Tea’s Company

Today I am writing from Melaka, Malaysia. Or Malacca. Or Malaka. There are dozens of ways people spell this city, but one thing is constant: it’s beautiful. It’s a photographer’s dream. There are so many interesting buildings and people that I have to fight not to take constant pictures of everything. We’re staying at a guesthouse near Chinatown currently that has a lot of character and contains many characters.

Our first night we spent wandering the walk-friendly streets and eating at a small ‘Riverside’ restaurant. Not only is that the name of the place, but it sits next a small canal that runs to the ocean. Boats run up and down it occasionally filled with tourists. The streets here are full of shops and restaurants, all of which contain the friendliest of people. There’s also an enormous amount of Michael Jackson music blaring from all manner of businesses and even the becaks. It’s a little bizarre to hear Thriller from a boombox that is tied to a pedal-powered people mover, slowly rolling down the street. Perhaps MJ music is a phase of western development. It’s everywhere.

We’ve met a host of great people. We had some interesting conversation with Ali, a young man from Iran. Originally hailing from Tehran, he has been traveling for the last several years and was eager to talk about America and Iran. He reaffirmed things that I’ve read about Iranians generally liking Americans, but the gov’t getting all the press. He was a friendly soul and I hope to meet him again. We’ve also met Jon, from Wellington NZ. He has been traveling for the last four years throughout SE Asia and had much advice on where to visit and what to expect. He also enjoys drawing and seems to have re-awakened Indi’s artistic bug.

Tonight I met up with Yee, a local tea master. We had reached out to him on Couchsurfing.org but he was traveling in China and didn’t respond (naturally). He has a little tea shop along the main street and welcomed me in for a pot of black tea. We talked about the nuance of clay teapots and the cultural importance of tea before adjourning to a local beer garden, where we talked more of our individual travels and enjoyed 660ml of Tiger Beer. He was also kind enough to show me how a Chinese donut is made and kindly offered me one. It was delicious.

Tomorrow we decide if we’re spending more time in Melaka or moving on. Yee is holding a two hour class on traditional tea ceremonies that we’re attending in the evening and we hope to see the ruins of an ancient Catholic church. It’s raining outside and that’s the best thing ever. I shall sleep soundly tonight.

About rhysfunk

Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world. Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
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3 Responses to Tea’s Company

  1. rdavison says:

    So did you see the longest eclipse of the last/next 100 years or sleep right through it? Enquiring minds wanna know.

  2. Lory Martin says:

    I, too am an enquiring mind. However, I also want to know about the tea ceremony and more about your conversations with the Iranian young man as well as the Chinese gentleman. It seems as though you're almost too busy to blog, which is a wonderful thing for you. I know you are having a fabulous time, and though I miss you terribly, my heart sings with joy for you. Please take every experience within as if inhaling a deep breath of fresh air on the beach, first things in the morning. Sweet, salty, with a hint of tang, that you can feel all the way down to your toes. In other words, enjoy the experiences completely, with all your senses. Remember the sights, sounds, tastes and smells so you can fully recall 'today' many years in the future. In addition to blogging, I hope you're keeping a personal journal of your experiences (both of you). Hugs and kisses. (Put some of these in your pocket so you can take them out as needed). Loveyoumomlory

  3. Mark says:

    "He has a little tea shop along the main street and welcomed me in for a pot of black tea."I'm going to find a pot of black coffee!

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