Friday, September 08, 2006

Back online at last! Lots to update, so let's take it slowly...

Well, I'm back from Malacca. With me were Amy, Baggy, CQ, Dee, HP, Shah, and Vince, all stuffed into a Suzuki APV, the only Class 3 8-seater we could find on the rental market. More on that later.

We put up at the Hotel Puri, a refurbished Peranakan shophouse that's very proud of its heritage. It may not look like much from the outside, but it's quite spacious and comfortable inside. The rooms are functional, and thank God for air-conditioning. Service staff very friendly -- almost family-like even, about as familiar as that.

3 main activities that kept us occupied: eat, sleep and mark assignments. We made the absolute right choice in coming here. The food's excellent, it's quiet enough to concentrate on marking and since there are no other tourist attractions to distract us, we slept any time we felt like it without feeling guilty that we might be missing out on something.

For food recommendations, we applaud Shah for insisting we try the seafood at the Portuguese Settlement. Getting there without a map kept us in orbit around Malacca's Bandar Hilir until the Italy bakery we passed by again and again became our landmark for being lost. But the people were helpful and by piecing together their scavenger-hunt clue fragments we eventually settled at the Settlement for a magnificent feast. We polished off sambal fish, deep-fried calamari, devil chicken, 3-flavoured prawns, sambal kangkong and rice in a fraction of the time it took us to find the place. Half the fun is getting there, after all. No stingray as a mark of respect for Steve Irwin. Crikey!

A gold star for Baggy too, who found the little outlet serving the cendol and laksa she was raving about. "Donald & Lily," just across the big car park off Jln Tun Tan Cheng Lok. Fresh, concentrated coconut milk is the essence of their house specialties. If you're on a diet, too bad for you.

In the evenings, we gathered in the boys' room to watch the least intellectual of the DVDs CQ brought along (he'd taken it upon himself to be Entertainment i/c), though we never did play his card games. We were just too lazy to get ourselves that organized.

I got to drive the APV back in Singapore. For an 8-seater, it's powered by a relatively puny 1.6l engine, and looks about as sexy as a brick. I don't know how it handles fully loaded (ask Vince about that if you really wanna know) but empty it feels surprisingly nimble. Acceleration and braking are quite responsive; almost like driving a regular sedan though the vantage is slightly higher. Returned the vehicle to the rental company in one piece this time. :D

Great vacation! Got close to 40% of my marking load completed so it was a productive time too! We've proven we can travel together without killing each other so... let's do it again!

Photos here:
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by s_min_y

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