Saturday, 31 October 2009

JONKER STREET, MALACCA

Going to Jonker street is a must when one is in Malacca.


I've been here many times and I still love the feeling of walking around here..walking on narrow lanes..



...and narrow streets..


..walking between shops selling many things, and in between people's houses with original floor tiles - I think those tiles are beautiful, giving much character to the houses.


Looking at colourful Chinese temples and there were plenty here.


Walking along colourful streets and looking a old signboards which we almost never see in the urban area we lived in now.


Looking at antiques and those flower shaped iron cast are used to make local biscuits, you dip it with the batter into a frying oil and then you'll have a flower shaped type of biscuit.


While doing this post, I am wishing how nice it would be if blogger will allow me to upload 30 pictures in 30 seconds or when this blog will be self expire or terminate due to too much photos, much like Melanie's first blog. Yes, it will happen one day. I've seen porcelein in plates and bowls but not in doors as in this picture.



In all streets, one find both commercial and houses sit side by side, a reminder of the old charm or old China in Malacca.




Or going to this cafe named Cheng Ho with terracota statues outside.


I should sit on one of these tricycles with their disco music blaring away, here a tourist humored me with lots of posing and dancing while seated on one.


Lots of Chinese inspired antiques around in every corner. I was thinking of Lisa everything time I saw them...in fact, I thought of her all the time, from the Majestic Hotel's pistacio coloured theme to these wonderful history-laden items from China. Somehow, I am sure she will spend hours if not days here browsing through all these stuff and buying them too.









Even the Chicken Rice shop screamed for attention..


Street food. A man selling steamed peanuts on a trishaw.


After walking under the hot sun which seem forever with the 3 grumbling kids, we finally reached our destination - Hotel Puri. I told my husband last year that I wanted to stay here, another classic old mansion cum hotel, with lots of charm and antiques inside..but then Majestic Hotel popped open and we changed plans.





We stopped for lunch here and this is a peek of what's inside. Will do a separate post on Hotel Puri, which is always fully booked as the pricing is very affordable and gives tourist a good insight into the Peranakan Nyonya Baba culture which is so well known here.



A MUST visit to the Peranakan house but no photographs are allowed inside.


Trust me, if I could I would, buy this huge antique urn used to store pickles or preserved vegetables from China..it would be a perfect home for my lotuses.


The Hokkien association was elaborate and didn't shy on it's decor.


An old man outside another temple.


Why not buy a pair of Chinese clogs and wear it at home :)


Loved this very old blue tiffin carrier which was so heavy and expensive too!


School children on a tour buying jellied fruits on a stick..

..or buying miniature metal art.


Passing through an old Chinese medicinal hall.



The yellow sign translated means the name of the Chinese traditional man and him specialising in herbs, and me thinking of Diana in the states..rabbits aside, she is the person I go to for traditional advise. Funny how it is, there's tons of them at my town and I am consulting Diana across the pond and oh yes, she will fit in here perfectly :)


My Malacca is still not over. I loved this old photo from the Kebaya book and want to re produce some of the most beautiful images in the next post.


Another image from the Kebaya book. I told my husband that the next time I see this image, it will be me taking the actual photo, not from a book. This is an iconic picture of a another old and well known mansion in Penang, often reproduced in postcards.


Bye everyone, happy weekend.

Monday, 26 October 2009

THE MAJESTIC HOTEL, MALACCA

We spent last weekend at our historical city and state, Malacca. When I read that the Majestic Hotel was opened under the YTL group, which are well known for luxurious and some of the best hotels listed here and in the world, I just had to go and see for myself. You see, I don't have a great passion for very old stuff, especially old houses or hotels. Maybe the ones I knew are never well maintained, but this 1920's mansion was different. It was YTL's first classic hotel. I fell in love with it without a doubt. While the reception area was an old and beautiful mansion, they had built a separate hotel which houses less than 60 rooms. This was copied from their room's book/reference and it was on the first page. I thought it was really beautiful and had an accurate description of this place.

VISITING MALACCA
By Shirley Geok-lin Lim
from Monsoon History

Someone lives in the old house:
Gold-leaf carving adorns the doors.
Black wooden stairs still stand
and winding like arms of slender women
Leading to the upper floors
It is as I remembered
But not itself , not empty, clean.



Since I have scrubbed the sand-
Stone squaqres and turned them red
The marble yard is stained with rain,
But it has not fallen into the rain.
Weeds have not seeded the roof nor
cracked flowered tiles Grandfather
Brought, shining in crates from China.




Since I have saved the old house
It is no longer dark with opium
or with children running crowded
Through passageways, the well has been capped
the moon windows boarded
Something of China remains,
Although ancenstral family is gone


I dream the of the old house
The dreams leak slowly like sap
Welling from a wound. I am losing
Ability to make myself a home
Awake, hunting for the lost cousins,
I have dreamed of ruined something
And am glad to find none..

--- the end---


I love this reading room, cosy and perfect for tea. Never thought I would love this colour but I do, and remembered Lisa's pistacio's post too.





Every corner of the reception and I do mean every corner, there is something for you to snack on for free. Be it nuts or just old fashioned perserved plum from China..it makes me very nostalgic, even munching on such comfort food and snacks. Snacks that reminded me of my days staying with my late grandparents in their old house...I think that's the feeling one gets from staying here, the good mixture of old and new.




The service was perfect. This pretty host in kebaya and sarong escorted us to our room and I was called by my first name throughout the two days, that's how personalised it was. If I was this slim, I would be wearing the kebaya too :P



And the room was one of the best I have ever stayed. Spacious and luxurious, with great attention to details. They will turn down the bed at night and serve you nyonya cakes...yes. Xue..nyonya kuehs!


Bathroom with sliding wooden doors and claw footed bath and separate showers..wow!! I was very impressed.


I can spend the whole day lazing here near the window reading..and with a view of the Malacca river.


Oh, did I tell you they have my favourite coffee table book of all time, a book about the beautiful KEBAYA..worn by the Nyonyas, Chinese descents who embraced the Malay culture.


Here's a peek of what's inside the book..and I love everything Nyonya, the food, decor and culture as my late grandmother was one.





...and then, there was the Spa Village.


No, I didn't try it but I got to go in and wander around to take pictures and see the display -- some antique Nyonya slippers. A spa using all natural ingredients and lots of spices for the weary body.



Those spa beds all facing the pool...



A private room inside the spa and I love that Chinese Nyonya basket filled with more spices!



Bye to Majestic Hotel..but I shall be back again.



I have stayed in many other hotels in Malacca, but the Majestic beats them all. It is the most expensive so far in Malacca, but you will not get the same atmosphere, experience and feeling elsewhere. There are still plenty to blog about, Jonker street - a shopping heaven for antiques and handicrafts, and of course...food, so stay tuned :)