My last day in London finally arrived and I decided to bid adieu to the city by having afternoon tea at the Wolseley. Given that I had only recently had high tea at Fortnum and Mason’s, I thought that it was only right that I try having tea at the Wolseley’s as well. The decor there was very different from that of Fortnum and Masons. While Fortnum and Mason’s was very blue, Fortnum and Mason’s was very … black. Luxury black. And there was a lot of chinese furnishings. They even had a stamp dispensing machine made with chinese etchings. I was quite impressed. Although their tea was slightly cheaper than that of Fortnum’s, I wasn’t as impressed with their tea (even though their concierage was really really nice and treated us to some macaroons since it was also SuperMeg’s birthday). Still, I suppose you get what you paid for. Plus I would never have been able to afford a champagne tea anywhere else…
And so it came to pass that I finally came back home to Singapore. I bet my parents were hoping that this would be it. Unfortunately for them (and even for me), I made the decision to complete my residency in LA. Yes, I know. I can’t quite seem to keep still. I’m technically supposed to be preparing for my last year by studying. But I haven’t really quite gotten down to it. I’m putting it down to the fact that I’m still trying to recover from my final exams. But that’s probably a lie since even though I know I studied for it, I probably did not mug for it either so I still have plenty of mugging power left in me.
But the Portugese do seem to enjoy living certain souvenirs like ruins of churches named St. Paul (in case you don’t know…they left the ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Macau in their wake as well). However, I did manage to persuade my mom to go to Malacca (or Melaka) with me. If I am not wrong, Georgetown (in Penang) and Melaka are Malaysia’s two UNESCO sites. Which, if anyone is keeping score in this (un)friendly rivalry between Singapore and Malaysia, is two more than Singapore. Anyway, since I visited Penang last year, I thought I would pay a visit to Melaka. Both used to be Portugese colonies. I think the British exchanged Melaka for another colony, like Ceylon for access to their spices.
Somewhere along the way, Melaka also used to be a Dutch colony. They’ve also had a long history of having Chinese ties. One of their Queens (at least I think she was a queen) was a Chinese princess. The Sultan of Melaka married her and gave her a palace on a hill known as China Hill that has a well that has never ever dried up. By the way, China in malay is pronounced as “Chi-na”. The currency in the past was also quite unique. It was in the shape of crocodiles and cock. Seriously. Different currencies differed by size. Can you imagine what their business transaction is like? How much cock would you like for that apple sir? *ROFL* And while I had expected Penang to be more of an artist colony, it turns out that the Melakans had an even funnier sense of humor.
And Melaka is also famous for their chicken rice balls, of which I had more than a few. One of the charms of Melaka is their ability to preserve certain aspects of their past like the ‘ting-ting’ man (he chips hard candy into edible portions and makes a ting ting noise), and their durian chendol (which I wasn’t particularly enamoured with).
Well, that pretty much sums up my Melaka trip. Well, other than visiting the ruins of St. Paul, seeing the rock that Fr Francis Xavier cursed, visiting the Stadhury and well, generally shopping. I do think I have to make it more of a habit to explore SEA a little bit more. I’ve spent half my life in the Northern Hemisphere and I’ve neglected the South for way too long.