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Melaka: "Jonker Walk"

Melaka
Malaysia

24 April 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

At 9:30 am on the dot, Joowee picked me up at my hotel in KL.  Together with her friend Michelle, we drove south to Melaka, the ancient city-state and historic port city strategically located on the Selat Melaka – the Strait of Malacca.

I missed Melaka on my first trip to Malaysia four years ago and I was anxious to see it.

Melaka is a great place for a daytime stroll.  Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, Indian, Arabic and native Malay architecture all stand together and line the narrow streets:  forts, churches, mosques, temples, tombs, fountains, along with plenty of clothing, antique, porcelain and chachka shops. 

Melaka is a great place for a meal.  Joowee, Michelle and I decided on Nancy’s Kitchen Restoran for their Nonya cuisine – a mixture of Malay and Chinese cooking: chicken and vegetables cooked in a rich coconut base.

The Geograhér Café, on the sidewalk, open and breezy, right on the corner of a busy intersection, served a deep Malay coffee - the perfect spot to watch the world go by.

At dinnertime, Capitol Satay had a line down the block – kids are here for the cheap eats.  Harper’s, overlooking the Melaka River, seemed overpriced, quiet and a bit dull.  Joowee, Michelle and I settled into the high-ceilinged Restoran Peranakan for nonya popiah – spring rolls served with chili.  My friends drove back to KL after dinner.

Melaka is also a great place for a nighttime stroll.  Jonkers Street is closed to traffic and transforms into a noisy, crowded and carnival-like Jonkers Walk with dozens of souvenir stands and food stalls (seafood, exotic sweets and the local specialty – pineapple tart) that serve the hordes of Malaysian kids and families visiting for the day or for a festive weekend.

It’s been a festive day for me as well.  Also hot and strenuous.  Very hot.  I decided to stay two nights instead of one, and just relax. 

Not so much! 

A full morning of shocking, frightful, and joyous celebration awaited.  But I had no idea; I settled into the newly-opened Jonker Boutique Hotel - guaranteed hot water and a firm mattress.

Wait for it,

Jan   

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