Wednesday, September 17, 2008

TBA Day 5: Melaka State of Mind

Dude. This place is so mellow (in a really good way). I have a tendency to be a bit… um… “intense” about things, but after my first full day here I just can’t seemed to get too bothered about things. I think in Singapore I sort of had a “to do” list of places I had to go, and (although I had an awesome time) it didn’t really feel like a vacation. Melaka totally feels like a vacation. Ringo (whose actual name is apparently not Ringo, but I’ll stick with calling him that anyway for the sake of continuity) was going to take me to the best laksa place in town tonight but apparently they’re closed, so he promised I can try it tomorrow… This is the type of thing that I would typically find extremely exasperating, but thanks to my new Melaka attitude I was just like “Darn. Well, OK… Whatever…” when he told me that my plans had been thwarted. It’s highly impractical to be in a hurry here or to try to be on a schedule. You may think (and I did think, until today) that would drive an OCD kid like me insane, but it’s actually extremely refreshing.
Today for lunch Ringo was going to order some satays from the (allegedly) famous shop two doors over for me (to save me a trip down the stairs) but they were closed (places seem to be open/closed somewhat arbitrarily here) so he took me down to the place next door for dim sum and brought his own whole-leaf Chinese tea to have with my meal. He got me hooked up then wandered off to deal with new people checking in. It turned out to be more than one person could reasonably eat, but for US$3.50 it still seemed like a good deal. The steamed things were sort of average, but the fried things were super-delicious. Sad that that’s so often the way of things…

After lunch I decided to fully embrace my tourist nature, so Ringo hooked me up with a trishaw ride, pedaled by the tiny old man pictured below:
Apparently you often have to wander out to the trishaw place, but he made sure the guy could pick me up and drop me off at the hostel, which I really appreciated. It was a pretty nice mellow way to see the city. He took me past all the temples and tourist attractions and pointed to indicate when I really ought to be taking pictures. What I hadn’t anticipated was being forced to have my picture taken at pretty much every tourist spot. He didn’t speak English well enough to understand that this really wasn’t necessary, but I now have a collection of maybe 30 pictures in the category “Emily standing in front of things looking increasingly hot and tired” (example below) from my 2-hour trishaw ride. I have a theory that if I shuffled the pictures you would be able to put them in chronological order to within 10 minutes based on the degree of hot-and-tiredness that is evident…
Nonetheless, there were lots of cool (and really old) buildings and 300-year-old streets to be seen, and it was fun getting a closer look at the city.

After a couple hours recovering in the A/C of my room with a book, it was time for dinner (even if that dinner was not going to involve the best laksa in Melaka). Ringo took me and four other lodgers to Capitol Satay, which is apparently a place we would eternally regret having missed if we didn't go... (Because Ringo is awesome, he drove us over since it was too far for a kid like me to walk.)
It’s one of those places where you have a big pot of the satay “gravy” boiling away in the middle of the table and you choose meats and veggies on sticks to dunk in it to cook… Sort of like fondue except with spicy, peanuty goodness… Each stick was US$0.20, including the giant (like 6”) prawns you can barely see in the background of the second picture below (in which “Ringo” is explaining how eat something…). He also taught us how to peel said shrimp using only our teeth while holding the skewer, which is apparently how it's done. The losers at the other tables only got tiny pathetic shrimp, but Ringo knows people so we got the giant-prawn-and-abalone treatment at our table (still for just 20 cents/skewer). It was fun to hang with other backpackers, and I love that Ringo is so dedicated to making sure his guests enjoy themselves and have good food…
It’s funny. The whole reason I came to Melaka was for the laksa (and, mark my words, I will be trying some tomorrow with or without Ringo’s help), and before I got here I would have told you that coming to Melaka would be a complete waste of time if I didn’t get to try Melaka-style laksa… But, you know… It’s really not going to kill me if the laksa thing doesn’t happen, and I’ll still be extremely glad I came to check out Melaka. It’s like people are always telling me (for some reason), life is too short to stress about the little stuff… My response to pretty much anything bad that comes up now is "Eh. Whatever. It will all work out somehow..."

As I’ve always said the opposite of (but now find oddly true): Plans are for losers, dude.

2 comments:

Max Power said...

"Plans are for losers?"

What?! Who the hell are you, and what did you do with my friend Emily?

Next time we speak, please explain to me what laksa is.

jadyn beverley said...

OH WAIT WHAT? "PLANS ARE FOR LOSERS?"
SO, plans are for losers now huh? PLEASED to know you are moving BEYOND! lol

you know stef's internet quota is busted this week and i only have the chance to read all of your 5 posts now. you have kept me laughing man! rock on dude! ;P