After more than two weeks dealing with bamboo we started to feel we need something new. We sent a couple of requests to hostels in historic city of Malacca for volunteering. Surprisingly we got more than one positive reply. New adventures were on the horizons.
Malacca is just one more city on the list of UNESCO world heritage. This makes it comercialized, less authentic and crowded with chinese tourists. And all mentioned is just what we want to avoid all the time. However, Malacca became one of the highlights of this trip.
We didn't think this is a place that we visit and leave it with next bus any more. We had responsibilities (even though easy ones) and everyday routine. Something we already forgot about. Something we ran away from, but found out it's not always completely bad. After half a year on the road everyone needs a break from non-stop moving. Malacca started to show up as something we became part of. After two weeks it still didn't start to bother us, so we extended our stay to almost a month.
The city has quite a turbulent history. First it reached it's glory of main trading port in this part of world, as a sultanate. Then the Portuguese came. And Dutch. But at the end - British. Everyone left it's mark on the city and it's visible even today.
One of the main attractions of Malacca are somehow overdecorated trishaws - half bicycle, half rickshaw. There are like a magnet for chinese tourists :)
Malaysia in general is a very colourful country. Malay represent the majority though. But Chinese are not far behind in numbers. British colonist brought them from Hong Kong to work in mines. And then there are also Indians. Their jobs were on the tea plantations. Each brought his own language, religion and habits with thimself. In an effort to keep people united, the government does a propaganda. On every step you can see a number "1" in colours of national flag. This means: "we're all one!"
Talking about propaganda, second most popular slogan in Malacca is: "Don't mess with Melaka." This remainds people to keep the city clean and authentic and not just to take advantage of a goose laying golden eggs.
Variety you can find also on the menus. If you decide to stop by, I recommend: Lau Shu Fen (chinese noodles, left), indian Tosai with sauces, one spicier than the other (right) or just typical malay Nasi Lemak (down left.) None of mentioned exceeds 5 ringits or something more than one euro. The most sieged are chinese restaurants. It can happen you will have to stand in the line in front of the entrance. And prepare a big amount of patience - line can be long (down right.)
Soon after our arrival in Malacca, a performance festival started. It was a bit unusual, but i think we just needed something out of the limits :)
A consequence of british colonial history is that most of the people speak fluently english. This is good, because suddenly you can tell anything you have on your mind, and you are beeing understand. On the other hand it's bad because you don't learn local language. With chinese and indian languages we didn't hassle, but we put some minimal effort in malay. The most interesting (read: funny) are signs. Especially the words which are somehow imported from english. That way, taxi become "teksi", ticket counter is "kaunter tiket" etc.
And talking about signs, I have to mention one in souvenir shop - photo down right. "Not a bow arrow, it's a hanger." Haha, obviously someone tried to play Robin Hood with a hanger. I have to admit, it does look a bit bow like :)
With Melaka we left Malaysia and Asia behind. We're in expectations of new continent, new world. But we're still not positive we're done with this chapter...