It was one of those days today – one of those “These things always happen to me!” days! Actually I am sure they only ever happen to me, because I seem to attract them like a magnet… must be karma or something!
I should have known it was going be one of those days when I fronted up to join the day long tour of Melaka only to find I was it – ie I was the sole member of the tour – and my driver fronted up in an old teksi ( Malay speak for taxi).
I should have known it was a portent of things to come when he took me to the Portuguese settlement area (historical world heritage site place) and it was all closed because the Portuguese were still all in bed;)
Never mind. Off we went to the next stop – I didn’t know what it was,because he was Filipino and his English was a bit garbled. Never mind that either, because it made the day a sort of magical mystery tour. Oh yeah – his name was One – actually it was probably Juan seeing he was a Filipino, but I am gonna call him One We get to the next stop which was the old Portuguese fort and St Paul’s Hill. The Portuguese built a fort at the bottom of this hill and on the top of the hill they built a church in about the 1600’s The Dutch added on a bit when they took over after the Portuguese buggered off. . When the Brits took over in the 1800s they converted the church into a gun powder store. The Brits get their priorities right and know how to make places functional, you see, and also the Brits are probably the reason why Australians never did take religion very seriously;)
One decided to come with me to the fort and up the hill. He said he needed the exercise as sitting in a teksi all day makes his ankles ache. He said he also jogged every morning around the park, to keep fit.
His decision to accompany me, as you will find out, was AVERY BAD MOVE folks!
We start to climb the steps up the hill and he keeps stopping me and saying that I can take it slowly and rest whenever I want. I reassure him I do not need to stop – in fact I was leaping up the steps. It had rained in the morning and the day was pleasant and balmy (not steamy hot like yesterday), Also, having endured climbing bloody mountains in China and Hong Kpng (where it is always UP), a few piddling little Malaysian hillocks barely raised a quickening of breath. Wondering about his over concern re climbing the hill, I gave up repeating reassurances and just kept going. It wasn’t till we got to the top and I looked back at him, I knew why. He was sweating profusely and red in the face! LOL!
After doing the touristy thingy at the top of the hill we started to descend. Instead of being red in the face and sweating, One had now turned a decided shade of grey. Oh cripes, was he gonna have a heart attack? Nope! It was something much worse! Telling me to keep going down the hill and back to the car, he said he had to do something. I left him and wandered down to the road which passed a big polis (police) station.
There was a lot of activity at the cop station and outside the cop station the road was blocked with mobs of cops. Fascinated, I had to find out what was going on.
I was suddenly surrounded by cops all wanting to meet me and shake my hand. Heck! Has the fame and royal status of the Woofess penetrated the dense Malaysian jungles? Alas, nothing like that! I told you before that Malaysian folks are very friendly. They just love meeting you and talking to you:) No, they had not all come out in force just to meet me.
It was a big ceremony for the 2 IC of the cops here, who was retiring.
You have to retire in Malaysia as soon as you turn 58. They wanted to know what the retiring age was in Australia and I said there no longer was one, because the govt wants everyone to keep working – because they have run out of money to pay you a pension.
The cops were really happy for me to take their pics and I got the email from one of them so that I could send them the pics I took – which I have. After saying goodbye to all me new friends I went back to the teksi but me driver wasn’t there. I had to wait for him for a while. He finally appeared only to tell me that he had lost the car key! He had lost it on the trip up the hill and couldn’t find it. All my camera
gear and half me worldly goods were locked in that bloody teksi!!!!!
And there was no way to get another key for the bloody teksi until someone could turn up with one tonight!!!!!
One had a great plan though – he called his friend Two, who was also a tour driver to come and pick me up and complete the tour. As the rest of the tour was supposed to be for stops where I would need the lenses locked in the bloody teksi, I was not overly impressed. However, it was not poor One’s fault that he had lost the key, so I did not take out my feelings on him. Two rocks up and we set off again. Two didn’t speak any English at all so I had absolutely NO idea where we were going. The first stop turned out to be a Chinese temple (not another bloody Chinese temple..arrggh! I have seen SOOO many of them). This one was built by Cheng Ho (Zheng He), who was an explorer who predated Columbus.
Next was Cheng Ho’s museum, which was really good, but Two lost me there. He finally found me again and asked if I wanted to go to somewhere, which I could not decipher – until giving up trying to tell me in English , he said the Malay word, “menara”, which I knew – tower.
That is one of those ride thingies where you go up in the air and revolve around and get a good view of everything. This ride was where I met my second batch of new friends – a Muslim family group with a lovely baby girl. I got to take a pic of them and then I had to hold the baby while they took a pic with their camera for their photo collection…..
OK…..there is more, but I need to go forage for some sustenance…