Monday, 30 March 2015

Melaka and the final leg

Padang to KL flight

A long travel day  to leave Bukittinggi, bus at 08.40, at the airport before check-in for our 14.00 flight opened, hung around, checked-in, had a bite of lunch, got on the flight on time after they did a very quick turnaround. Arrived in KL having ‘lost’ an hour, walked for miles through the airport to immigration and baggage reclaim, was just beginning to think it wasn’t going to arrive and there it was. 

KL to Melaka
Off to the bus station, 20 min wait and on the bus for the 2 ½ hour journey to Melaka. Arrived at the hotel just as Earth Hour had started at 20.30 so felt a bit strange checking in in the gloom while trying to skirt round the two bus loads of Asian tourists who had also just arrived! Fortunately there is a Chinese food court right next door, the view from our window in fact, so some quick and easy, and very tasty noodles was just what the doctor ordered! Shame the two plates of food came to 10 Ringetts, just less than £2 while the bottle of beer was closer to £3!

Dutch Square Melaka. Looking pretty similar to the last time we were here in 2013, except the building on the right is now refurbished, whereas last time it was all covered up. (
Along the Melaka river
A good nights sleep and down to breakfast, a huge buffet of things recognisable, and not. Cake and croissant, fruit, toast and egg, noodles, rice, rice porridge and cook it yourself noodles with curry sauce! No lunch required today then!

Waxworks in the Cheng Ho museum depicting Cheng Ho (in blue on the left) and the Sultan of Melaka on R
Recreation of the treasure ship hold, including a giraffe as a present from Kenya
Off into the centre of Melaka to visit the Zeng He (or Cheng Ho) museum, this is the Chinese Admiral who is meant to have discovered NZ, Australia, USA and possibly even Italy in the 1400’s. Brian read two books by Naval historian Gavin Menzies about his journeys, one of which while we were in NZ, so we went off to look at the Moeraki boulders (lumps of rock or ships ballast?) and some old dock near to the Christchurch house sit (we couldn’t see it no matter how hard we squinted!) However B was interested and the museum was closed for refurbishment when we were here 18 months ago. Off we went, thinking we knew where we were going, and there was a Cheng Ho gallery as part of a big museum complex so in we went, it was rubbish, but the rest of the museum was quite interesting! Back to the hotel to lie by the pool – well it was the main reason for picking this hotel! Before looking on the internet and realising we’d gone to the wrong museum! Particularly irritating as I had found the museum website that morning, and given B the map with their location on to look at, but he already knew where we were going……!

Model of Melaka in Cheng Ho's time. Interesting model scaling
Great Indian for dinner, we’d been looking forward to some good Indian food here and we weren’t disappointed, not the best ever, but very good value £2 each for chicken tikka, garlic naan, biryani rice, tardka daal, popadom and mint sauce. Good practice for UK verses Asian portions? It was huge.

So another good breakfast, though half the good stuff only seemed to come out after the main rush was over, glad we stopped for that extra cup of coffee, before heading off to the Cheng Ho museum! Strange feeling of Déjà vu here! I think she took pity on us though after I walked in announcing we’d gone to the wrong museum yesterday and charged us half price! Fortunately for Brian it was interesting!

Models of Admiral Ho's fleet of more than 200 large ships. The largest treasure ship was 120m long by 60m wide making it the largest wooden ship ever built. The size of his fleet would not be matched for another 500 years. His recorded 7 voyages (plus many others Gavin Menzies attributes to him) makes him the most successful voyager in history
Quick trip to try to exchange our last two books, first bookshop, opening hours 12.00-18.00 still closed at 12.30, so did the 20 minute walk in the heat of the sun, “Mad dogs and English men” anyone? To the second shop which we couldn’t find! Thank goodness for the Salvation Army Family Thrift store. Sorted! Back to the AC, quick dip in the pool before deciding I would fry and back to the Indian for dinner!

The Cheng Ho museum Melaka
Really looking forward to being home, just not the journey tomorrow to get there! Taxi to the bus at 11.45, bus 12.30, flight 20.00 (yes, the 14.30 bus would have got us there at exactly the right time, but I need leeway!) to Saigon, gain an hour? Three hours there anyway, then 00.30 for the 13 ½ hour flight to Heathrow, arrive 07.40. 09.45 bus from Heathrow to Birmingham airport to be met by Denise and Paul (B’s sis and B-i-L) before meeting the new Grand Nephew Rory. Just hope he doesn’t cry or I may join him!

1 comment:

  1. Cant wait to see you when it gets to our turn! Its Friday here so know you are back. Have fun with the family! xxxx