I went to Melaka directly after we arrived at Kuala Lumpur from Myanmar. Which begs the question what to do after Myanmar? Melaka was unfairly put to a spot wherein it has to at least keep up with the highs of both Bagan and Yangon in Myanmar. If i came here a different time, I would probably have more fun and desire to take photographs. Still, I did a lot of walking around streets littered with old and historic structures mixed with the modern ones (a replica of Marina Bay Sands hotel in SG is currently being constructed near the waters of the straight of Melacca) , trying out local dishes here and there. It wasn't bad at all really.
I arrived at Melaka Central bus station at around 8:30 pm, the sunlight just flickered out of the sky a few minutes earlier so I feel like its just only 6:30 pm. I got confused at what part of the station has the loading bay of buses going to downtown Melaka. I asked this random guy who is an Indian descent handling out flyers for direction and speaks perfect English with a London accent. He asked where I was staying, I told him I booked a room at Le Village Hostel. He told me "perfect, I've a hostel located at the same area, you know what I could take you there, there's my car there and two female German travelers are at the back seat, they will be staying at my hostel. Just pay me 10 ringgits and we're good to go".
It was a good deal since taxi fare going downtown is pegged at 15 Ringgits minimum. I followed him to his car hoping It wasn't a trap to lead me to his butcher place. I slowly took a peek at the two figures seated at the back of the car. When I got inside the passenger seat I still half expect the two to drug me with a pepper spray, instead I was greeted with a cheery hello's. The two German ladies came from Georgetown in Malaysia and as I told them where I'm from they both answered in unison "Palawan!, El Nido, best beaches we've seen so far"
Dave, the hostel who owns the car told us a little bit of his background. He was born in India and lived there until the age of 9 before they relocated to London where he spent 25 years of his life. He also traveled the world and mentions the hometown of the two ladies, Munich as one of his favorite cities in the world. He spent a short time in the Philippines in the 90's but was only familiar with a few provinces in Northern Luzon. He has been living in Malaysia for seven years now. One of his staff at the hostel is from Pampanga. So he knows a bit of Tagalog words. As we passed by an old house, he told us a story of the previous owner who owned hundreds of cats, "he was bading, see I know a bit of tagalog, so he lived alone until he died"
Dave played the role of our tour guide while he steers his car towards the downtown area of Melaka. He pointed to the largest mosque in the city and the biggest cemetery in the country and in South East Asia. I was trying to remember the place he pointed out as I was intent of visiting those places the next morning, but half of my attention was directed at the two giggling ladies at the back seat. Dave kinda notices it and told me "You know what, why don't you just stay at my hostel and have drinks with them (pointing to the two German ladies) and the other guests". I entertained the thought, but I already booked another hostel and only paid 10% downpayment for two nights. For a business standpoint, its a no-no for a traveler to cancel without prior notice. Because Le Village already reserved a room for me. I told him about my booking and Dave instantly understands it.
A few minutes later we rolled into the center of the town. The lights of the restaurants littering the streets excited me as I plan to do a lot of foodtripping the moment I drop my backpack in my room. They dropped me off in a corner street and Dave pointed me the building where Le Village is located. I paid him 8 Ringgits and apologized for not having enough coins, I bowed a bit to look at the two ladies and bid my goodbye.
Le Village is located on the second floor of a building and occupies up to the top fourth floor. I was greeted by two half asleep front desk staff. When I got to my room on my floor I noticed all the doors of the other rooms were open and I'm the only guest at the whole floor. A sense of loneliness lingered quickly, and the thought of staying at Dave's packed hostel and drinking beers with the two German ladies seemed like a great idea I choose to pass on. I never got the desire to go out that night. Tired from the temple hopping in Bagan and all the layover at KL airport while waiting for my bus to Melaka. I hit the sack and just savored the feeling of sleeping in a city I've never been to before.
I woke up the next morning with a slight fever. I thought about sleeping the whole day. But the traveler in me kicked in and refused to be downed by a virus. So, I was able to walk around sans an appetite for some serious food tripping. I just drank fruit juices the whole day until later in the afternoon where I had my first meal. I saw some of the old structures dating back to the years of both the British and the Dutch. I had Cendol ice cream and even saw a giant lizard swimming by the river. Got hit by a bird shit as well. During the night I walked around Chinatown in the famed Jonker Street which is lighted with Chinese lanterns and the neon lights originating from the river provides a romantic sight. I felt more lonely again. The flu virus and solo travel doesn't jibe real well I supposed.
On my second night I already can't wait for the next day to go home. I was questioning myself if I'm cut out to do long term traveling since I already felt homesick and alone - after my Myanmar travel companions have gone home already. Maybe it was just a case of the flu, the highs of Bagan, Myanmar and the different appeal of Melaka which at that time failed to jive well with myself. Lost in transformation perhaps, of going from one place to the other. I may have failed to adjust my expectations as well. As I said, If I would have gone to Melaka at a different time, I would have enjoyed it more and I promise myself to do a lot of food tripping the next time out. As I was charging my phone in the living area of Le Village, an old woman came out of her room and sat at the sofa. We talked about this and that and I found out she's living in Melaka for 6 months now and she's originally from England.
"I'm not fit to walk around and explore so I just want to stay in a city for a number of months then I go to another place" she told me. She looks like past 70 already. I realized, if she can do it then I could do it as well. Screw the sickness, of home and my physical body. At that instant, I felt like taking a bus instead of going back to Kuala Lumpur but to a random city. Oh well, I've work to go back to that time. Next time I won't question the road again and won't entertain the thought of homesickness and loneliness ever again.