Monday, January 16, 2012

More Malacca Exploring

01/12 Thursday
First-class Gentleman's Street (Heeren Street) is one street over from Jonker Street. There are some nice hotels on Heeren to visit. We find a totally restored shop house called Baba Nyong, literally meaning "man woman", but generally used to refer to the Malay culture.

Shop houses are just that, a shop on the first floor and living quarters for the owner-family on the second. Because taxes are assessed on the front footage of a building, a shop house is narrow, but deep with one or two light wells as you proceed to the back. This particular shophouse belonged to a family that traded in spices. It must have been a good business, because the house is very large and elegant. Even the underside of the winding staircase has gold gilding. Family lived here until 1942 and then turned it into a private museum. Chinese guide explained the ornate furniture, exceptional huge embroidered tapestries and life there in general. She also had memorized several jokes that were cute.

Lunch of chicken rice balls at Famosa restaurant prepared us for a short walk to the reconstructed Sultan's palace and gardens. Constructed entirely of wood without using any nails, the palace was used as living quarters by the Sultan's family, and as the administrative HQ where the Sultan conducted the business of his empire. One Sultan divorced his wife, so a friend (?) could marry her. Rather strange. A large beautiful garden with walks and ponds is located in front and was a play yard
for a princess. They had an enormous display of the clothing the sultans and others wore. All looked very hot !

Christ's Church, originally a Dutch Reformed church, is located on the main square. Our visit there is prolonged somewhat by a sudden downpour. The Church is devoid of any ornate decoration, no stained glass windows, plain wooden pews, and unpainted walls.

In an attempt to find the Saint Peter church, we get pretty lost wandering along streets of the modern city. Giving up our search, we follow the river back to the old town and our hotel. The town has used wall art as a means of dressing up the riverfront buildings, without which they would be boring and ugly.

No comments:

Post a Comment