Day 4: Malacca, Malaysia

When I first started researching things to do and see in Kuala Lumpur I came across information on Malacca (spelled Melaka here).  This is the oldest port in Malaysia and it has a lot of historical importance.  Not only did the history in general draw me to this, but it was first settled by the Portuguese, which was what really caught my attention.  The architecture and the pictures I saw all screamed Portuguese and after living in the Azores for 2 years, I felt a connection and familiarity with this.

Before being picked up for the trip I grabbed this very tasty pastry from the bakery in the hotel.
It's hard to see...but we are on our way to Malacca.
The tour guide said there is some dispute over the origin, Portuguese versus Dutch (Portugal came first and then then Dutch) but the Portuguese mainly worship here so they feel this is their church.  I can honestly say, I definitely thing this is Portuguese, but it also seems like there are some similarities between Dutch and Portuguese.
Here is the inside.
The area out front and a hotel across the street.
Closer up of the display out front of the church.
This building was also on the property.
Seems to be an popular snack brand around here.  I thought it was funny looking.
Next up we went to a Chinese temple.  The Chinese also settled here and have stuck around for many, many generations.  This was the spot where a king (I think he was a king) built a well for his Chinese bride.
There were some guys selling fruit out front.  It reeked of durian.  Once you have smelled durian and know what this smells like, you can pick up on it so quickly.  
This is the well.  Over history it was used to poison the enemies of whoever controlled it.
The dutch put in these holes to shoot from to protect the well.

Here are some more pictures around the temple.

I also noticed the buildings had a strong Chinese influence.
Here we are at the ocean.  I guess it is really the South China Sea and then technically it is the Malacca straights.  The water is very murky and there is not a huge beach area, at least not where we were.  It was mostly under construction and dirty because they are doing a lot of work around here.  I have a feeling in time this will be a huge tourist spot.  They even opened a Hard Rock Cafe in this city a couple of months ago.

Lunch was at a Chinese restaurant.  I think that was for the benefit of the Chinese tourists in our group.
I ordered a vegetarian meal so I sat with some people from India.  They were mother/daughter and very nice.

We started with some veggies.
Fried rice
Spring rolls
Yellow pineapple to finish
After lunch we headed out on a walking tour.  They had these little carts that the guys will ride you around in if you want.  They were fun to watch and I loved how colorful they are.
I seriously had to laugh because this moment pictured here was straight out of a movie.  There was a young couple riding in the yellow cart behind the pink one.  The music playing as they rode around on their romantic afternoon ride was "A Whole New World".  I felt like I was in a cheesy rom-com.  I loved every minute of it because it was so funny in the moment.  It made for a good laugh.

Here are some pictures from around the area as we started to head towards A Famosa, which is the fortress.

Here is A Famosa or what is left of it.

I love the tropical feel and in fact I am so used to it not really being tropical that I almost forget I am somewhere tropical.
The lush green is so relaxing especially when the breeze blows.  Otherwise it is beyond humid here.
More of the historical site.

Once we climbed up higher we had a better view of the sea.
Inside the old church at the top I saw these stones and laughed.  That is so typical inside an old Portuguese church.  We had a lot like this in the Azores where they were just stones all piled in to an old church.
And the church was roofless.  The Dutch removed the roof.

Honestly, this just looks Portuguese to me.  Buildings on the island often had no roofs.  This is because once they fall apart they just abandon them and don't typically rebuild.
Another nice view from the top.
Also part of the church at the top of the hill.

Then we headed down towards the main square area.  There were some old items around, like this old fire truck.

Then I spotted the Hard Rock.  For those of you that know, you will know that collecting Hard Rock shirts is my thing.  I know it is a touristy thing and I know not everyone cares for it, but it is just something I have been doing ever since I was it's been over half my life now.  This Hard Rock location opened a few months back and I only discovered it was here after I planned to come to Malacca.  I just made sure my tour guide knew I wanted to go.  It was so convenient anyway that it wasn't a big deal.
As I walked over to get my shirt I took some pictures of the sights in that area.

I loved this view looking down the canal.
Hard Rock!
This is the church in the main square.  I loved the European vibe here and the colors brought to it by the locals in those little carts, selling items on the street and the flowers.
I could have spent hours in this square.
Here I am happy after getting my shirt.
Funny little tree in front of the clock tower.
Here we are entering China Town.
One of the names for this main street.
I took quite a few pictures just walking down this street because there were so many cute, traditional and charming things that make this street something worth seeing.

This is the oldest church in Malacca.  It dates back to the 1400's.

Another temple across the street.
This place looked so cute that I had to take a picture and I had to go inside and look.  Unfortunately we were not allowed to eat on the bus and we were almost back to the bus.  I knew this would make a mess.  It was a papaya filled with ice and ice cream of sorts.  At least that was what I could make out by looking at the pictures on the menu.  Everything was in English but that still doesn't mean it really made sense to me!
Interesting, but probably stinky!
Then we left Malacca and headed back to KL.  I must have been tired because I fell right to sleep.  I guess I needed that 2 hour nap!

After getting a nice shower and doing a little work, I headed out to see Petronas Towers at night.  They twinkle!
I have a very fun and colorful street just outside my hotel that I walked down to get to the towers.
From this angle I could only see one.

Here is a great shot with both towers.  It is so huge that it is difficult to get a good picture with the whole thing in it.
Since I was over in that direction, I asked my hotel to recommend some authentic Malaysian food in the area.  They suggested Madam Kwan's in the mall.  I was ok with this because even though it is a chain, they are known for their traditional food and it made it easy to order things they way I want them (minus the meat, that is).
First up, I tried this traditional iced milk tea.  It wasn't as bad as I had expected, but I wasn't able to drink it all.
Next I ordered the Nasi Lamak.  I had it for breakfast the other day, cooked in a banana leaf.  This was just the traditional serving as individual ingredients on a plate.
I ordered it without the chicken and so they gave me extra spicy dried anchovies.  I ate some of it, but it was way too spicy for me!  And I will confess this was way more anchovy than I could eat.  But I loved the rice because it is cooked in coconut milk.  Very flavorful!
It also came with traditional pickles.
Next I tried the Assam Laksa.  I ordered this because it was made with only fish, no meat in the broth.
It's a soup with fish pieces and noodles.  Like the fish head soup the other night, I was really interested in getting an idea of the flavors and stuck with the broth and noodles mostly.  I really liked it, but it was way too spicy!
When I was in Malacca earlier that day I was told to try Cendol.  It is a traditional dessert in Malaysia and originates from Malacca.  I was going to order it, but my very helpful server suggested I try the Sag Gula Melaka instead.  I am glad she did because I was hesitant for the Cendol.  You can see why from the description is just not so familiar for me as  dessert item.  Not sure how I felt about beans and green jelly!  I actually do eat a fair bit of beans as dessert but it is usually the bean paste.
This was the perfect suggestion and I loved it.  It is coconut milk with tapioca and then the sweetener (syrup) was served on the side.  You add it to make it as sweet as you want.  I would definitely get this again.
While I was at the mall I picked up some of these cute pens.  I love them...and I want more!  The one you can't really see is the kiwi.  My favorite food, so of course I needed the pen.  Love these! 
QUESTIONS:  Was your town or states settled by an specific group of people?  Is that culture and heritage still honored in your town?  Have you ever tried Malaysian food?  Do you like spicy food?

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