The heat is stifling as I sit on the bed in our guesthouse. The ceiling fan hums and slowly dries the sweat on my skin until I just feel sticky. Outside is the noise of a nearby building site and busy traffic but here in the room it feels peaceful and calm.
We arrived to Melaka, Malaysia, in the early afternoon after a 3 hour bus ride from chaotic Johor Bahru, a border town with a lack of charm but interesting nonetheless. Melaka has a very different vibe. More liberal and easy going, maybe because of the thriving tourism industry. In Johor Bahru I covered my legs and arms as to not offend anyone. When, in a cafe, we asked if we could have a drink, we got a cold “no”. They automatically assumed we were talking about alcohol. Upon entering the hostel we had to take our shoes off. There was a pair of flip flops in front of every shower and toilet, for everyone to use, flip flop sharing. Muslim couples were not allowed to check into one room unless they could show proof of marriage and alcohol on the premises was strictly prohibited. Although Singapore is merely a kilometre or so away, you could instantly see the difference between the two countries.