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Endurance.Net Home 2008 Melaka Malaysia: Steph's Notes
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Steph/Arrivals || Bev/Acclimation || Steph/Melaka!!

Returning to Malaysia

This is becoming another wonderful Malaysian experience. I absolutely love this country, and these people. It's fun having Bev along this time - to see it all again through her 'fresh' eyes. This is simply a lovely people. The Malaysians have all the complexities of any nation, any culture - the politics, the poverty, the wealth, the crime ... they have persisted through Arab, Thai, English, Japanese, Portuguese, Dutch - invasions, occupations, influences. They have taken it all in and came through it as an independent nation. Last year Malaysia celebrated their 50th year of independence. That is fairly young as a sovereign nation, yet the culture is so very old. I've heard of Malaysia referred to as the 'land of smiles'. Maybe it's the climate - warm warm warm - maybe it's the method of negotiation and cooperation that has worked for them over the centuries, maybe it's in their blood... but they are lovely lovely smiling people. The royalty are friendly and humble, the poorest of the poor still smile from their ramshackle porches when they see a horse go by.

Tonight we had a dinner at the Hotel Majestic - a century old downtown Melaka mansion that was converted into an exclusive hotel. Beautiful old building, tastefully renewed w/o losing the charm and beauty of the turn-of-the-century architecture. A little Dutch/Portuguese influence on the tropical Malaysian style. The Governor of Melaka hosted the dinner, along with several Melaka ministers. And while we dined a fantastic quartet played - they were of mixed Malay-Portuguese blood - very dark skinned, interesting faces, a couple of the guys were in their sixties I think, they reminded me of something one would see and hear on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Guitar, base, drums - songs from every era, several different nations. I really enjoyed them! After dinner was over and we were leaving I stopped to tell them how much I enjoyed their music - the said - so, what's your favorite song? and we'll play it! And so they played on, one of them started picking out tunes on the piano in the next room - Bev said 'can you play 'Desperado?' - and they barely hesitated. The keyboard player tried a few chords, then he had it, then all of them joined in and they actually knew most of the words. (Bev helped when they hesitated)

The ride starts tomorrow. Bev and I will both be riding the 80km distance which starts at 6:30pm. I'm riding one of the Royal Stable horses 'Heremes Cairo' - a big beautiful strong bay from Australia. Tuanku (His Majesty) Mizan rode this horse at the Sultans Cup last November and finished the 160km with him. Lovely lovely horse. He's targeted to do a 160 in Terengganu the end of May, so this is just to be an easy 'training' ride. Tuanku Mizan will be riding, as well as Usif (not sure about spelling his name) and one other RTES rider. Bev is going to ride Hamdan's stallion (Hamdan is the ride organizer) and she'll probably ride with us too.

All the RTES horses (and Bev's stallion) vetted in fine today. I see such a difference in the horses now from when I first started coming here amost 4 years ago. They are fitter looking, have better weight - they are riding nicer horses in general - these people are trying hard and learning fast. I was very impressed.

We rode a little bit of the course yesterday - 13km - some roads through date palm forests, through villages, along canal banks. It's going to be interesting!!

Now it's almost 1am and I'm off to bed. There's a tour of Melaka organized tomorrow but I think I'm going to sleep in and hang out here, and hope I can come back next year and see more of this beautiful place! I picked up a nasty flu in Dubai in January and it keeps coming back, it hit me again a couple days ago so I'm going to sleep in and get some rest so I can do a better job with the horse tomorrow night.

from warm, humid, lovely Malsyia -


Steph/Arrivals || Bev/Acclimation || Steph/Melaka!!