The Red Lights of Melacca at Dusk

Melacca lights up at night. Throughout Chinatown and the surrounding area, every single building has these moody red lights that illuminate the exterior. No matter which way you look, you see glowing red alleys, swinging paper red lights, incense, little stores, little carts, food on the streets, and a lot of activity that goes well past midnight.

From all of these travels and eating in random places, I’ve built up a GI tract that is robot-like in strength. I now will stop and eat almost anything, anywhere, from any little cart. One great one I found was this little family that was making homemade mini-pancakes that were filled with peanut butter. I think I ate about 25 of them!

The Red Lights of Melacca at Dusk

The Old Chinese Burial Chambers of Malacca

I’ve spent a nice weekend in Malacca and found some wonderful out of the way places. Most of these places are not at all obvious from the streets, but you just have to go through some doors and strange alleyways to find them.

This place is one of many throughout Malacca where the Chinese come to honor their dead and meditate. Behind this chamber are several more where tiny statuettes and tombstones are erected for passed relatives. My friend Janus took that second shot of me in front of a bunch of the tiny tombstones. I’m not sure it’s the best picture of me, but my sister and mom say I should post more of myself!

The Old Chinese Burial Chambers of Malacca

Trey at the Chinese Graves

Soy Beans

Found in the seaside village of Melaka in Malaysia.

Quality Soy Beans

Melaka at Midnight

This is the market area of Melaka around midnight. Melaka was a really cool place, but I only got to spend a few hours there. The cab ride back to Kuala Lumpur was brutal. These tiny cabs use natural gas and their tanks only hold about 45-minutes worth of fuel for some reason. We had to stop at least 4 gas stations to get back…

Melaka at Midnight


Old Chinese man walks - To carry the daily chores - His water is life

Old Chinese man walks
To carry the daily chores
His water is life

Hotel in Melaka

Here is a cool little hotel I found in Melaka. This was shot at nightfall during a light rain.

Melaka in the Evening

I think this is what they call going native

The story of how this got worse starts in a bit.

Here, in the middle of a 16 day outing in Kuala Lumpur, things that once looked crazy to me are starting not to see so crazy, at least until I return to the hotel room and am once again reminded, objectively, of how crazy things are.

I succumbed to a supposedly ancient Chinese therapy known as cupping, when they attach Matrix-like suction devices to your back and then abandon you in a poorly wallpapered room for 10 minutes.

The process supposed to remove the “wind toxins” from my body, which is a good thing since I didn’t realize I had any of those and I certainly appreciated the opportunity to remove them forthwith.

As you can see in the first picture, the red blood welts are not dissimilar in color, swelling, and pain from a serious car accident.

As you can see in the second picture, something went horribly wrong, most notably my lack of understanding Cantonese. I managed to compound my first mistake by at least one order of magnitude. Here is the story:

I went to Malaka to do some exploration and it started to rain, so I dove into a little Chinese massage place to pass the time. It’s hard to pass up a $15 hour-long massage. After my previous experience, I told them I just wanted a massage, and none of the suction cup stuff. The woman nodded absently then sent me upstairs where another Chinese woman was positively aghast at the condition of my back. She said, “NO NO NO – ALL WRONG! ALL WRONG!” I said, “I KNOW I KNOW”. Then she said, “I FIX IT I FIX IT!” Then I said, “NO WHAT DO YOU MEAN?” and she went out of the room and I could hear a bunch of glass clanking violently together.

She said, “THIS THIS??, showing me a big box of glass bulbs about the size of softballs. I said yes, and she indicated for me to lie down. I thought she was simply asking me if that was what they did at the previous place, and it was similar but with plastic cups and suction pumps. I didn’t realize she was about to do something much worse until I heard her light a flaming stick, igniting some kind of gaseous oily substance in the glass bulb then slamming it down on my back, where it stuck like a poison dart. I couldn’t figure out how to say, “Burning Pain combined with suction pain please stop.” in Chinese so, tried to crane my neck around to see what she was doing to me…

Pop pop pop, then three more were on me before I could do anything. The pain and suction was so diffused and all over, I could not even think about telling her what part hurt. I tried to get up, and the glass bulbs clanked all around, like when you try to move a Christmas tree after its already been decorated. As soon as I moved, she screamed, “NO MOVE! DANGER DANGER!”, so then I froze still, while burning in a netherworld of vacuumed pain.

That fun lasted for a good while. After I got done, I gingerly made my way downstairs and the lady at the front counter warned me not to take a shower for a day. I was like, “why?” and she looked at me seriously and whispered, “Danger.”

I think this is what they call going native.

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