March, 2012

This page is written monthly
by Harumi Okochi.
Sometimes Harumi's friends join.
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previous issues.


Statues of Saint Francis Xavier
and his Japanese translator Yajiro
Xavier introduced Christianity to Japan in1549.

 Squall in Melaka
Trip 2012 February

March is here. Spring is here! How are you doing?
This month, my husband Akihiko Okochi tells you about his recent trip to Melaka, Malaysia.
He went by himself, as always. Please enjoy his photos.

Trip to Melaka, World Heritage City
          by Akihiko Okochi

I saw the web site of the Transnasional Bus Company in Kuala Lumpur and tried to reserve a seat through internet. But it didn't work. So I mailed to the hotel at which I had reserved a room and asked to get a bus ticket for me. There was no answer, either.

30 January, 2012
Left Fukuoka by ThaiAir at 11:40. At 20:00 on the day I arrived at KLIA. I went to the bus terminal right away and found that the line to Melaka had been abolished now. Only LCCT terminal is available.

I took the shuttle bus to the Concord Inn. I asked about my request of the bus ticket, but was ignored. Now I learned that I should do everything myself here.

    31 January
I took 6:00 bus to KLIA and changed the bus to LCCT.
The Transnasional Bus starts at 7:30. Before getting on the bus, I should buy the ticket. I went to the ticket office and found nobody. After going to the office 4 or 5 times, I was told the officer would come at 8 o'clock.
After all I bought the ticket in the bus. Alas!
On both sides of the highway, palm trees are fresh green, and my ride was quite pleasant. We got to Melaka Sentral, and took a taxi to the downtown.
I started my first step of sightseeing in Melaka from the Christ Church Melaka in Dutch Square. the symbol of Melaka's historical heritage.
St. Paul's church was built in 1521 by a Portuguese. From this hill, the Straits of Malacca is seen.
Porta de Santiago is a fortress built by a Portuguese admiral in 1511. It was badly damaged during the Dutch Invasion in1641.
Near the Porta de Santiago, Melaka Sultanate Palace is an attractive cultural museum. This is a wooden replica of 15th century Malay palace. In the court flowers are beautiful and people were few. I enjoyed a quiet time here.
In Taman Meldeka Square, Proclamation of Independence Memorial is attracting the sightseeing eyes with its colorful domes.
I took a short rest at the hotel, and then walked out to see the sunset in the Straits of Malacca. I waited until 7 in the evening, but the sun was still high. So I went up to the hill where St Paul's Church stands. Suddenly I was caught in a squall. I ran down the hill and jumped in a Chinese restaurant, Tan Shifu, in the Mega Mall. This was my first experience to eat Chinese Medical Food.
Though wet all over, this squall will be one of my important memory of this trip.
February 1

The day broke.
Last night, from the Jetty near Holiday Inn, I had found a man-made island. I saw a floating Mosque, and many buildings under construction there. I met a Hungarian young man and we crossed the bridge together.
These buildings were fenced in, and we could not make a short cut and went around.
After a long walk we got to the Mosque. The man in charge let us see the inside willingly. I took off my shoes and went in, my first experience too in a foreign country.
I walked long again back to the hotel and checked out. I had to move to the China Town where my next hotel was.
The Chinese New Year starts on January 23 and continues for 15 days till February 6. Big dragons were decorated at the gate of the town, and all over the street, celebration red lanterns were hung.
On one street, we can see Chinese Cheng Hoong Ten Temple, Indian Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple and Muslim Kampung Kling Mosque (photo). It is a great harmony as a multiethnic society. Ethnic Chinese-Malays called Baba-Nyonya in Malacca still reserves their culture.
The Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum was the ancestral home of three generations of a Baba-Nyonya family. They allowed me to stay overnight in one of their 4 guest rooms. The entrance part of the 1st floor is a cafe, where breakfast and lunch is served. Guest rooms are on the 2nd and 3rd floors. At the public space on the 2nd floor, we can use internet, toilet and shower.
My room was on the 3rd floor. Narrow steps I had to go up and down. With a heavy luggage, it was quite thrilling.
The architecture was amazing, and the owner and the staff were kind and friendly. I appreciated their kindness to let me use their room in spite of little inconveniences.
February 2.
I stayed at The Majestic Malacca. My hand-phone had been unusable since I came to Malaysia, but a Japanese girl working here adjusted it for me. It was a good luck of me to have reserved this hotel. Now I could call or mail to and from home.
Shown into the room, I was served tea. The tea-pot and the cup were kept warm in a basket.
The building of the guest rooms was opened in 2008, but it was designed classically to match the old Lobby wing building.
From my window, I saw the Malay Village with red roof houses along the Malacca River.
I had lunch in the Lobby, and went for a walk to the Malay Village. These houses open in the evening as restaurants, but in daytime, there was no sign of people.
At 7, I went to the 2nd floor dining room of the hotel. I found no other guest, and as soon as I took seat, piano performance started. It continued until I finish my dinner. All the music he played was Japanese melodies. Thanks to the pianist Mr. Summer Huan, I was quite satisfied with this dinner of a king.
February 3.
Checked out at 11, and took a taxi to the Central Station.
Several bus companies cover the route to Kuala Lumpur, and the rates differ. My bus, Transnasional Nice costed 23RM, and this was the most expensive one, told a taxi driver. The reclining seat was comfortable. I spend the next 4 days in Kuala Lumpur, but my story today stops here.

I came to Melaka to feel free from a mono-value society. Here in Melaka, multiethnic society admits different values, different religions, different cultures to live next door. English language itself has changed its shape here, in spelling, meaning and pronunciations. Bus is bas here, national is nasional here. Well, you can use any language as you like it, if it can be understood by public. The squall in Melaka washed away the hard obsession of my 78 years old brain. I feel quite free now. Thank you, Melaka!

How did you like this trip? Did you enjoy?
I hope you will visit this page again next month.

 Mail to Harumi Okochi