It is now 2 weeks until we leave Malaysia and yet it still doesn’t feel real. July always seemed far off and suddenly it is at the doorstep. There are so many things we are looking forward to about moving back to Canada and yet there are an equal amount of things here in Malaysia that we will be really sad to leave. We have started working through our to-do list for moving – sell the car, cancel our utilities, organize shippers, schedule goodbye parties. But as of today, nothing has been packed and I am thinking that I better get started on that sooner rather than later. To add to the packing stress, our flight to Sri Lanka was cancelled and we are re-scheduled on a new flight, via Bombay, where we have a 4 hour layover in the middle of the night – fun! That will be a lovely way to start our holiday!
We had a wonderful visit a few weeks ago from Paul’s university roomate, Steve and his wife Jodi. They are living and working in Cambodia and were able to visit for the weekend. The kids took to them right away and we had a great time showing off all that Ipoh has to offer and a quick visit to the Cameron Highlands.
With the number of weekends quickly dwindling, we headed to Melaka last weekend for some sightseeing. Melaka is south of Kuala Lumpur and a 4 hour drive from Ipoh. It is a colonial town that is heavily on the tourist circuit, for both backpackers and local tourists. So it is not advisable to try to book a hotel a mere week before going. After hours spent calling every single hotel in Melaka, we had no choice but to take a gamble on a basic hotel that had just opened. While it wasn’t opulent, it was clean and friendly – whew! A four hour drive is pushing it for our kids and so we thought we were being smart heading out at 7 pm…they would sleep most of the way. Of course the best laid plans never work out and Miles especially did not want to cooperate with the sleep plan. And of course when we arrived at 11 pm, every one woke up and wanted to play – sigh! And the new hotel didn’t have a baby crib yet, so we got a lovely sleep with Miles wedged between us on a double bed. But surprisingly enough, we felt pretty good the next day and were ready for a day of touring. We visited a lot of the historic sights, dragging ourselves around in the 35 degree humidity (dreaming about those 20ish degree temps in Canada), doing a river cruise, wandering Chinatown, and of course squeezing in a family nap in the afternoon. In the evening, Chinatown buzzes with the Jonker Street market, where local foods and market fare can be explored. The highlight of the day was the trishaw ride home to the hotel. Melaka is well known for their trishaws – a traditional method of getting around that has become a tourist staple. The trishaws compete for who has the brightest, best decorated (meaning lots of fake flowers – right up Ella’s alley) and loudest music. I’m sure I will always remember cruising along the Melaka streets grooving to “Billy Jean”. We like to see all facets of a city when we are traveling and so Sunday morning started with a trip to the doctor’s clinic as Gavin had fallen and had a large gash on his eyebrow. With a rather large bandage, we were on our way, ready for some more touring. Some more time in Chinatown, a ride up a tower for panoramic views of the city and then were were on our way home. A really nice weekend away and we were glad we made it to Melaka before leaving. There are still so many great places in Malaysia we wish we had the time to explore, but we will have to return to make it to those.
We bought 3 traditional outfits for Ella, one Chinese, one Malay and one Indian. It was so much fun picking them out in the stores.
- you need to book accommodation here in advance as there are loads of weekend travelers from Singapore and KL. We didn’t, so had to settle with whatever we could find. We stayed at Syaz Meridien Hotel, which was new, but very basic, in a strip mall.
- Melacca is food heaven and there are lots of great places to eat near Jonker Street, although expect to pay a bit more for the touristy experience. We liked Geographer’s Cafe.
- Hotel de la Ferns – good mid range option