Melaka

13 October 2015

Cheng Ho Tea House, Melaka

Back to Melaka again. Seems like I'm always related to the state this year. First I was involved in publishing the Hotel Room Magazine, then I visited Melaka with a bunch of interesting people, a memorable trip which I wrote about in a blog post called "A Different Malacca". I believe there'll be more visits in the future.  

This time my getaway was only two days and one night, with Grace, Yiing Yee and Yu He. There're plenty of things a bunch of scientists can contribute to Melaka, originally we were there for a mission-slash-collaboration, but somehow we digressed a little and the trip became all about food, small talks, new places and discoveries. And to top it off, travelling with my host, Qiu Ying is always exciting and full of surprises!  Regardless how many times I've been to the area, she always manage to open my eyes to new experience and friends. The trip was a true bliss!

This just proves one thing, my dear, that if you've traveled to the same place, and you think you've seen it all,  and you think you know it all... you're probably doing it wrong. You're probably not looking careful enough.

Backlanes in the old town were recently revamped. Not only there're countless murals on the white walls, the maze-like district hides other beauties, such as this beautiful flower vines draping over a small door, where I imagine a little girl in braids and dress would hop out from here. 

Cheng Ho Tea House, Melaka
Cheng Ho Tea House, Melaka
Cheng Ho Tea House, Melaka
Cheng Ho Tea House, Melaka

Cheng Ho Tea House in Lorong Hang Jebat 郑和茶馆

When I first saw this tea house in April, I told myself there's absolutely no reason I would miss this. It took us a while to find it as the exterior was modest and understated. It was only when we walked in that we realized that the interior was this magnificent. This building belonged to Kapitan Lee, hundreds of years ago. It stood the test of time and today we could still admire the beautiful art pieces of the Chinese as well as the Baba and Nyonya community. Our ancestors, the Chinese were truly real masters of using mixed materials, textures and patterns. It's a good spot for photography.

Food wise, the tea house serves good vegetarian food and tea. The price is reasonable too.

Melaka
原来心即佛,究竟我为谁

Melaka

Cheng Hoon Teng Temple 青云亭

Stepping into the oldest temple in the country, this time we had interesting findings which I'd missed during my previous visits. The patterns, carvings and statues in this temple are different from the usual ones we see in other Chinese temples. It's not difficult to observe that the black and gold door frames are uncommon, the statues are decorated with porcelains and marbles, instead of clay and wood. It must be a real challenge to restore and maintain its splendour. 

金星上人纪念图书馆 The Memorial Library of Jin Xing Shang Ren, Melaka

金星上人纪念图书馆 The Memorial Library of Jin Xing Shang Ren

We hid inside a quiet library after lunch. This secret hideout is located right at the noisy Jonker Street, but not many would know its existence. It is a sanctuary for those who like a moment of tranquility and cool air. Oh of course, I got to know this place thanks to the great Melaka expert Qiu Ying!

This portrait of Yu He is easily my favourite photograph of the whole trip. You can hardly see a huge grin on my face in photos, I wish I could laugh more naturally like her in front of the camera. 

Melaka

Breakfast for Sunday morning was wonderful. Our host prepared a table full of food and kits for making fresh hand drip coffee. We smelled coffee beans, tried to manually grind coffee beans,  talked about the art. We took our time to appreciate and savor the black liquid carefully with our taste-buds. 

Melaka

Qiu Ying and her sister, Qiu Rou were the best hosts we could ever dream of. They made dhal a few days in advance, we came at the right time to fully worship its well-developed flavours, spiciness and aroma. Served together with the delicious dhal were slices of bread we bought the night before at Kampung Machap Baru.

I must apologize for my ignorance - I hadn't heard of the place before! Apparently there's a bread factory in Kampung Machap Baru, where the friendly boss brought us to tour around his factory. I couldn't describe how nice they were to us, although we popped into his shop suddenly around 8pm. They showed us the machines, the process and treated us their famous roti-kok. And apparently he called his son Bread Prince, and his father the Bread King. He himself is the old prince. I had a good time that night, eating street food while listening to karaoke performance by uncles and aunties. 


Sitting on the floor of her living room, Qiu Ying showed us how to choose good quality coffee beans.


After breakfast, we drove to the Secret Garden. I wrote about it before in another post ("A Different Malacca"), and some friends asked me for the GPS coordinates. The truth is, this place is so hidden that it's almost impossible to come on your own, without guidance of the locals. I'm sorry. I'll continue to lure you with photos. 


We spent around an hour here looking at the lake. During my last visit I had a picnic here. This time I was sitting on the mat, listening to a short lecture by Yu He, who is a geologist who studies rocks. She explained to us the composition, formation of this rock and what probably happened to it since millions of years ago until today. That was fascinating!


One of the most memorable moments of the trip is definitely this puppy. On the way back from the Secret Garden, we drove along a quiet route and saw this puppy wandering around. As I carefully drove by, cautious not to hit her, she followed our car for a short distance, before being distracted by a motorcycle passing by. She's too young to know danger and the bike almost hit her!  We left with a heavy heart. A mere 5 minutes later, we returned to the same spot. We decided to bring the puppy back to the town and see what we could do. An Indian man, who was taking care of her temporarily,  said that somebody dumped her there. He didn't intend to keep her and happily give her to us.

Being the first timer in a moving car, she was feeling a bit giddy dizzy and very quiet. All of a sudden she vomited on Qiu Ying who was holding her. We quickly brought her back to the house and bathed her. She's extremely adorable, with pink fleshy paws! Later that evening she found her new owner. It was all whirlwind.

Popchuco Art Gallery Cafe, Muar
Popchuco Art Gallery Cafe, Muar
Popchuco Art Gallery Cafe, Muar

Albeit we had limited time, we managed to visit Muar to try local delicacies and visit Qiu Ying's  friend's Popchuco Art Gallery Cafe. It's the perfect place for the five of us to sit, relax and talk about life, future, relationships and everything else. This homestay and cafe is owned by seven young people of my age. I was reading their background and thinking, what am I doing with my life?! Okay let's not talk about quarter-life-crisis now.

So that was a really good time! It's astonishing that no two experiences, or moments that are ever the same. There's always something different, something new, something exciting. I'm starting to learn to practice curiosity in my daily, seemingly repetitive routine.

My dear, I welcome you to join me on this exercise: live mindfully, find wonders in everyday's life, and cultivate joy in it. Let's do this together.

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