Malacca malarkies (1)

 Sundays are days of rest therefore it might be expected that we would have an even later wake up call. However experience has shown that a realistic time from wake up to out of the door (specially if packing is involved) is two hours therefore the alarm this morning roused us at 7.00 am as we had plans to fulfil before we caught the coach for Malacca. Joyce had been very effective at researching the local churches and we had selected the 9.30am English service at the KL Baptist church, located near Bitak Butang, realistically a taxi ride rather than a walk, given yesterday’s experience. What could go wrong, we would be in the safe hands of a local armed with ‘the knowledge’ and a taximeter. Unfortunately Eric made the mistake of asking ‘how much?’ rather than relying on the meter and the driver had great difficulties finding the address, despite being located near a distinctive hotel. We began to realise that the KL version of ‘the knowledge, was perhaps not as thorough a London’s when we stopped for the second time to ask the same local taxi drivers for directions. We were eventually dropped in apparently the general vicinity of our goal and the taxi roared off, leaving us standing bemused in a strange street. Assuming that it was the street we had asked for we scouted back and forth, frustrated again by KL’s voracious appetite for civil engineering projects which blocked access in one critical direction. Having set out in good time to make the start of the service, time was now pressing so Joyce resorted to asking a different local taxi driver for directions. He very kindly gave us the route to the actual street on which the church stood and we rapidly headed in the right direction and were delighted to find the correct street and some clearly numbered buildings. Plain sailing we thought, just count the blocks and we will be there just in time. We found what should have been the church building, only to find a hotel. We wandered back and forth and all around it, but no sign of a church. Asking again we finally found the church, a modern construction tucked back from the street and 3 buildings further on. So much for logic in numbering.

The service itself was excellent with lively worship and a well delivered word. As visitors we were made effusively welcome and we felt guilty on having to leave right at the end of the service as we had to check out of the hotel. We had left the hotel at the end of a thunderstorm and as we left the church the heavens opened. Joyce had come prepared with her umbrella and we made a dash for a convenient taxi, on the meter. This swiftly returned us directly to the hotel at a quarter of the cost.

Having checked out we left the luggage and wandered into the Central Market to admire the crafts. Eric acquired a snazzy new leather belt in passing and we settled to lunch in a café, before returning to the hotel to collect our luggage for the next step in our journey.

Feeling accomplished and experienced KL taxi users we approached the rank to find a driver to take us to the southern bus terminal (TBS). No one wanted a journey on the meter and we stood on the corner frustrated by this until a passing cab agreed to a metered journey, which in the event proved to be half that demanded by other drivers.

Once at the purpose built, modern coach terminus Eric easily converted his internet booking into two paper tickets and we and our luggage found the departure gate albeit via the escalator, manned by a vigilant ticket checker, rather than the preferred lift. The bus departed on time and with its wide, comfortable seats it proved an excellent way to reach Malacca in just under 2 hours. From Malacca Sentral a friendly and voluble taxi driver brought us to our hotel.

The Baba House is an heritage hotel on the edge of the renovated China town in Malacca. Traditionally decorated it is a comfortable and convenient base to explore the historical parts of town. We began our wanderings with a look at Jonkers Street and found a nice restaurant for our dinner. Malacca is a cosmopolitan place as evidenced by Eric’s meal of sweet and sour pork with chips. After the repast we returned to the hotel for an early night.

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