Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Post-Volunteering Jonker Jaunt

When my carefully laid-out accommodation arrangements for the MNS Green Living Turtle Volunteer Programme went awry, I was understandably frustrated and disappointed, but thankfully all the participants managed to make their own accommodation arrangements when I informed them, and nobody pulled out of the programme.

Aravind decided that we should reward ourselves with a post-volunteering overnight stay at Baba House, Melaka Town. I was pretty excited about it because the recent increase in my animal rescue and fostering commitments meant that I haven't had the opportunity to go on a holiday for some time. I use the term "holiday" loosely because almost all my "breaks" involve volunteering and a lot of backbreaking work. Going to the beach means collecting litter and conducting a litter audit. A rainforest campout means data collection work. Anything involving animals means hands-on animal care work and treating wounds and ailments. So I'll take what I can get. A half-day jaunt in Melaka Town could well be enough to recharge my batteries and offer interesting photo opportunities.

We arrived in Melaka Town around 11.00 p.m. after watching the turtle hatchling release. This photo was taken at the lobby of Baba House, in Hereen Street (now known as Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock). Baba House is a very affordable, charming and quaint little budget hotel.

I could not get enough of Peranakan architecture. I can imagine what it looked like in the heyday of the Peranakan merchants. These used to be opulent homes, occupied by proud and hardworking immigrants who made our glorious country their home and worked hard to build the nation. They brought trade and commerce, and also art and culture. I can imagine the matriarchs of the families, cooking hot dinners, assisted by female servants in the kitchen. I can imagine the clan associations bustling with activity to help protect the interests of their clansmen. I can imagine the men, comfortably straddling both Western and Oriental cultures, captains of industry, all.

The lobby of Baba House, with traditional Peranakan Chinese blackwood furniture, painted tiles, large carved mirrors and coloured window panes.

Long corridors that are so characteristic of Peranakan homes and shops.

A washstand with a painted Chinese basin in our delightfully simple room!

Time to go out for a walk at midnight. Oktoberfest comes early to Jonker Walk!

Oktoberfest in Melaka.

Pandan Coconut ice pops on thin bamboo skewers, just like the ones we get in Bangkok! Yummers! Know what I like best about these ice pops? No packaging. Just a biodegradable stick to throw away. Plus it is fair trade and locally-sourced.

Trishaws at the old Dutch watchtower at midnight.

Melaka River at midnight.

Walked into a mini market late at night and was intrigued by these seemingly homemade anthropomorphic lollipops. I guess I liked them because they came in glass jars with no plastic packaging. You just don't find many things that don't come individually wrapped anymore.

Aravind bought me a lollipop because my teeth just aren't in enough of a horrible state already. FYI it's not a feminist t-shirt (not that there is anything wrong with one). It's a t-shirt with a "Please Spay and Neuter Your Pets" message from KL Pooch Rescue.

Breakfast in the courtyard of Baba House! The food was not remarkable but wholesome enough, plus how can anyone not feel happy while eating in the morning sun?

Elaborately painted balconies to show off the wealth of the occupant. Swag, Peranakan-style!

I love the little bridge connecting one part of the shophouse with another.

Even the elevator has intricate carvings and the multicoloured window panes that I love so much.

Peranakan courtyard/ air well in the lower storey of Baba House, with wooden furniture and wooden deer.

Baba House is just across the road from this Chinese Clan Association building. Pretty impressive carved stone pillars and lions!

I told Shobie and Aravind that one of the stone lions is male and the other female, and they thought I was pulling one over them until I pointed out one with a ball (men being crazy about football and sports and all) and one with a baby lion. Until then, Shobs and Aravind probably thought the stone lions were identical. Well, we learn something new each day.

A daytime shot of the entrance of Baba House. Love the window arches. Love the louvred windows.

Love the baroque style of this building on the same street. Love the Art Deco style horizontal banding.

Love the painted stucco/plaster mouldings and friezes and neoclassical pilasters.

Cutest Tamil Methodist Church ever. I want to put it in my pocket and take it home with me.

The Durian Cottage. Resistance is futile. Despite the havoc it wreaks on my blood pressure.

Best durian gelato I have ever tasted. Minimal packaging (just a paper napkin). Fair trade. Locally sourced. No artificial colours or preservatives. All natural. Fattening as sin.

Love the pointlessly ostentatious decorations on the roof.

Love the ornate balconies and unnecessarily fancy pillars and pilasters.

Another clan association temple with very ornate carvings and paintings.

Gun Show! A tacky statue calls for a silly pose!

Love the giant 3-dimensional biscuits and pastries outside this traditional confectionery shop.

The long queue outside Nancy's Kitchen Restaurant tells me the food must be all kinds of awesome. I wonder if they have anything vegetarian for me.

Oh look! A quaint lovely little Buddhist community library in the middle of Jonker Street!

The Jonker Street Buddhist library afforded a quiet, cool sanctuary from the bustle and heat of the street outside. We picked up some books by making a donation.

I'm determined to make these overnight stays at Baba House an annual post-volunteering affair. Because good things shouldn't come to an end so soon.


Bookface said...

I LOVE your photos in this post, especially of the fabulous Baba House.

I didn't know that the Chinese lions in entryways were of mixed gender, either. The New York Public Library, of course, is guarded by Patience and Fortitude, but I believe they are both lionesses.

Looking forward to your next Melaka trip, vicariously. :-)

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Thank you for coming over, Bookface! You must join us on our next trip. You've already missed two of my Turtle Volunteer Programmes.

Ellen Whyte said...

Hey, very pretty! Malacca has been cleaned and spruced up since we were there. Must go for a visit.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Yes, Ellen, all spruced up now because of all the Singapore tourist dollars pouring in! The food is awesome. We all gained weight despite all the walking and physical activity.