After Singapore, Val and I hopped on a bus and headed north for 5 hours. We ended up in the town of Melaka. Depending on where you look, the city has different spellings. On official signs, I also saw Milaka and Wikipedia shows Malacca. No matter, after we got off the bus, we were still in the hot as f**k land of humidity and heat. Luckily, our hostel was just across the street from where the bus dropped us off.

The proprietor of Backpacker Freak is named Sean and he's quite the character. About 5'4" and 98 lbs, he chain smoked and drank beers from early morning until he went to bed. He had opinions on everything and was quite knowledgeable and interesting. 

In the 1400's, Melaka was the main port in the area. Sometimes, up to 300 ships would be anchored in the harbor, waiting to trade. The Dutch took control in 1511, but their system of trade favored government monopolies so most traders took their ships to other ports rather than pay the heavy tariffs.

On our first night in town, we wandered into Chinatown and looked for a place to eat. It wasn't all that fun dodging cars in the narrow streets and seeing nothing other than tourist trap places. We wandered quite a few blocks before we found a little Thail restaurant that had surprisingly good food. Back at the guest house, we found out that the night markets were only on the weekends when they close some of the streets to cars. 

Eager to see the market, we ventured out the next night, only to find that the small shops had mainly just moved their stuff into stalls on the street, removing much of the walking space.

Other than the dim sum stall,

most of the food looked pretty yucky to me. Then we found the seafood stalls and had some tasty stir fried prawns and mussels,

Fresh squeezed juice was only 4RM a glass, barely more than a dollar. I wasn't too full so we found some other snacks on the street and stopped at a bar. We only wanted a beer each, but every place had happy hour deals. We ended up getting a "jug" of Tiger beer for 30RM (~$10). A jug was really 4 glasses since they didn't have pitchers. If we'd had just two beers, they would've been 14RM each, so we just bit the bullet and drank the extra beers. Life can be rough when you're travelling. . .

One thing that really amazed us was the number of tourists in town. After the Philippines, we'd gotten used to places without many tourists or else travelers like us. Not so in Melaka. We spent much of the first day trying to avoid being in other people's pictures and then just going with it and photobombing. It was really stupid, but fun.

Some folks dancing to Lady Gaga in the Chinese church.

The bicycle trishaws were pretty fun too. After making fun of them, there was nothing else to do but just go with the flow and hire one. I'd been watching them though. Most all of the guys were playing the same song on their iPods. Finally starting to tire of Psy, I brought my own iPod and tried to find a mix of stuff that no one else out there was playing, like House of Pain.

We also took a trip on a river boat. They're pretty touristy, but we ended up having a pretty good time.

Yes, that's a christmas tree made out of Carlsburg bottles.

There was a pretty good mix of folks on the boat. We had some Malaysians, with their boys waving to everyone. Lots of Chinese tourists filled the middle of the boat and there was a group of Indian women on a "mission". They were having a great time, laughing, giggling, and they borrowed a baby from the Malaysian family to coo over it. At one point, they were teasing one of the girls because she was laughing so hard. She said that was it, no more laughing. At that point, Val leaned over and said, "OK, I'll be watching you!" The extra attention was too much and she started laughing uncontrollably.

Boats weren't really that fast.

We made the most of it, but I'm not sure I need to come back to Melaka. . .

Val's pics are here