When I got up no one else was awake IN THE WHOLE TOWN.  And it was raining.  It rains a bit in Malaysia, so it makes me wonder why they love shiny marble tiles so much as outdoor paving.  Just as well it’s not the US or the country would be bankrupted by trip and fall lawsuits.  I looked at some outdoor sites while waiting for the town to open (at 10).

Old fort built by the Portugese, then built upon again by the Dutch, then again by the British

The Dutch Staadthuys (town hall) and church, 1753. By afternoon this roundabout had a zillion cars and a million trishaw drivers touting for business

A Chinese mosque from the 1750s

Heritage district - built during the Dutch era and occupied by Chinese

A side street

By this point it was late enough that everyone had had time to put their hair on so I went to the museum district at St Paul’s hill.  First stop was the ethnographic museum.  The ticket man asked me how much pension a teacher in NZ got.  I tried explaining superannuation, then Kiwisaver, but didn’t succeed.  The museum itself was full of pots and shards, and dusty mannequins.  But it was big!

to the extent of including kitchen implements. This is a coconut reamer

And it had numerous interpretation panels, all in 6pt font so as to induce eyestrain.  One was very interesting:

Then out the back of that was the education museum.  It had a few gems:

The 'education helper'

I want an official issue teacher's bicycle!

It also had a section praising outstanding teachers currently in the state.  Out the back of this there was ANOTHER museum in the old governor’s residence.

It was full of RANDOM CRAP.  Like parts of constitution verbatim on the walls, life histories of all the post-independence governors, and all the random things given to them by dignitaries.


Out the back of this was St Paul’s church.This was built by the Portugese and used by the Dutch.  But the British used it for storing gunpowder!  They installed the bell tower out the front – it was used as a sentry post.  Anyway this place was full of tourists and hawkers.

View from the church

Down the other side of the hill there’s an old ruined Portugese fort.

Destroyed by the British to prevent natives from using it as a base. This part was saved by the personal intervention of Sir Stamford Raffles. What a man!

Across from this there is ANOTHER MUSEUM!!  This one is all about independence and makes no attempt at objectivity.  It has the 1957 Chev used by nationalist leaders to look cool in while campaigning.

And for good measure it is accompanied by 2 vehicles used during the Emergency

Across from this is not a museum.  It is a reconstruction of a sultan’s palace.

Made without nails

The rest of the area is completely filled with museums but I couldn’t be bothered!  The quality was a bit . . . rustic.  One was outdoors and had 2 trains, a plane, a fire engine, and a concrete bull.  Hmm.  I went over to the Dutch district again.

Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum

This is a set of 3 adjoining houses occupied by the same Straits-born Chinese (Baba Nyonya) family for more than 160 years.  You can’t photograph inside but it is filled with ornate Chinese carving in the archways and lintels, and of course the furniture.  The guide was also very funny.  I went down the road a bit to look at the restored house.

This is the air well. When the house was occupied there would have been water flowing down to the drain. All the rooms open to this central courtyard.

This was, of course, a private effort.  The government heritage celebration can be interesting.

I bought a batik painting from a man who had a very good sales team.  They gave me 4 brochures to make me come in.  Obviously it worked but the painting was only $25.  I have sent it to mother.

The painter

From here I walked out to the St John fort.  It is a mission to get to.  The entrance is not marked on any maps and you have to walk up a road with no footpath.  It’s up a hill that a lot of locals use for an evening constitutional.

The cannons are British

I then went down to the Portugese district.  The architecture is actually much like Spanish-influenced 1970s NZ.  They have one heritage house from the 1940s.

I went to the town square and they were playing Hotel California.  How . . . cosmopolitan.  I had a rather hot chicken curry then walked back to town.


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