Recent Entries

February 06, 2004

Blitzing Through Melaka

Melaka is a city about two hours from KL by bus. The city has been under the control of three different European powers, the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the English. Each have left their own marks on the city, as have the Chinese and Indian immigrants. You have to wonder what was left to the Malays!!!

Kathy and I went out for a brief walk, and wound up heading to four or five tourist spots right away because of how compact everything is. Compared to KL, this is super small.

St. Paul's Church was built by the Portuguese in 1521 and it was visited regularly by St. Francis Xavier, whose corpse I saw in Old Goa, India. Xavier was buried here for nine months until he was exhumed and moved to India, minus his blessing arm which was sent to Rome. Ironically, the statue of Xavier in front of the church is missing it's right hand as well, but it seems to be due to vandalism. Maybe his statue's marble hand was sent to Rome?

Right down the hill, the Porta de Santiago is all that is left of the Portuguese fortress A'Famosa. The only marking left on the fort ruins were left by the Dutch, who put the Dutch East India coat of arms on it. There are really annoying toy sellers who have bird whistles and you want to snatch them out of their mouths and stomp on them....

Chinatown was a great little area with alleyways winding this way and that. Between buildings there were strings of red lanterns which gave it a festive feel. On one street you can visit a Hindu temple, a Muslim mosque, and a Chinese temple which are all in a row. We even met a shoemaker who makes replicas of the tiny little bound feet shoes. Very disturbing....

On the same theme, we visited the Museum of Enduring Beauty. It had explanations of different practices such as foot binding, corset wearing, lip plates, intentional cranial deformation, tattooing, scarification, piercing, and neck stretching (which isn't really stretching). The name of the museum is particularly poignant because of the dual meaning of the word "enduring". The most baffling practice had to be the skull flattening/elongating practices. Newborns would have their heads basically placed in super tight material binding or even a head vice. Creepy stuff.

Tomorrow I am off for Singapore and to plan the rest of my trip depending on the airfares I can find. Who knows where I will wind up!!!

Oh, and if anyone is planning to see that movie "Timeline" which is based on a Michael Critchon book, I saw a pirated copy last night and it was terrible.

Posted by Claudia on February 6, 2004 08:52 AM
Category: Malaysia

Designed & Hosted by the BootsnAll Travel Network