30th January - February 10th
Malacca is like an awaiting breeze on a hot, spicy day-another reason why we found ourselves back in her presence and charm.
There is an old Chinese man that sits in his house at nights and watches his TV screen while on the other side there are football goals and the crowd is roaring. He sees me peeking into his window and smiles and yells out for me, "Newcastle 2, WestHam 0". An elderly Malay woman sits every morning across Sama-Sama guesthouse where we stay and waves us a hello. Her eyes glow with youth.
Our morning ritual begins at a local Chinese coffee shop where the customers don't say much but their orders haven't changed for at least 20 years. We were sure that the (frighteningly) serious woman, who serves us "Kopi-O and Kopi Ice" in these last few weeks, isn't a human but a zombie. She never smiles but in the last 3 days something strange has been happening. We caught her laughing out loud to another customer and couldn't help but laugh along.
The weekly night market fills Jonker Walk with lights and cooking smells and chatting noise while the antique boutiques fill with eager shoppers on spending holidays. Doggo, Sama-Sama's adopted street dog, follows us, wagging her happy moods. We know where we're going: toward a Nyonyan couple who know our order well: "fresh popiahs with chilli and no meat, yes?" We like watching the wife while she generously adds cucumber, corriander and the sauteed cabbage that glistens in its boiling pot to the thin crepe and then rolls it all into a bomb-shell of a meal.
We walk back to Sama-Sama, to the familiar faces of the slow travellers that stay in Malacca for weeks. Like us. We share stories and teach each other card games and dice games that will be taught in other parts of the world. Gabby and Soon, the guesthouse owners, sit and chat and smoke and laugh along while the night moves and the market passes to another weekend.
Nothing much changes when nothing much happens and the days blend into each other. Malacca is a lovely place to stumble upon and wait for a dentist appointment.