Malacca: Day 1

Recommendation number one: Don’t drive to Malacca.  Take a bus, take a train – hitchhike.  Just don’t drive here.  The maps are wrong, the locals are directionally impaired and when you finally find the one road that is supposed to be a straight shot from the highway, it turns out to be a zig-zagging version of a city planners bad joke.  It winds through suburbs, combines with other tandem roadways and if you ever need to make a u-turn, forget about it unless you’re willing to take the 5-mile detour needed to get back on track.

But once you’re here, it almost seems worth it.  Just kidding.  It’s quite awesome, I must say.  I have only been to China Town and Little India so far, and I arrived at 5pm today.  So even in the short time since being here (currently around midnight), I’ve already had a great time.

After booking a nice, quiet hotel off the beaten track, I was able to find this nice little sectioned-off parcel of road that closes it’s access to cars and sets up shop for the foot traffic.  I ran into this kooky, little, old lady with a mask shop containing enough wood carvings to answer for the mysterious bare spots in the various rain forests of the world.

I’m not kidding.  This woman had more masks than the prop closet on Broadway.  I was in heaven.  I love masks so much that I nearly asked her if I could set up a cot in the back and spend the night checking them all out.  I didn’t, though.  Instead, I talked her into letting me film all throughout the shop and even got an impromptu interview – though, I am not sure that she knew it was happening.  And I think that she really didn’t like being on camera once she found out.

At first, she told me to stop filming.  But I whipped out a business card and told her that I’d put her in my latest documentary and she loosened right up.  So I will try and put the outtakes on my YouTube channel and in this blog (time allowing).

I ate what they said was a “large” pizza on the corner of the main statue in front of this makeshift night market and kept cruising the shops until late in the evening.

Once I realized how hungry I was from not having filled the coffers on the quasi-large pizza, I headed over to this Pakistani restaurant that the hotel manager suggested for me.  The food was excellent and I was happy that I took his advice.

The spicy chicken tandoori that I tried was de-li-SHUS!  And it should have been, because I was told by the hotel management that it was the best in Malacca… e’hem.  Uh, that’s, the best in Malaysia.

The chicken is open-roasted on a spit.  They rub the spices on it that you order and give you a choice of dipping sauces.  I took the “herb dip,” which included garlic and Italian spices.  In addition, the reason that people are actually attracted to this Pakistani restaurant in the first place is the bread.  They make it in a clay oven heated from the bottom and slap the flattened bread, spices already wiped on, right inside the giant caldron of an oven, and let it cook for about a minute.  You can add cheese to this, in which case they will roll it up into the inside and it will melt along with the rest of the ingredients at the sweltering 700-degree heat .

They serve it on a plate, normally still steaming, with a various pallet of dips which can be ordered to come with the bread.  I tried the bean curd.  And I can’t say enough about it.  It was a splendid contrast to the bold and spicy punch that the chicken packs.

Washing it all down was the famous Malaysian tea.  Just say “tea” and it is already assumed that you mean “Malaysian” style.  Normally just a black tea with either milk or soy, this tea comes hot.  But you can order it with ice as well.  I generally don’t recommend the iced version because you can never tell whether or not the water for the ice is filtered – though, the assumption is that it’s unfiltered.  But on this warm night, I figured I’d just dive in and worry about the repercussions later.

(In this article) Highly recommended: stay at ABC Hotel.  The rooms are comfortable, but don’t plan on a discount (single/double RM70 – RM90 on weekends).  The showers are hot, the AC is cold, and the management is friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating.  Contact Mr.Selvam at Mobile: 0126396577 or  Address: No:34, Jalan Kota Laksmana 3, Taman Kota Laksamana, 75200 Melaka. Phone: 062816670.


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