trails & tribulations

by Jakob

The steward in the bus calls “Malaka, old Town!”
Malaka, the old center of the city is on the World Heritage List and by hearsay it must be all very interesting.
The old medieval monuments, mostly build by Dutch settlers are quite nice, at first look they don’t look so old, perhaps because the buildings are painted red-brown, at least it all looks very attractive and apparently many other tourists think the same … as busy as it is. I probably will have enough opportunities to see this all and decide to go looking for my guesthouse situated somewhere in chinatown.

“have you booked a place to sleep?” asks Alan, “yep, I”, I reply. Alan is from England and he earns his living by working in guesthouses, he surprised me in the way how he’s manifisteerd: uncomplicated, straightforward, somewhat unruly, many jokes in between, actually quite overwhelming, but – it soon revealed that Alan is a great guy – he creates a good atmosphere with his jokes, curiosity and openness about what what moves him.

The guesthouse where I stay hot alan-Jalan Emas and actually consists of two guesthouses, the other, Jalan-Jalan Besi, is also managed by an Englishman, Lee, and he is very active and enthusiastic in organizing sightseeings through the city, and does all that for a hobby. With a small group of people we cycle into town on our way to a nightmarket. just to have a look and to taste the exotic foods and snacks. After our “dinner” we cycle – at times against the traffic- back to our guesthouse, where Alan has not left loose his job as a manager of the guesthouses. It almost looks he works 24/7.

The next day, Lee asks us to have a look in a Sikh temple and with a small group we go on our way. In the temple we may also enjoy a free meal with the only condition that we clean our dishes and cutlery, no problem of course.
I wonder if there are Sikh Temples in the Netherlands where they serve meals … okay, the Salvation Army does, but I do not think I belong to the target group to eat there, maybe better.

All in all, Lee and Alan give you a sense of ‘join the club’, you feel at home, as if you know all the other backpackers allready for a long time.

Better, much better than the guesthouse I had in Singapore.
Thank you Alan and Lee, and everybody I was with, you really made ​​Melaka for me!

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