In any case, I loved the great number of religious buildings in the older parts of Malacca. Backtracking to the first afternoon, we walked around the old town, and ended up in the Keling Mosque. I was trailing behind a group of German tourists, trying to catch what the tour guide (who looked Japanese) account. Interestingly, and if I got it right (since my German is super rusty), the tour guide told the group that the Keling Mosque was based on typical Baba/Nyonya architecture. He mentioned several other things, which I couldn’t catch, but I was quite taken (in a non-morbid way) with the cemetery inside the mosque.
In fact, I found it interesting that there are cemeteries in the most unlikely places in the old part of town. You can be walking along the street, minding your own business, trying to find something other than Chicken Rice Balls to eat, and the next thing you know, you’re in a cemetary.
Anyway, we then headed to a temple at the end of the street. I’m not sure what the name of this temple is (wonderful travel writer that I am), but it was definitely a Taoist temple (as opposed to a Buddhist temple). Again, there was evidence of the dead, with the number of family shrines and the umpteen tablets all over the place. This temple was small, and choked up with incense and joss sticks, and the family shrines surrounding the outer walls made everything really oppressive. To make it even spookier (for me), there was piped chanting. Unlike, the Keling Mosque, this place gave me the chills, despite the bright scorching sun.
Next, we went off to a very large Buddhist temple across the road. This place larger and airier and far less creepy than the earlier temple. I personally liked the little lion statues outside the temple, they reminded me of the MerLion (heh!). My friend spent a long time looking at the statues of Buddha and the little coins and prayer beads, due to his fascination with Buddhism. After we had seen all we there was to see, we went off for a drink.
Sipping our drinks and just looking around, I realised how much focus there was on death in Malacca. From the cemeteries to the family shrines in temples to the undertakers on every street… Amazing!
Anyway, it was then time for us to go back to the hotel to change for the wedding. As mentioned previously, we went out to town again after the dinner for some drinks at the karaoke/pubs-with-live-bands. Tipsy for the first time in many many months, absolutely wonderful!
Then we got lost for two hours heading back to our hotel, which also included a little accidental visit into a Portuguese graveyard (did I mention that there were cemeteries everywhere?). Then sleep…
Then the next day (as promised previously), we checked out of the hotel. We decided to look at the sights (again), but this time, we decided on visiting the museums and galleries. We went to the Maritime Museum (the ship above was closed) and were not unimpressed (although not unduly impressed either).
We walked along an embankment, with a touristy-type market.
Then we bought a five-museum-in-one ticket. I must say, the art gallery was really the highlight of all this. I was especially taken with the work of an artist, Gerard Van Den Oetelaar.
Some of the museums had very interesting displays.
Then we headed home.
I have to admit, Malacca intrigues me. I definitely will head back!!