A cuppa.. And my Lonely Planet.
As I spent this afternoon holed up in a cafe called Alley No. 5 in Malacca. Malaysia. Random thoughts just flashed past my mind.
Malacca is a city that I used to be so familiar with that I'll do a yearly 'pilgrimage' up from Singapore. And I always used to stick to the same old Jonker Street and after a while.. Without thinking. I could tell you how to walk and where are some of the places worth stopping by for food.
But my notion of Malacca being an easy place to walk around vanished 2 years ago when I met Gus. My Airbnb host. He has been based in Malacca since 2010 and there are places where only locals go but he'll show us around too.
I got to know Malacca better. From a local stand point. And since then.. Malacca has changed. I see how the locals are proud of their culture. Their roots. Of how their daily lives are and their jobs and roles in this little tourist-drawing city.
This year.. This trip marks my 3rd. My first alone.
The places I went with Gus today were places I never knew.. Never been. Lest the weekly market behind his Airbnb and this cafe I was at this afternoon.
I enjoy how friendly I've become with the locals. How we became friends and keep track of each other's lives via social media. :)
Like at Alley No. 5. Oren. The owner/barista. He saw me fishing out a book from my bag and he went like 'Doing your 'homework' for Russia ah?' Or when his older brother Yalu walked past and asked me 'You're back? Alone?' And proceeded to talk to me about Gus other Airbnb like we've known each other for ages (which we ain't.. I only got to know him better this year.)
And when another of their friend came over for a drink. We were chatting across the different tables and just whiling the afternoon away.
It's a simple lifestyle. A simple trip up Malacca. But what made it all so special are the friends I've made here that makes me come back so much more often.
Travelling to familiar places never cease to amaze me each time I go back. And that's probably the magic of travelling. <3