Our first place of visit in Malacca was the night market in Jonker Street. It is known for its interesting stores that sell antiques, souvenirs and other knick-knacks. Both Beas and I are fond of food, and we tried out some really tasty street food preparations.
These were an assortment of fried and barbecued delicacies. Further down the crowded street was a cart selling mango shake. There was a huge crowd thronging the cart, and so we decided that, we too, must try what it was serving up. Following a substantial wait time, we received ours. Luckily, the mango shake did not disappoint.
From Jonker Street, we walked over to the old Dutch part of the city where trade and commerce outposts had been built. The area is now beautifully kept up, with numerous heritage buildings still in great shape. Along the way, we also stopped by the Malacca River that runs through the city. In its heyday, this waterway was vital to trade. Brightly lit boats now take tourists for a river cruise.
Rather than have a full dinner at one location, we decided to try several restaurants and try a dish or two at each stop. And by the time we returned to the hotel, it was well past 1 am.
As we leisurely made our way back, I caught sight of the same Rover Mini that had overtaken us earlier in the day. Unfortunately, it had its bonnet propped up and it looked like it had suffered an overheating spell. I was probably right when I thought its owner was pushing the old lady, a tad too far. Zarah, meanwhile, was too tired from all the walking. So, after the initial bout of enthusiasm, she soaked in the rest of the city from her comfortable perch on my shoulders.
Trishaws were a novel attraction
The following morning, we drove out to the same area as the night before. Vehicular traffic wasn’t too dense. But what roamed the streets in large numbers were ‘trishaws’. These are similar to a cycle rickshaw but in this Malaysian version, the rider’s seat is on one side. The advantage, I guess is, it offered an uninterrupted view of the road ahead.
Given its role in mostly taking tourists for a ride around the area, it made sense to keep the guests’ view in mind. However, more than the uncommon seating position, the trishaws all seemed caught up in a contest to see whose one could outdo the other, by way of add-ons. Some had a doll theme, another lot featured an overload of artificial flowers, and I even spotted a Pokemon themed one.
Aside from the heavy decoration, they also featured a boom box that blared loud music and there was an assortment of lights too. It was too much of an attraction in itself, and so we decided to hire one for a quick tour.
Barring the novelty, the trishaw ride was no different from a regular cycle rickshaw ride. He took us for a 30 minute jaunt and took time to explain a few of the sights. One highlight for me was an ancient looking plane that was now parked as a relic.
By about two in the afternoon, we were once again getting ready to head out because the whirlwind tour wasn’t done yet. We planned on heading back to Kuala Lumpur, checking into an apartment hotel near the airport, returning the car to Aamil’s friend, and then heading to a central part of the city called Bukit Bintang. There, we were going to meet our friends from school over dinner. I had friends from Dhaka who were also visiting Malaysia at the same time coincidentally. And a classmate of Beas’ was settled in Kuala Lumpur.
And so, just as quickly as we had arrived in Malacca, we were once again headed north, back to the capital city. In addition to the hectic evening plans we had, we even had to wake up in time for a 6 am flight to Johor Baru.
Needless to say, we were able to check off all boxes on the evening agenda, except one. We didn’t get time to sleep. At 12 midnight, we rang in Zarah’s fourth birthday. And the ‘evening’ finally came to a close at 3 am.
By the time we reached our hotel, we realised there was no time to even catch a nap. Even if we left that instant, we would only just make it in time for the check-in at the airport. Therefore, the hotel room that night served only to house our suitcases, while we went to dinner. If this wasn’t a whirlwind, tell me what is!