Here In My Home - Malaysian Artistes For Unity

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Revisiting Melaka- Part 1

Well we just got back from Melaka for a short holiday since the younger daughter's kindergarten had organised a day trip to the historical city, so we though we might as well extended her visit to a full fledged stay as we thought it would be a tiring affair otherwise for her. Well since her trip itinerary was concentrated in the historical centre of the city, we made reservations in a condotel in the town centre. Despite some unflattering comments in the internet about the condotel, the service and the rooms was actually not bad and their breakfast spread was excellent, on par with the better hotels we have stayed in with the added bonus of easy parking with easy access to elevators straight near my room unit. In fact their swimming pool was great and they had many lifeguards on duty, a definite plus in my books. One of them said that this was the city authorities are very strict with the pool regulations, so the hotel has been kept on their toes. I also suspect that the presence of an international chain hotel next door also keeps their service in ship shape form, as otherwise tourists will be deserting the condotel for the brand name hotel. Kudos to the hotel from me.

As for the kindergarten trip which we joined partly for lunch and the river cruise, I must say the organising committee was flustered with the overwhelming number of visitors to the city during the first day of the school holidays, so many of the planned events did not work out. Luckily the river cruise was a success, and it actually opened up my eyes to new and previously hidden attractions that we may have overlooked before, and at the very least gave me new perspective to some of the attractions that we have frequented many times before. Otherwise I may not have seen the new watermill, The Melaka Pirate Park that housed the Eye On Melaka and the newly excavated riverside fort that they are now restoring. Where else could you also see monitor lizards either sunning themselves in the muddy or rocky banks of the river or swimming in the middle of a city. I would not have guessed that was possible in a river that at first glance is definitely not a clear water haven for any living creatures. Nonetheless the river banks are still a work in progress with on-going construction to make it a more attractive waterfront, so a repeat visit is definitely in order the next time we are in Melaka.

The next day was spent revisiting the historical sites for the sake of the little one that her trip missed so we duly went to A'Famosa, Saint Paul's Church, Stadhuys and Jonker Street. Well I must say getting older no longer allows you to undertake the trip as easily as before, and we needed to catch our wind several times during the visit. You really feel your age when the kids had the temerity to say why are we holding them up. Well the visit was not only site hopping, but also a journey of discovery as we did discover some of the foodie attractions in town that we usually give a miss before, but one I would like to specifically mention is the cendol in front of the clock tower. This was one cendol that to me did not live up to its hype, as I really feel that the cendol in Penang, Ipoh and even Sungei Besi is far better than the ones on offer here. Sorry but that is my honest opinion. To end the visit we took the colourful bechas to go to my car parked near the A'Famosa, as seriously I don't think I could walk a step further at that time. I then took the family to Klebang for a cheap but delicious seafood and nyonya meal, far better than the seafood dinner we had the night before than I will mention in part two of this notes, and this was a meal that was worth the trip out of the town centre. After swimming in the pool and going out for dinner, the day was ended with a night-time ride on the new Menara Taming Sari, a rotating platform ride that was the price of the entrance ticket, with a great bird's eye view of the city at night though it did give me a short vertigo anxiety attack at the beginning of the ride as it was wobbling too much at the time for me to stomach. As it is the view from the ground was also interesting as you actually feel that you are watching a flying saucer going up and down.

Talking about the view though, it has certainly changed a lot as evidenced by these photos taken from the condotel room and St Paul's clearly shows. A visitor that time travelled from ten years ago would be hard put to recognise what is spread out before him. He would no longer be able to see the sea lapping up Bandar Hilir nor recognise the view of the Dataran from St. Pauls. No would reading from a tourist brochure from a time before then would give you an idea of what is now populating the grounds where The Cry Of Merdeka was initially heard more than fifty years ago. I myself was hard put to recognise many of the new structures that now dot the place, though when I went to to ground level I find that most of them were malls rather than any historically significant bulidings. Makes me wonder how they conduct the light and sounds event at the site, and makes me wonder further how Melaka would have got Unesco's recognition in the first place if the decision was made purely based on what is happening in this historical centre. Well at least we still have a cause to celebrate, as the excavations carried out for the construction of all these commercial venture has unearthed new historical sites, putting put to some of the commercial plans themselves. Like my elder daughter said,"Wouldn't it be great if they find more such sites so that they will be preserved." A noble sentiment no and something we can give Amen to right.

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