Third Time’s A Charm

I was about to jump to where Ate Kee-El (Remember that loudmouthed iguana-piranha hybrid?) was seated, grab her in a headlock, and stuff all of the underwear I brought inside her oral mucosa when I saw that we were approaching Melaka Sentral. Finally! The moment the bus stopped on the platform, the Actress and I immediately grabbed our backpacks and went straight to the door before all of our murderous thoughts take a life of their own, break loose from our minds, materialize in this miserable dimension, and annihilate Ate Kee-El and her fake blonde hair.

We walked inside Melaka Sentral and not much has changed since the last time I was there. The Actress and I first went to a Transnasional booth to buy our bus tickets as we planned on leaving Melaka after four days and head on over to Penang. We initially thought of eating lunch first before heading to Melaka’s Old Quarter, but we eventually decided to hold off the eating spree and grab a bite instead after we check in at the hostel. We parked our lovely behinds at the back of the bus and waited for the driver to leave the platform. And oh boy did that blasted driver wait and took his damn time! He refused to leave Melaka Sentral until the vehicle was packed and looked like a sardine can with wheels. Thankfully for him, Ate Kee-El really made certain that she murdered everybody’s eardrums so I was too tired to give Mr. Bus Driver an earful (Yes, we are really talking about ears today).

The very first time I went to Melaka was in 2011 together with my sister. I remember that trip very well because we hopped inside the wrong bus and ended up in a residential part of the city that was almost an hour away from Melaka’s Old Quarter. What a roaring start for my first visit to Melaka. Rookie mistake and all, but frankly, it was fun getting lost. That’s part and parcel of being a traveler after all. We only allotted two days for Melaka back then and I felt that it was not enough even though the city’s Old Quarter is small and you can see all the attractions in half a day or less.

So when I returned to Malaysia in 2013, I made sure that I visit Melaka and stay there longer than my previous trip. I spent one week in Melaka (With the national elections coming up) and I was actually considering moving my battered carcass there at the time. Have you ever gone to a certain destination and it immediately felt like a second home to you? That’s how Melaka is to me. The Actress was curious what the place exactly has and why I wanted to go back, so after spending a few days in Kuala Lumpur we decided to throw our awesome selves in Melaka. I did tell her to manage her expectations because there isn’t a lot to see and do in that city, but my warning was unnecessary because The Actress also found it difficult to leave when this leg of our trip was about to come to an end.

The Actress and I spent our first day roaming around Melaka’s Old Quarter and visiting the usual tourist spots like the Dutch Square, St. Paul Hill, and A Famosa. As I’ve told you, you can see almost everything there is to see in this part of Malaysia in half a day. This freed us up the next few days to focus on other aspects of traveling like mingling and interacting with the locals, talking to and befriending fellow visitors, visiting museums and art galleries, and trying out different restaurants and sampling all sorts of delicious street food. Slowing down allowed us to take in the whole experience, and see Melaka beyond its tourist attractions.

The Actress and I also went our separate ways during the afternoons, which enabled us to discover the place on our own, experience people, things, and situations completely unique from each other, and most importantly, it kept us sane and it kept us from killing each other until the end of this trip.

A lot has changed in Melaka since the very first time I went here. Well, it’s been what? Almost five years since that first trip. As expected, a lot of developments have taken place around the city and Melaka had a more touristy feel this time around. Marie, a fellow traveler we met, also had the same observation like I did. In spite of how excessively touristy it has become, Melaka is still charming in my book and yes, it still feels like a second home. Thankfully they kept the Old Quarter as it is. There were definitely a lot more people and cars roaming around the streets, but there were no major, drastic  changes and nothing shocking like gruesome vehicular accidents, or bloodied or dead pedestrians lying in the middle of the road, which, by the way, are pretty common scenarios in my home country’s capital region. Wait; that thought just made me want to consider moving to Melaka all over again. Oh crap.