Melaka is a hodgepodge of old and new and a multitude of cultures and nationalities. It’s a real con-fusion of muddled oddities. In fact you could say it is Malaysia’s answer to the Wozland port of Fremantle. They both share similar characteristics, though Melaka is lot older. They both have the same road system – one way! To get around Melaka in a vehicle, you have to drive a very long loop in one direction. In fact you can get to B from A a lot faster walking than via a car, as the distance from B to A is quite short. Unfortunately footpaths are at a premium – what footpaths there are are very narrow and blocked with restoran (restaurant) tables and parked motorcycles and other assorted clutter. This means you have to play dodgem with traffic.
Today I played dodgem as far as River cruise tiket kaunter. It was all steamy and hot again today and by the time I got there the river cruise sounded a good idea for a bit of foot rest. The best thing about the river cruise was the cool breeze off the water and the fact that I saw my friend the Malay water monitor again in the same place. Obviously that is his spot and I think he plays to the tourists. There were actually some tourists who had noticed him today and the expression on the lizard’s face was classic…it really was a smug swaggering “Up yours, you idjits!”
After the cruise I I felt refreshed enough to tackle Yonkers St (not to be confused with New York). Yonkers St is a crowded mismatch of tourists, smells and shops all selling the same tourist junk. There are a few shops with interesting names though – “Modern Antiques” and “Give Piss a Chance”. No I do not know what that second shop sells! I don’t think I want to know!!
Having exhausted the dubious . pleasures of Yonkers St, I was starting to feel knackered again – the heat and humidity don’t worry you, but when you are carrying a ton of camera gear, you develop a stiff neck and shoulder which soon descends to your hind paws. To temporarily reverse the effects of gravity, I decided to sample the totally ridiculous delights of Quacker Number 1. Quacker Number 1 is bright yellow with cartoon ducks painted on it. Quacker – ducks, get it? If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck, right?
What is a duck, you ask? Well, it is a monster mechanical mudskipper, which can swim in water and run on land. The Quacker does a tour through the streets of Melaka and then takes to the sea and does a circuit around Pulau Melaka. Pulau Melaka is the man made island in front of this hotel. It is actually a ghost town. All these buildings but they are all empty. Apparently the original construction flopped. Now the govt has taken the island over and is redeveloping it. The only inhabited building at the moment is the Floating Mosque. Why a floating mosque? you ask. Why not? I answer.
Surprisingly none of the abandoned buildings have been vandalised, as would happen anywhere else in the world. But, this is Malaysia and folks are generally very law abiding.
For the quacker tour there are two drivers. One driver does the land driving and the other driver does the sea sailing. That is just sooooo Malaysian, folks!. The most exciting event of this thoroughly crazy tour was the car driver who cut across the bows of the behemoth and nearly ended up as fish fingers.
Having been suitably refreshed and rested I descended from the bowels of the behemoth Quacker Number 1 and headed back to the hotel. I was just trying to stare down the stream of traffic so I could cross a road (it is all psychology and will power and martial arts mind control principles to make the cars back down first) when this teksi screeches to a stop in front of me and the teksi driver and his passenger hung out of the windows the teksi waving and yelling and yahooing and causing a major traffic jam. It was THAT TEKSI, folks!
And the yelling, hooting waving fellas were One and Two!
Oh Good Grief!