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,