Whenever I reach a new city where I plan to stay for awhile, I start off with the same three tasks:
1) Find a suitable room
2) Get a data plan for my phone
3) Find a gym
Now that 1 and 2 were handled, it was time to move on to necessity #3. So after checking into Tony’s and having a quick chat with my new neighbors (the British retirees hanging out in the lounge, pictured in the previous post), I headed out on foot.
I was pretty surprised to find that almost immediately after passing beyond Dutch Square and Melaka’s historic center, the “little-village feel” quickly gave way to a cluster of massive and brightly-lit shopping malls, set in the shadow of a towering five-star hotel. The area was complete with Starbuck’s, Pizza Hut, KFC and Mc Donald’s.
They were all fairly new developments, some still under construction. A bit of a shame, really. But I guess as long as they keep their distance from the beautiful central Melaka a little globalization couldn’t hurt too much…
(And even this area felt clean, cheerful, and welcoming – nothing like the polluted and stinky KL :P)
Since my favorite gym in Penang had been discovered in a mall, I popped inside and scanned the directory for leads. “Fitness Concept!”
…Nope. It was just a fitness supply store, and as a quick chat with the two salesmen revealed, no gyms actually exist within walking distance of the town’s center.
Still, I spent the next 3 hours roaming the streets asking for advice and following dead-end leads on Google – partially with the actual goal in mind, but partially just for the sake of seeing a bit of the town. I took note of barber shops, supermarkets, restaurants, laundromats, post offices, and anything else I’d need for daily life over the next few weeks.
And then, when the sun started to set, I finally headed home.
Sadly I never did manage to find a reasonable workout solution; the only two options seemed to be a public pool with one rusty multi-function machine and a 5-star hotel that was so ludicrously overpriced as to be almost like a joke. $500 to join and $50/month in a city where a big room with a double bed costs $9? Honestly, are they kidding?
So I guess Melaka is almost the perfect little town 😉
Note: These posts are behind realtime; the above took place on Thursday, January 27th.