Thursday, July 14, 2011

Highlights of Malaysia part 2

Highlights of Malaysia part 2:

Other interesting tid bits of Malaysia: they use a Romanized alphabet, just like us. Even though I couldn't understand the sings at least they didn't look like complete hieroglyphics! They have a lot of different cultures here, that seem to get along with each other. I found that while the cultures have certainly mixed together,there seemed to be more of a distinct line between them than in other places I've been. The summer months the locals call "Arab season". Since it is so hot there, they come to Malaysia to escape due to the large Muslim community here. The Highlands I could understand, but the beach and pool I didn't really. Sure, the husbands and kids could frolic in the water and sand, but the women were left poolside in their burkas. Which just seemed really unfair to me, everyone else got to play but them. Even after all my time in different Arab cultures I still at times, don't completely understand or fully accept their way of doing things. Anyways...there's a lot of culture here, but some things look just like home. They have big, flat highways and communities with cookie-cutter neighborhoods. I even saw a Giant grocery store!
 I set out for Melaka, the last of my stops Malaysia. I really like Melaka, it's small and easily manageable on foot, exactly the kind of town I prefer. There are heavy Dutch, Portuguese, and British influences in the architecture reminiscent from the years of control each country had. Several years ago they were declared an UNESCO world heritage site and they did a major renovation throughout the tourist sections of the town. The Dutch painted the town hall square a pinky-brick red color, which was carried throughout different parts of the town; ambiance lighting at night adds to the splendid atmosphere.
On the bus ride from KL I started talking to a local Melakan uni student, who not only helped me find my guesthouse, but also offered to show me around to the popular local hawker stalls. During our quest for food we ran into a couple of girls I had met at my guesthouse and the 4 of us sat down for some incredible naan. Oh my word, the best naan EVER! How I heart bread-related foods!
The next day the girls and I set out for some sightseeing. We started with what we were told (by my new Melakan friend) was the most popular Melakan breakfast, chicken and rice balls. It was pieces of really juicy and flavorful chicken shredded and served with rice balls, with a spicy dipping sauce. It was good, a little unusual for my breakfasts tastes though. It took us all morning but we finally found the pineapple tarts that are known here and the spring rolls. Gotta get all the local treats! During our walk several shop owners took the time to explain to us their trades, like the Chinese traditional wooden sign maker. It was cool to be able to talk to them about their trade and learn about something different. I had no idea it takes so long to make a Chinese wooden sign.
That night I ended up running into my Melakan buddy while I was out scouting dinner with a New Zealander that I had met at the guesthouse. My local friend suggested a place where they serve a fondue, but curry style. You sit down at a table and they bring over a big vat of this really thick, almost chunky peanut-laced curry, and place it in the hole in the table. Mean while, you go to one of many fridges and pick out the skewers that you want. I was partial to the pork balls, wantons, and bok cho. At the end they tally up you're skewers and tell you how much you owe. It was a fun way to eat, I may never be able to go back to the Melting Pot. No, that's a lie, I'll go back for the chocolate fondue! 

No comments:

Post a Comment