Lovely Week. On a physical level, experiencing progress with barre and physical exercise. Socially, meeting a new friend for a drink and watching the most intense film I’ve ever seen, Dunkirk, skyping with my grandmother and her friend, who always have so many experiences to tell about – from their roadtrips around Denmark, their social engagements and the books they read – and meeting S for a sake-tasting event at the beautiful Pixy Bar in Robertson Quay, which he stumbled upon last week. Mentally, feeling ready for adventure: the week’s highlight is our weekend trip to Malaysia, leaving Saturday morning on a coach to Malacca and returning back to SG on Sunday night.
Informed Spontaneity in Malacca. The old Malay seaside town is a popular destination for Singaporeans looking for an easy getaway. It is primarily loved for its famous food, historical sights and proximity – the drive itself takes just 3.5 hours, with lush palm tree plantations framing the highway on most of the stretch. We did, however, wait for a total of 6 hours in the immigration queues on both sides of the border, which for the most part wasn’t a problem: we’re both pretty patient by nature, and spent most of the time reading, meditating, hugging, kissing and just being. The only tiny issue was that I really, really, really, really needed to pee when we were standing in the slowest-moving queues of them all, on the Singapore side on Saturday morning. With smooth dance moves and a high amount of concentration I managed to hold it in – and really appreciated the relief I felt when we really got through. The travel time meant that we had just 24 hours in the UNESCO World Heritage city, but that felt all right, actually – as much as we enjoyed the vibe, we didn’t feel stressed out about what we didn’t experience – Google and our Airbnb host provided us with tips for food and sights, but we mainly wanted to just wander along and drop into random alluring-seeming design shops, galleries, bars and cafes. Soak in the impressions – pretty Peranakan facades, colourful murals along the river and various small, thoughtful details, such as light poles adorned with golden leaves or red paper lamps hanging above windows. We walked a lot, smiled a lot, spent a lot of time sitting on stoops and benches in the sun, enjoying what we saw, heard, smelled and felt – Malay and Western vibes alike.
The Bridge Loft. We stayed in an old restored shophouse on Bridge Street, right on the river in the vibrant Jonker area, and our host was a kind young guy who took his time to draw a map of the town and point out his favourite eateries and cultural sights before leaving us in the clean, well-kept, airy and very simply decorated house.
Saturday. Late lunch of lovely laksa at Calanthe Art Café. Walking along the river and up through Jonker Street. Enjoying a cup of v60 filter coffee in the sun in front of the very hip Mods Cafe, where they take their coffee extremely seriously. Checking out Malaysia’s oldest temple, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, in Harmony Street, right next to a Hindu temple (Sri Poyatha Vinayagar Moorthi) and the Kampung Kling mosque. Walking back down to the river and crossing it to see what’s on the other side (churches, museums, grassy promenade along the water). Taking a rickshaw back to Jonker Street. Enjoying a beer at a reggae bar by the river as the sun sets, lots of river boats cruising past us, some of them full of partying young girls – bachelorette parties, maybe? Walking up to Curly Tails through the bustling Jonker Street Night Market for a light and healthy meal in a beautiful space. Walking back along the river, admiring the beautifully lit houses and the well-manicured greenery along the promenade.
Sunday. Walking back up the river as the sun rises, popping into a hole-in-the-wall shop, Poh Piah Lwee, for a local breakfast – a smiling old auntie cooks us a fragrant laksa and blue nyonya rice dumplings. Walking down the street and stumbling upon the beautiful Heesan Kopi, where we buy piece of wooden art made by a French-Malay couple. Climbing Bukit St. Paul to check out South East Asia’s oldest church, shaped by Portuguese, Dutch and English seafarers respectively, and gaze across the ocean. Back up to Jonker Street for a 30-minutes foot massage (mine is super soothing, while S gets a very aggressive treatment, his guys compensating for being 15 minutes late by using way too much force and speed in his movements – as he doesn’t listen to feedback, S decides to just lean back and smile calmly, while I find it hard to resist laughing). Checking out some flea markets. Cold-pressed juice in the leafy coolness of Heesan Kopi. Enjoying a natural organic vegan local soul-filled lunch in the artsy sanctuary of Seed Garden, before taking a last stroll down along the river and heading home.
Next Time (Maybe):
- Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum
- Chicken rice balls at Kedai Kopi Chung Wah for breakfast
- Masjid Selat Melaka on Pulau Melaka – check out the mosque at night when it’s all lit up…
- Check out the Portuguese Village – architecture, food, vibe…
- Coffee at Khaki Coffee Bar
- Dinner at Capitol Satay Celup Restaurant