin, apple, banana and lychees. It`s situated just outside a ridiculous huge mall which could be in California with McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried all giving us a chance to eat a few rounds of junkfood we at least know is sterile even if it fails all nutirition tests.

We spent the last night in Kuala Lumpur in the Anjua Guest House right opposite the Pudaraya Bus Station, the central nexus for al bus traffic in and out of KL. We stopped purely because the Guest House was right where the bus stopped, and within 20 metres had a ticket booth for the next bus to Melacca, a 7-11 where we can buy iced coffee milk and a KFC which we could eat junk food to oblivion without risking gut ache on the last days of travel. There is another good guest house a few doors along called the Pdua Guest House with comparable facilities. It makes it possible to spend a night in KL without having to go miles with one`s luggage and make a clean exit on demand.

We wandered Chinatown in the stifling humid heat - mostly a more modern urban run down version of what is most elegantly expressed in Chinese and Indian culture in Penang, and I then took a subway ride to film the twin Petrona towers, the Islamic sisters of the World Trade Center.

This morning we made a quick dash to the central market to try to bargian for a couple of gift trinkets to bting back and then caught the bus in haste from the inordinately hot bustling and chaotic Pudaraya Bus Station.

Melacca is another quaint multicultural historical relic. Colonized by the Chinese, the Indians, the Portugese, the Dutch the Bristish and finally the tourists and now the backpackers. It has a small Chinatown bordered by old Dutch colonial buildings with a string of temples of all kinds. In the same view in the same street there is a South Indian Hindu temple, an elegant semi-colonial mosque with many cultural influences and a Chinese temple. The people are as mixed, from brazen Chinese women with naked belly buttons and double shimmy mini-skits to demure Muslim women trying to look fashionable in a colour matched veil and hanging drapes, with Indian women dressing freely somewhere in between.

Tomorrow we`ll hire bikes and circuit the town. Our bus to Singapore is already booked next day for the Lavender Bus Terminal in Little India from where we can take a subway to the airport a few hours later.