Saturday, March 27, 2010

Melacca & Tioman


Melacca is a town 2 hours drive south of Kualu Lumpur. Once a busy port town with lots of fighting between colonial countries and the locals it’s now settled down to be one of the premier tourist sites of Malaysia. The large Chinese population influencing the architecture and the canals running through the town give it a old-world charm and you can wander it’s alleys and shops for days. Unfortunately due to the local bus schedule we only had 24 hours. High on our agenda was the local cuisine which is supposed to be quite famous. We threw ourselves into our explorations and by afternoon we had looked in art galleries, antique shops, up a dragon’s kilt, strolled along
the canal, seen the empty tomb of St Francis (we’ll catch up with him later in Goa) and stuffed ourselves silly with the following: poh piah (cold rolls), rojak (imagine fruit salad with bbq sauce), laksa, chendol, satay, pineapple, tart and dim sum. Since we covered the town the day before, the next morning we hit the shops and bought a pile of clothes for Miriam before heading off to Tioman Island.

Tioman Island

Tioman is an island off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia and our last destination before heading back to India. We were looking forward to some relaxing on the beach, snorkeling and a bit of social interaction (Brad especially). We met a lot of interesting people on the island from Kiwi Nick - the bird nest soup guy, American Asha – the novel writing, earthquake relieving, activist (Who has a boyfriend Marco – the activist plumber), Sandrine (aka Frenchy) who likes wine cheese, and dislikes the English, Aussie Greg the oil-well mechanic and his Scottish girlfriend Carol (pronounced Carl), Rene the hard rockin’ computer distributor and his girlfriend, Heidi the museum curator. As you can imagine meeting all these folk and spending hours chatting with them was a fascinating experience.

One day we decided to cross the island and stay a night at a more secluded location. Due to the steepness of the middle part, transport is quite expensive (costing $30 each one way!) so we decided to walk it, taking only a small backpack with us. We went via the jungle track and armed with a big stick (to pat any eager wildlife with) we huffed and puffed our way through a well-maintained path to Juara. On the way, we surprised a large black snake that wasn’t up for attacking us and we later learned this was probably a cobra! The walk was tough but quite pleasant, taking about 2 hours and deposited us on the only Malaysian beach we’ve seen with waves. We booked in to a chalet right
on the beach for the princely sum of $10 and set about body-surfing the day and next dawn away in solitude (we saw only 2 others on the beach the whole time). The next afternoon we returned to the other side of the island, vowing to return to Juara as it had great surf, accommodation, company, peace & quiet. We decided to take the steeper, hotter bitumen track on the way back to avoid snakes and saw 3 on our way back (albeit the biggest one was dead) with Brad nearly stepping on one (harmless yellow snake).

The rest of our Malaysian trip was filled with getting back to KL, buying scissors, digital bathroom scales and topping of our culinary experiences with a big red steak to boost the iron levels for beef-free India. After 35 hours of planes, trains, cars and taxis we made it back to the orphanage where after a short nap and meet & greet, we were thrown into teaching class 10 immediately – No rest for the wicked!

P.S. We've updated our Malaysia Favourite Photo's

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