Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Melaka

I caught a bus for the short ride to Melaka which was only a few hours south of Kuala Lumpur. Getting a local bus from the Melaka Bus Station was simple after asking at the information counter since the bus station is a few miles outside of the center of town. I managed to get off at the correct stop for China town where all the cheaper hotels seem to be located. The hotels that I have stayed at in Malaysia are not near as nice as the normal place that I stayed in Thailand but are about the same price. Malaysia is doing better than most of the countries in Southeast Asia and that is the reason for the higher prices for hotels and food. The prices are not that bad for most things except for the beer. I could get 3 beers in Thailand for the price of one in Malaysia and from what I have read there are some places in Malaysia where alcohol is completely forbidden since it is mainly a Muslin country.

Melaka has a lot of interesting history but most of it is based around the European countries that controlled it during the different time periods. It was a major trading port and was controlled by the Portuguese first then the Dutch and the English. The Japanese controlled Malaysia during World War II but since the port had lost its importance there does not seem to be any Japanese influence in the city. After the war the English were in control again until in 1963 when they granted Malaysia full independence. This is a picture of the English building that is now the Independence Memorial.



I just spent my time in the city walking around and seeing some of the old European buildings and visiting the history museum in the Stadhuys (City Hall in Dutch). This is a picture of the main square with the Stadhuys and Christ Church and both come from when the Dutch were in control and look very Dutch. The fountain in the middle is Victorian English.



I have not figured out how to say thank you in Malay but was able to say thank you in Chinese when getting something to drink in Chinatown. I heard it being said back and forth from others buying drinks and the person serving them. My thank you got a sort of surprised look and a little bit of a laugh which I got a kick out of.

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