Melaka, Malaysia

Melaka is a former Portuguese territory (similar to Macau). Then it was handed over to the British. There used to be a Sultan but the Portuguese drove him out in 1511. Melaka comes from the name of a tree that is common in the town.

House fronts in the city are narrow at the front, similar to Amsterdam, as the Dutch controlled at one point and taxed the front width but didn’t care how far back the house went. The streets are also narrow as they were made to only be wide enough for horses and buggies.

The city is famous for chicken and rice balls, for which there was a massive line to purchase the simple dish in the center of town. They are also famous for Nyonya food. Nyonya represents the ethnic Chinese who moved to Malaysia way back when. Intermarriage between Chinese immigrants and Malays resulted in a different type of food. The same thing happened in Singapore, which had a similar but different result with its food.

After a Nyonya lunch, I got a chance to explore and walk around some more. In the center of town is Christ Church. It has a pink exterior with a simple interior. There are also the ruins of St. Paul’s church. The waterfront area features an old sailing ship, some cute shops, and great people watching.

We visited a shop that sells shoes that were traditionally made for those who had their feet bound. It was a compelling story but also hard to swallow. The feet were bound and never grew resulting in an extremely small foot.

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