Submitted by derms on Sat, 04/12/2004 - 12:52pm.

We arrived in Melaka yesterday, which is a 2.5 hours bus ride south from Kuala Lumpur. Following on from what I said before about the traffic in KL, the bus terminal leaves a lot to be desired. The tickets we bought said that we had to leave from "Platform 11". We went down to where the buses were located but wouldn't see any platform numbers. Apparently, you have to count 11 buses from main entrance to find "Platform 11". It's not as easy as it sounds, as there were some buses that you "didn't count" - i think becuase they were parked horizontally. None of the people we asked could agree on what was actually "Platform 11". Anyway, we eventually found the right bus and arrived in Melaka.

The town itself is quite interesting. It was under European rule for about 400/500 years and there are a lot interesting aspects of the local culture that reflect the intergration of the European and Malay cultures - such as the "Chitty" people - who are the decendants of Portuguese settlers that married into the local Melak population.

We rode a rickshaw around town and saw some of the sights Melaka has to offer. There was once a Chinese fashion fad which entailed women binding their feet (goto for more information) to make them exceptionally small. The end result was quite a gruesome disfiguration and resulted in their feet smelling like decaying flesh - an aphrodisiac I'm told. There is a shoe shop here that is apparently the last one to make shoes for these women.

There was also quite a number of interesting temples and mosques as well as, suprisingly, a "Beauty Museum". This place depicted a number of the bizarre practices relating to peoples conception of beauty (such as the binding feet practice mentioned above) as well as, for some non-apparent reason, a rickshaw that made it into the "Malaysian Book of Records". This book also contains such noteable records as the "largest cement tree in Malaysia".

Also, I think its a tradition in Malaysia to make things as inconvenient for pedestrians as possible. You have to walk over what I think is old open sewers next to the road to avoid being hits by cars (as there are no paths).

Anyway, that's pretty much it for now. I think we may head off to Thailand tomorrow and come back to Malaysia later.

( categories: Malaysia )