Today I had decided to adventure around Chinatown which is a set of blocks and temples, stores and restaurants which kind of lead one back to Jonker Street. I set out after breakfast this morning with the camera to walk the different blocks, look at the architecture and shops and people and most of all try to find a sample of the area in the blocks I walked.
I think I was successful overall but as in most things the tapestry and looks of a thing changes even from the day to night but I do feel that I was able to walk some very entertaining blocks, see some interesting people, and also some very unique architecture. I have a thing for smaller business signs, windows, and architecture by itself which does not amount to much. With the FujiFilm X100F its easy to capture things like this since the camera is so small and easily carried. I’m forever thankful to have the Fuji camera as my travel buddy. Anyways, here are the days adventures so you can see what I saw today. Since I randomly walked the streets and alleys, I have no idea where I was at any specific time. For me, it makes the day more interesting and random. For you, it may not provide context. For that I’m sorry but its just the way I go.
Some basic comments though that you may find interesting about Chinatown.
Streets, alleys, side streets. These streets seem to run randomly through the blocks that make up chinatown. Many of the major streets end up either at Jonker Street or back at Malacca River and a bridge. The streets also kind of roam in a certain pattern which I suspect is not just random. When you walk the streets in Chinatown, you see alleys and side streets criss-crossing the area. Some are very small but yet cars go down them albeit slowly. The streets seem to not be one way but I only have seen cars going one way down most of them. Very interesting if you like streets and alleys like I do!
Shops and Restaurants. Dotting the streets are small shops selling pharmacy items, food, tea, kopi, artwork and souvenirs, and yet other shops which are small labor shops for metal workers, smithies of some sort, and family construction work. Very interesting when you look at the intricate storefronts and displays that advertise the shops.
Ads, Billboards, Street Art. There is a nice component of this as you can see in the pictures. There are nice signs for coffee and tea, a few signs of more abstract design, and then there are wonderful hand painted store fronts that emerge as you go. It really creates a dynamic and diverse yet consistent environment that you have to see. I believe if you have visited other Chinatowns you know how this works.
Temples, Shrines, Places of Worship. Lots of these including a Tamil church, many Chinese temples and shrines, and historic buildings and museums that may have been temples at first. Melaka is a very interesting historic town so you get a look at this in Chinatown all reduced to a set of streets and alleys, shops and restaurants and the arts.
I hope that helps explain the pictures a bit! It was a lot of fun today to explore. Now I’ll transition you to my evening because I own the words 🙂
Evening and Food and Beer
So I had decided to visit a Chinese restaurant tonight to eat that is a block away. Why? Because the Chinese restaurants sell beer and I like to have a few beers with dinner. Sure enough the one I chose had a variety of menu items and the folks spoke English so ordering was quite easy. I had a nice pork rib curry dinner with steamed rice and two small tiger beers. Its always funny both here and in Singapore that the beer costs more than the food overall. I paid about $2.50 for the dinner which was quite a deal but adding in the beer made the dinner cost a few dollars more. It does not really matter because after walking through Chinatown all morning having that cold beer and dinner really worked well! If you are coming here, my hint is to find a Chinese restaurant if you want beer. All of them I think sell Tiger beers or others. I just find the food to taste better with a cold beer.
Final thing or three…
I’m fast approaching my year living in Southeast Asia. I will be there in a few days. Its been an interesting time for me but I will be posting a retrospective type thing about how all this has come about, the places I have been so lucky to see, and my adventures going forward. I feel very fortunate to have this life now. I’ve been able to define the value and worth of my life. Its something for a long time I had wondered if I could. Now the days and hours and moments are mine. I can define what they are comprised of. Reading, walking, taking pictures, eating good food and drinking cheap beer. Its all part of the bigger thing which came about in 2018.
Anyways, stay tuned for that post. It will come up about 1 March or so.