Road to Stadhuys
I was able to get a full first night sleep at the guesthouse where I checked in at Kuala Lumpur. The 35 MR /night room that I took was decent enough and I didn't mind sleeping in that guesthouse(Anjung KL) because it had clean bedsheets, shiny wooden floors, clean wall paint, and an airconditioner that functioned properly. I woke up at 6 am and I was all set to walk from Bukit Bintang to the Puduraya Bus Terminal at Jalan Pudu . Roslan told me the night before that it would take around 5 to 10 minutes to walk to Pudu. A taxi stopped beside me while I was at Jalan Alor and the driver asked in Cantonese where I was going.
I said, 'Puduraya', and he immediately offered 10 ringgit for a ride. I smiled at him and said in broken English, "10 ringgit?? Puduraya very near. Can walk la. Use meter, can be?" He said"Okay la" so I immediately hopped into the cab. He asked me if I was from 'Philippin' and I immediately said yes. He thought I was from Singapore. Hmmm there I go again with the mistaken as Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese identity. Can I not be filipino without the quintessential brown Malay skin color? I had a brief chat with the driver and I politely answered all his queries and comments about politics in Manila. In a few minutes, we were infront of the Puduraya Bus Terminal. I paid 2 ringgit based on the meter reading. I went up inside the crowded terminal, searched for Platform 10 where I would board my bus later, and had a look around to see if there is a coffee shop where i can have breakfast but there was none.
A Dunkin Donut booth was there, but it was still closed. I looked around farther and noticed that the whole place is hot and humid as there was no centralized airconditioning. Since it was still early for the bus departure, I decided to go outside the terminal back to Jalan Pudu to look for a place to have breakfast. I was hungry.
There was a restaurant right accross the terminal, but its look and smell from the outside did not motivate me to go inside. I was scanning the area for any McDonald's, Starbucks, or any coffee shop, but there was none except for Kentucky Fried Chicken open 24 hours. Too bad. Chicken for breakfast is so unorthodox for me. And KFC without the original gravy made matters worse. Instead of gravy, they served hot sauce which seemed to be a mixture of curry, green pepper, soya, sesame.
I was not really sure what the sauce combination was, but KFC for me should really go with the classic gravy and not with curry sauce. Sorry but am not really fond of curried food. The only consolation I had was the brewed coffee. Thank God there was brewed coffee.
I went up back to the terminal to Platform 10 as it was almost 8:00 and I thought the bus must already be set for boarding. From the platform, you need to go down that flight of stairs to the basement where the buses are parked. It was too dark when I got to the basement and I hardly could identify where my bus was. I boarded one bus and couln't find my seat number. Wrong bus. When I entered the next bus in line, I finally found my seat number and was glad that I finally got on the right bus.
I slept during the whole 2 hours trip. I woke up when the bus was already at the Melaka Central Bus Terminal. I went directly to the taxi rental booth to get a ride to Jonker Street. A group of Indian drivers met me and were all offering 50 ringgit at the same time. I ignored the group and approached a Malay Muslim, gave him a bright, non-touristy smile, while greeting him good morning, and asked if he could offer lower than 50 MR because I was a poor tourist that came from Philippin and I have not so much money. He laughed at what I said and he replied 'I Don't believe'. I pleaded again until he offered 30 MR and I said 'Okay thank you very much, terimah kasih, now I can see Melaka because of you.' We both laughed. Then he brought me to Jonker.
I was dropped off at the Stadhuys infront of the Christ Church, the church that was formerly Protestant, then became Anglican, and now I don't know. The church was closed when I got there so I didn't have a way to find out. I was immediately refreshed with the sight around me - buildings w/ pink bricks of European architecture(I was confused which was Dutch, Portuguese,British) , a windmill(sure Dutch but the ones I saw in Holland are much bigger), flower gardens, and fountains. Tourists arrived in groups. I sat near the fountain and began taking pictures, mingled with the crowd, gave touristy smiles to some, was asked by some tourists to take their pictures, and chatted with a group of cute high school Indian girls who were on school tour.
St Paul Church ruins
The whole place is a very touristy area but I didn't mind because I can easily adjust to such kind of tourist environment, and I expected to see lots of visitors as this is a very popular destination in Malaysia.
I went up the Stadhuys to get more pictures then went back to the church to get a trishaw to move to the other spots. As I was approaching the line of trishaws(bicycle rickshaws), my eyes were actively scanning for the trishaw with the least ornaments. Those trishaws adorned with colorful petals, leaves, twigs, & ribbons reminded me of those crappy floats used during parades at baranggay fiestas in the provinces. I wouldn't be caught dead riding in one of them. I selected the least flamboyant trishaw and discussed with the driver who introduced himself as Omar what my itinerary would be.
He made his suggestions then I closed the deal with a fixed one hour tour. As soon as we motored away from the Stadhuys towards the museum row to the Magistrate buliding and to St Paul's Cathedral, Omar started to recite his history piece of how Melaka was seized by the Dutch, Portuguese, & British then later returned to the Muslims. I was intently listening and admired how this fellows were trained to deliver mini history lectures that made sense. I interrupted Omar's recitations, each time I asked him to stop so I can take pictures. When we reached the magistrate square I asked Omar to leave me alone to hike uphill towards the St Paul's Church ruins and the Dutch graveyard. I reached the church and took more photos then as I was reading the marker of St Francis Xavier, the Catholic saint and martyr who was buried there, I remembered the song I learned in Catholic high school 'Make Me A Channel of Your Peace(St Francis Song)' and got confused if this was attributed to St.
view from uphill at St Paul's ruins
Francis Xavier or St Francis of Assisi. To pacify my bothered mind, I had to text message my friend in Manila to ask and she answered she was positive it was St. Francis of A. She asked what the freaky text message was all about and I texted back and told her I was on holy ground in Melaka, where St Francis Xavier was buried. She texted back with: "wtf?" I tried not to laugh because I was alone in a crowd. Laughing alone is unchristian.
After that brief Catholic moment, I went back to the Magistrate Square to look for Omar. I spotted his trishaw parked under the tree near the grandstand. As I was boarding the carriage, Omar resumed his lecture which I thought ended already. He told me about the legend of that tree were Melaka got its name. Even trees there have legends and history.
We were moving on to the old Dutch port where the Maritime museum and the recovered Portuguese galleon was, but I told him that we will just drop by for a few minutes , take a few shots, then leave immediately. I don't wanna linger in the port. It reminds me of work.
We drove back to Stadhuys. I paid Omar and thanked him for his excellent tour guidance. He deserved a tip. I took a taxi back to Melaka Sentral and by 1PM, I was on the bus on the way back to KL. Upon reaching KL, I went straight to the guesthouse to join my two Scottish guesthouse mates for vegetarian lunch. Next day I was going to Batu Caves.
Whew! Finally finished this blog that I started to write on Sept.
The Magitrate Building - Sultan's office