A Different Malacca

14 May 2015


My recent trip to Malacca is destined to be different from all my previous ones. 

Our first agenda on a cloudy Saturday morning was - picnic. Picnic while admiring the captivating Gunung Ledang. That morning began like this : we drove along a country road of Asahan in Southern Malacca, said hi to cows who were munching fresh morning grass, parked our car near a random bush and we started walking. Walking our way into Qiu Ying's secret location.

Don't ask me where, I have no idea. I followed her all the way and walked into this beautiful, serene secret garden. Uninterrupted, peaceful and quiet. We placed our food on the mat and began our surreal breakfast. Truly, it was surreal. Nobody was around, no pollution, no traffic jam. There was only us, a black dog who happened to pass by, a calm lake, fresh air and surrounded by mist, the mysterious Gunung Ledang. 


PICNIC AT ASAHAN


On the breakfast menu we had homemade kuih by Qiu Ying's mother, spongecake by her sister, fresh big jambu from the tree in front of her house, and coffee

Oh I haven't told you about my travel kaki yet. It is a strange coincidence how we met. Qiu Ying was my university acquaintance, she kind of led me into her pack. Skylar, Cyue and SJ, including Qiu Ying herself, were employees at Typica Pudu, which is now closed. Kent was a frequent customer in the cafe. I met Kent and Cyue on my first visit to Typica Pudu, met Skylar and SJ on my second visit. We barely knew each other.

Qiu Ying proposed a trip to her hometown, we said yes. Well as cliche as it might sound, you can say that "we met because of coffee".


Four of them worked at a cafe and five of them are true coffee enthusiasts. So naturally, no matter where we go, a barista will always bring her full kit. There're coffee beans (which I forgot their origins), a hand grinder, filter paper of course, dripper, a beautiful brass kettle, a thermo flask and seven cute little cups.

Before the food was laid on the mat, the scenery was already surreal enough. To bring the level of surrealism and dreaminess to the next, they performed a live showcase of coffee brewing. Once she started grinding coffee beans, the atmosphere was immediately filled with fresh air mixed with the bittersweet fragrance of freshly ground coffee beans.

And we ate cakes, drank coffee, talked, talked, talked and looked at the scenery.

Life is good.


All photo credits go to all of us.

This dog followed us all the way for food. She's friendly and certainly added an adorable element to the whole scene.

As if we were not lucky enough to have such a beautiful experience, we heard monkeys. There were monkeys across the lake up at the mountains. We heard them screaming and shouting for almost an hour, as if they were discussing something really important on a Saturday morning. Or were they talking to us?!

As I am typing this now, I miss this whole experience. Time is so good when you are spending it right with the people who share the same interest and passion.

Plus, besides being classy, hipsterly, artsy and all, they are funny and lame. Hehe.



RazKashmir Crafts

Among all other beautiful memories of the trip, our visit to RazKashmir Crafts was remarkable. We went into the exotic shop on both Saturday and Sunday, because we couldn't have enough of Zaffar's stories. He comes from Kashmir. He told us about his country, his people. He played instruments and shared origins of the colourful items in his shop. He introduced us to his neighbours, including a Pakistani uncle who speaks fluent Malay. He played us beautiful tune with a singing bowl.

My friend, SJ impressed me a lot. She visited India and Nepal, adored and deeply in love with the countries, culture and their people. She knows so much about that part of the continent and was constantly having deep conversation with Zaffar about their language and culture. The rest of us were just listening in awe. I've personally not been to India yet. How little I know about the world!

Somehow Zaffar's face is not seen in these photos. He is a good-looking and decent young man who makes superbly tasty Masala tea. 

It's hard not to remember that afternoon, when the sun was glaring outside, we sat on the floor on a Kashmiri carpet, sniffing in the scent of masala tea and fascinated by stories from another part of the world.

I remember SJ, wearing her new earrings, performed a few of her signature belly dance moves.
We shouted like fan girls.

The baby's name is Latte. Couldn't think of a better name.

ALLEY NO. 5

For our lodging for the night, of course our hosts, Skylar and Qiu Ying wouldn't disappoint us. In fact, they never disappoint. Somehow they are frequent customers of this cafe called Alley No. 5, got to know their boss and rented the hostel from him. Our home for the night is just above this cafe.

It's called The Bridge Loft, a two-storeys wooden structure. The beds were soft and cozy. To be honest, I had never expected to find such a little decent shop in a small alley like that. The alley was really old and narrow, but it was so lively and beautiful. 

The cafe. I had their Affogato, in which the vanilla ice cream chased the heat away. 

 Standing by the window of our room.


That Saturday was full of surprises. It started with the epic picnic, then treasure hunt at Jonker Street, had some good cendol AND at night, the surprises didn't just end. There was a live performance downstairs, right at our home. Our friend's friends, are a group of young people who are passionate about music, though occupied with other jobs, never give up their dreams and love for music. 

The band's name is Yina 蚁呐 which means “ant’s roar”, "ants have tiny voices but they try their best to be heard.” Hong Kong super band, Beyond, had inspired each of them at different stage of life. The Love and Peace message in Beyond's music extends into their lives and transforms into an infectious energy. We all, the audience felt so good that night.

There're beer, root beer, cakes baked by the singers who are professional bakers, good music and good friends. Life is good.

OTHER CORNERS

The old Malacca town is getting more attention from artists. More shops turned into vintage stores, more cafes are open, more artists are here. More beautiful little corners to be spotted around the town.

The booklover's secret hideout. I doubt you know this place exists on Jonket Street. It's called Noble Man of Venus Library 金星上人图书馆. It's unbelievably old, secluded and quiet inside here, in contrast with the busy street on the outside. With a cup of tea, I can read here all day.

A friendly aunty happily posed for me while she was toasting bread on a charcoal grill. This shop is located in Tangkak. Its ownership was passed from generation to generation for over a hundred years.

Seven of us, coincidentally all in white, posing in front of Alley No.5. 

TRAVELLING IS GOOD

As I see more of Malacca through the eyes of the locals, I think it's erm... Malacca used to be totally different in my old impression. I remember  the canons, the old A Famosa, the sweet layered cake, Menara Taming Sari, the museum, lining up for satay celup, the same shop for laksa, the big mall and other familiar parts of Malacca.

This time, it's different. Finding the right travel kaki is so important.

My travel mate: Skylar and Qiu Ying are fantastic tour guides, Cyue is a funny girl with blonde hair, SJ is a confident woman who knows belly dance and a bit of Indian, Kent is a funny man, my sister is a great companion and she's supportive. It's all thanks to them, I had a great time.

Really, finding the right travel kaki is so important.

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