Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Malacca : Happy Cycling Painting Malacca Redder

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Malacca / Happy Cycling Painting Malacca Redder     | Go to Day 2
                                      AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                  
Malacca : Happy Cycling Painting Malacca Redder
Day 1 - Malacca 23rd August 2014 
Large Group Ride : Day 1 - Around Malacca City
Distance : Not tracked.
Time : 4:45 pm - 8:45 pm
Duration : 4 hrs. (including stops for dinner, visits to key points in Malacca's Historic Centre, group photo shoots and regrouping.)

Route Recommendations:
1. Malacca's Historic Centre has many interesting places such as the red Dutch Stadhuys, remnants of the Portuguese A' Famosa Fort, the Malacca Riverside, Jonkers Street, etc.
2. Foodwise, don't miss the renown Chicken Rice Ball.
3. A good place for dinner is Aunty Lee where they serve authentic Malaccan Nyonya Food.


PRELUDE

Happy Cycling T-shirt
Our Happy Cycling Group had been given a great opportunity. The group leader Tailim (of the hApPy HaPpY blogs) has been contacted by KiP Mart to organize a group of cyclists to attend and be part of the promotion of the opening of their new hypermarket outlet in Batu Berendam, Malacca.
I must say that I am most impressed by the efforts put in by my friends to put this opportunity into reality. Within a week, T-shirts were designed and printed. These T-shirts had the words "Happy Cycling" at the front, which will gain some exposure for our group...


... while at the back is printed the KiP Mart Logo. We will be cycling around Malacca City to promote their opening.

As it will be just a week away from Hari Merdeka (Malaysia's Independence Day), we decided to fly the Jalur Gemilang (Malaysia's National Flag) from our bicycles and helmets for an early patriotic celebration. Flags were purchased together with poles for flying them attached to our bicycles. Here's Nash trying out a prototype.


THE RIDE

(Apologies, no ride route map has been included here, for route maps of cycling around Malacca City click here and here).
KiP Mart will be sponsoring our one-night stay, dinner and lunch while we are in Malacca. They have also sponsored for the T-shirts and Malaysian flags. On the day before their opening, forty of us drove down to Malacca and checked into the Casablance Guest-house, a fairly large homestay that could accommodate us all.
After checking in, we tied our flags to our bicycles and prepared ourselves for a ride around Malacca City.


While the rest were preparing themselves, some of us, who had missed lunch, rode over to have the famous Malacca Chicken Rice-balls at the Wang Wang Hometaste Restaurant. It is not THE PLACE TO EAT CHICKEN RICE-BALLS, but theirs were good. An advice here, pricing of food in Malacca is getting touristy, do check the prices before you order.


Riding off, we did a quick spin around Malacca's Historic Centre, at times riding down narrow streets. Malacca is an old city, so some of its streets are very narrow, so do ride with care.


A quick stop at the entrance to Jonker's Walk where some of us took a photograph at a stage that look like one of those Chinese Opera ones.


(Click on photo to see a YouTube presentation of our ride here.)
Cycling down the historic centre, we must have made a sight with the Malaysian flags fluttering from our bicycles and our helmets. Malacca with it's interesting past and historic buildings is already a colourful place, with our happy laughter cycling through the town, we have painted it even redder!

(Click on photo to see a YouTube of us being happy here.)
Over at the Dutch Stadhuys, a very recognisable red fort, we stopped for a group photo. But the place was too crowded and the passing traffic was too heavy for us to take a good photo. It's okay, we will be here again later; hopefully by then the crowd would have lessen and the traffic lighter.


We saw a couple of mime dancers in full colour of pink and gold on their way to work. They do take their work seriously as even their faces have been painted in matching colours.


At A'Famosa we were more succesful, we unfurled the KiP Mart banner and took a nice group photo. We do take our roles seriously in promoting our sponsor.


My Brompton bike was feeling at home here too, it's Raw Lacquer colour matching the earth tones of the Portuguese fort. You must be wondering, what are Dutch and Portuguese forts doing in Malacca. Well, the city has a rich history of being a Portuguese colony, then a Dutch colony and then an English settlement. Coupled with Chinese, Arabian and Indian traders coming to trade here in the past, Malacca indeed has a very colourful history.


Passing by the Maritime Museum, we saw this life-size replica of a Portuguese Man-Of-War. This is the war-ship and not the Man-of-War jelly-fish, although both pack a punch!
It would be great if replicas of  the Chinese junks used by Admiral Cheng Ho is displayed here too, then we can compare how the East and the West fared against each other in the past.


Back at another street in the older area, I captured this photo of a man just lolling at a timber door of a house that looks like it's a throw back to one of colonial days. I realized that it was not only a photo I captured, but that of the essence of old Malacca too; one of a easy going life just idly watching the world pass by.


Passed by this house painted in bright pastel colours; it's the Straits Chinese Jewellry Museum. Hmmm..... looks like an interesting place, perhaps I will visit this place next time I am here again. I am glad that they used the words Straits Chinese and not Peranakan; Peranakan sounds such a course word, a word I think the Singaporeans adopted just to distinguish their past from that of the Baba-Nyonyas and the Straits Chinese of Malaya.
The bright pastel colour reminded me of the bright blue Cheong Fat Tze Mansion up in George Town, Penang; another place steeped in colonial history. In fact, both Malacca and George Town are on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List.


We finished our short tour of the historic centre and headed back to Casablanca to meet up with other friends who had arrived later. This little girl had cycled with us and seemed un-fazed with riding with us adults.
Unfortunately, another group of friends riding recumbent bicycles had not shown up and we decided to cycle off for dinner after leaving them messages.


Dinner is at Ujung Pasir, and I was leading the ride as two friends local to Malacca could not join us due to some personal reasons. Having previously rode to Ujung Pasir before but not being able to remember the route that well, I relied on Google Maps to lead me. But as we cycled on that route, the roads looked unfamiliar. It was through a newly developed area. I recalled that the one I had previously took was through a much older area. It seems that Google had plotted a route for driving by car, and it took us one big round through the newly reclaimed Kota Laksamana area. Oh dear, being disorientated, I sorely missed my Malaccan friends.
But my other buddies seems to take this in stride, they were happy to be cycling more. We cyclists are a crazy lot!


The longer route was a blessing in disguise as a couple of clicks down the road we saw our recumbent bicycles friends riding in confidently from the other side of the road. With a shout, they were quick to make a U-turn to join us on our ride to dinner.
These guys are great! They had cycled more than 180 km. from Kuala Lumpur to join us, starting the previous day and camping a night at Port Dickson before continuing on.


Dinner was at Aunty Lee's at Ujung Pasir.
We were Happy Cyclist, we were joyful cyclists...
AND we were also hungry cyclists!

The food here is good, tasty and definitely will satisfy the hungry cyclist:
Like this one called Ayam Limau Perut, it's a curry cooked with Kafir Lime Leaves.


Even their simply poached Okra with a mountain of chilli/onion garnishing on top was good.


So was the deep-fried fish with this nice chilli combo (... for more of what we ate, see Aunty Lee Tempted 2 blog).


Back at the Stadhuys, the traffic was lighter.
Just right for a group photo... also with the KiP Mart banners - we are earning our keeps for sure.


Back and after storing our bikes, we took a walk out to Jonker Street to enjoy a bit of Malaccan night life and ended up at this pub.
This singer sang great ballads from the seventies and eighties like "American Pie".
It was a rockin' nite, it was a good night! It was a night that had put us into a right mood.
Tomorrow will be a great ride day for us.


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