River Walk – Wildlife Walk

Most of today was Henry and I.  In the morning Kim had some personal business that she had to take care of, and in the afternoon, well I will explain later.

We dropped Kim off in downtown Melaka and then went to find a parking spot on the edge of Old Melaka.  I should note that there are no parking meters in Melaka.  Other than many areas which have free parking (or should I say a parking free-for-all) there appears to be three methods of pay parking.  For malls, there is usually a push button, get a card, and pay at the machine when leaving the store type of parking.  In government controlled lots there is a swipe card system, where one places funds on the card, swipes upon entering the lot and the appropriate amounts are deducted when swiping upon departure.  The same card is used for paying road tolls on the highways between cities.  For on-street parking the motorist purchases books of tickets (in various denominations), which look similar to lottery tickets.  When parking an unused ticket is selected, the driver scratches the appropriate areas for the date, time, and length of parking time anticipated and then places the ticket on the car dash.  An interesting system which seems to work quite well.  No meters, no maintenance.  The parking patrol serves the same function as the meter readers in Canada.

The car now parked, Henry and I set off on a walk along the river.  The plan was to walk a good distance down one side of the river, cross over a bridge at some point, and walk back.  There are river walks on both banks for the full stretch of the river in Melaka, making for quite pleasant strolls.  However, our plan did not quite work out the way we had anticipated.

As Kim and I did a river cruise a week or so later I will use some of my river descriptions here and some when I get to the post about the cruise.

As I had mentioned in a previous post, Melaka can be considered a study in contrasts.  At one point on our walk we went by brand new housing in a Malay housing development.  We also went past dilapidated buildings that are surely empty and abandoned, except they have people living in them, quite often older Chinese.  We passed one such place which must be the home of a hawker as we could see them preparing chickens in the entrance way and loading them into his car.

We reached our turn-around point, and as we crossed the bridge we noticed a number of folks sitting along the edge of the river walk drawing or painting the scenery.  I stopped and chatted with one, learning that they were a group of art teachers from Singapore on a professional development field trip.  They, and their artwork, were quite interesting.  I know that because we stopped and chatted with every one of them.  It was so interesting.

Off we went, down the boardwalk along the river.  On the way, we discovered that we were not alone.  There is lots of life along the river, including the fellow to the right here, who hardly batted an eye as we stopped to observe him.  I am sure that he finds folks like us kind of a boring diversion from watching the construction immediately on the other side of the boardwalk.  Unfortunately, along with the life along the river, there is much garbage along the river as well.

As mentioned, there was construction right beside the boardwalk, in the form a tall building, which could be a hotel or an office tower.  I suspect the former.  As a result of the construction we found that the boardwalk had come to an unscheduled end, quite literally,  about 3 metres past the metal wall.  As there had been no signage indicating we had been traveling down a dead end, we got to subject dead end only to find out that we “couldn’t get there from here”.

So, we had to walk pretty much all the way back to where we had chatted with the Singapore artists, and then work our way around to our destination by determining the correct streets to follow.  Not a wasted trip by any means however.  When walking up the boardwalk we had passed what looked like an old abandoned industrial type building.  On the way back we chose to follow the metal fencing around the construction, which had us pass in front of this building.  I was quite surprised to see that it was actually the temple shown on the left.

The building remnants shown in this photo have been identified as the ruins of Rosary Chapel which was built in the year 1700.  This Catholic Chapel was built as a substitute to St Lawrence’s Chapel which was constructed in the 16th century.  The Saint Lawrence’s Chapel is an epitome of Portuguese chapels that were build outside the Malacca Fort.  All told, it was a very interesting walk.

In the afternoon was something completely different.  We went to visit the Melaka Butterfly & Reptile Sanctuary.  Once again, it was just Henry and myself.  You see, Kim has an extreme aversion to snakes, so much so she doesn’t even like to say the word, referring instead to the “S’s”, accompanied usually by a wiggly motion with her hand.  So, it was Henry and I.

When we entered, I noticed that the skies were getting a little dark, but really paid little attention, we were going into a building, if it rains there will be no issue.  We entered, going past some beautiful, and interesting birds, and came to a room with some lizards in it.  Of course I had my camera and was taking lots of photos, when a young lady came up and explained to Henry that there was a fee for taking photos in this area.  He passed that on to me, and apologized to her and stopped taking photos, heading out of the room.  When outside, sure enough there was a sign that I had missed indicating there was a fee for photos.  I am not really sure why, as that was the only room in the entire facility where that rule applied.  Next stop, the butterfly area.  By this time it was raining, actually not raining, it was pouring.  Lo and behold, the butterfly area is open to the elements.  As a result, the butterflies were scarce as they were sensible and in shelter.  I, on the other hand, was not in shelter, but rather was looking for butterflies.  Moving forward, it turns out that considerable amount of the sanctuary was open to the elements.  Got lots of photos, managed to keep my camera relatively dry.  Myself, not so much.  Soaked through, top to bottom.  Sensible Henry, not having this desire to take good photos (or any photos actually) remained pretty dry by staying in the sheltered areas.

It really was a fascinating place, and I got a good number of really decent photos.  I have two that I wanted to share here.  The first is of a snake, the way it loops over the branch and looks out, being aware of all that is going on.  The second is a pair of Lovebirds which were preening each other.

All in all, it was quite a day.  Stay tuned for some of our other adventures.

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