“What day of the week is it?”
It’s the first thing that popped into my head this morning. After some consultation with my roommate and double-checking the trip itinerary, we decided on Wednesday. Still, it got me thinking of how much life has changed in the last two months; when you’re traveling like this, Monday is really no different than Thursday nor Saturday. It’s just another day on the road.
Still, we did know that today, like every other day on this trip, we’d be on board another bus, this time to Melaka. We arrived at the station and hopped on the most awesomely decorated bus — with groovy curtains, fake flowers, a couple of Ferrari stickers, even a Power Rangers mask! We were about to give the driver props on his style, but he then started blasting a thumping techno soundtrack of late 90s dance music. It continued for the 2-hour journey, which again made me thankful to have Bose noise canceling headphones.
We arrived in Melaka, a port city, just before 2 p.m. and piled into taxis to our hotel, the Fenix Inn. It’s a clean, if somewhat nondescript and bland place, with an absolutely hilarious “Souvenir Price List” for every item in the room! Anyone interested in a hanger for 5 ringgit ($1.75USD) — or a television remote control for 70?
Our leader (and Lonely Planet) told us that outside of some mediocre museums and historic sights, there was very little to do in this city. Exactly why then we decided to stop here is beyond me. Yet, we didn’t want to discount Melaka without giving it a fair chance, so we grabbed some lunch and walked to the Old Town Square, where Dutch mansions sit beside Portuguese churches — all in close proximity to Chinese temples. This port’s strategic location has clearly made it an attractive spot for many.
Generally unimpressed, we thought that maybe a boat tour might offer a better introduction — yet, it was only filthy water, run down buildings and a horribly annoying guide that we considered paying just to keep quiet.
Overwhelmed by the heat, in denial over leaving the cosmopolitan capital and generally questioning why we’d ending up in this city, we returned to the hotel, showered and did the only thing that we thought could improve our spirits: make a beeline to the nearest 5-star establishment. Here in Melaka, that proved relatively easy, and before long we were on our way to the Majestic.
At the Mansion, we were treated to an absolutely delicious meal, including baked local Melaka crabs, impeccable service (how nice to have a crisp, pressed napkin unfolded into one’s lap) and a beautiful setting. It’s amazing how a 190 ringgit ($60USD) three-course dinner with wine improved our spirits by about a million.
Afterwards, we made our way over to the city’s other 5-star hotel, the Equatorial, for some live music, pool and after-dinner drinks. Listening to a cover band belt out Bon Jovi almost made me wonder why in the heck I’d traveled around the world — all in search of the life I’d left behind. But then, my Black Label arrived, and the question escaped my mind.