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Saturday, November 17, 2012

November 11 - 13, 2012 – Port Dickson and Malacca/Melaka (Po-tay-to/po-tah-to?)

At Admiral Marina we tried in earnest to live up to everyone's expectations of doing nothing but lazing at the pool acting retired.  I swam a little but the most exertion Frank wanted to expend was walking into the pool while keeping his beer hand out of the water. This is the life, at least until the monsoon rains hit each afternoon causing everyone to race for shelter from the lightening part of the storms. We heard that yet another yacht has been hit. Sitting ducks is what we are and yet there isn't a thing to be done about it but pray. We have enjoyed reuniting with Bob and Isabel from the yacht, Bicho Vermelho, a Brazilian couple whom we'd met in Opua, NZ in 2009. We have introduced them to the Class of 2012 (the group with whom we are now cruising). 

Sunday was the Sail Malaysia Rally's official welcome reception and buffet. They keep feeding us like we are royalty. If we don't watch it we will all bear a strong resemblance to King Henry VIII!

Monday morning, we piled into large motor coaches to embark on a tour of the historic and ancient town of Malacca or Melaka (the historic name for the town) that is considered the birthplace of Malaysia. The town is a study in convergence of cultures, religions, and architecture. Originally settled by Sumatrans, then "discovered" by the Chinese, and greatly influenced by Dutch, Portuguese and Indians, it is now largely a tourist destination. Our first stop was a beautiful and rather small Chinese temple, followed by a trip to the Cheng Ho museum to see the history of Melaka from the Chinese perspective. It housed scores of artifacts from the Tang and Ming Dynasties and related the exploits of Zhen He, aka Cheng Ho, the Chinese eunuch cum explorer, mariner, admiral and diplomat. The museum was built over an excavation site where ancient wells and fields of Chinese pottery were unearthed. They were left intact, and have been marked by barriers. It was truly fascinating. Some of the pottery was brilliantly restored and preserved.

Walking through the modern city we passed a number of ruins from the 1500's and 1600's, stopping in at "Fort A Famosa" and the remains of the mission of St. Francis Xavier. Today of course there is not much left of either other than the droves of souvenir hawkers and artists. We purchased some charcoal sketches of the mission, the Chinese temple and the old town, looked down into an empty crypt at the mission where people toss coins, hoping for a Blessing and then moved on to the shopping district where, according to Frank we could purchase future garage sale items. Not true, but he was happy when I parked him with the boys and went shopping with Ute and Isabel. Soon the driver came for us motioning it was time to leave. We hadn't seen enough and wished we had followed the example of some friends who rode the bus in, got a hotel for the night and planned to find transport home tomorrow.  Because we are hoping to remain in Malaysia/Thailand for a year or so perhaps we'll get a chance to return.

1 comment:

Gillie Davies said...

Wow Barb, what a great update, although a little scary about the lightening, but thanks for letting us know in advance about what to expect. So glad you are doing the cruising thing and spending all day either relaxing by the pool of shopping - Oh my ! you are so lucky! lol. As for the Henry VIII thing, just keep on practising the accent dahlink! ha ha. lots of love and hugs to you both. Me & Her xx