Greetings gentle readers,
3 cheers for the Interweb ! No more will your inboxes be polluted by our inane rambles. Now we have this, the blog of the Dislocated Hippies, and only the masochists amongst you can slip away guiltily and join in our feast of onanistic observations.
Best we bless this endeavour by starting with a miracle or two. It was in beautiful Malacca that we breakfasted on cornflakes and mango juice and then climbed St Paul’s hill. Right at the top stands the extremely picturesque ruins of the oldest Church in East Asia, built by the Portuguese in the early 17th Century.
The ruins house an amazing collection of headstones left behind by the early Dutch birds who had caught the even earlier Portuguese worms ( only to be caught themselves even later by we clever British birds). Here is a detail from one of the headstones and another showing the (slightly peculiar) wedding parties lining up to be photographed against them.
But the real significance of this Church is that St Francis Xavier his self often stopped by when on his way to convert the Heathen Chinese ( and what a truly miraculous job he did if the health of that incredibly thriving arm of the Church is anything to go by). The Saint was buried here in Malacca for over 60 years when the then Pope ordered that his right hand, which had blessed and converted so many, be severed and sent to Rome, ( as you do ). And behold ! Evidently the blood still flowed from the Saint’s body.
As if this weren’t enough to have you rushing back to Mass the story and miracles continue. Apparently, in the 1950s, a Statue of the Saint was erected outside the Church. On the day after the statue was sanctified a nearby casuarina tree fell…and in falling…lopped off the right hand of the statue !!! Fall on your faces in prayer lapsed Catholics and the militant atheists among you (that’s right Chris LeMay, we’re talking to you) rush to the nearest font.
We pulled ourselves partially together just in time to descend the steps right behind two screaming children. Their Grandma was very charming and apologised for the noise explaining that the little boy was screaming at the little girl ” Shut up ! You’re bothering the tourists”. A few steps further down two tiny children in full makeup and formal gear were busting moves, gyrating like pin wheels, getting down and getting back up again.
Onto another super comfortable bus and on to KL via a second bus from the airport (my bad). Miles of suburbs, slums and housing developments, herds of goats, over and under passes, dilapidation and modernity folded into each other seamlessly like a drunken house of cards.
KL is a wallop in the puss and a slap in the snout…but we like it. After an unfortunate start where we had been adopted by an old chindit who raced off with one our bags urging us to follow him, ( we thought he was taking us to the teksi rank), but no, instead we hauled our not inconsiderable luggage 2 or 3 kms over broken roads and footpaths, choking traffic and general pandemonium. Finally, with the help of some angelic girls we found and collapsed into the lobby of our hotel, the Anggun Boutique where they fed us ginger tea and led us to an air conditioned room. Bliss.
Old China Kaffe (thank you Bob & Patsy) a delight – light little fluted pastry hats (pie tee) that you fill yourself with acidulated veggies & chilli sauce. Belacan eggplant ( not as good as your eggplant dish, Genevieve but getting there) and Illam Assam – fish & okra poached in a light tamarind sauce. Yum – SO good we went back again. We had time to kill beforehand so we went back to this cute and quaint toy shop we’d passed on the journey into hell the other night (strange that it was open so late then)….all was revealed when the charming Abu led us behind the counter (Just like Maxwell Smart) into dark corridors, with many doors to reveal the grooviest bar in KL.