As I pedal into the world heritage city of Melaka, Malaysia my eyes burn not with beauty or ocean salt but with thick smoke particles. Particles that have wafted north through the ocean breeze from Indonesia. The northern blowing tropical wind rustles my thin cotton shirt as I attempt to pedal with my mouth covered into my shirt sleeve. The street lights are blurred, the familiar red stop light appears over head in the opaque burgundy/gray distance as I percuss through a warm, sunny, smoky, thick breeze. I navigate through the quiet streets in search of a guest house of oxygenated standards. The monkeys overhead don't seem to be too concerned about air quality as they walk across the electrical wires in search of the famous Melaka nutritional delicacies. The river squirms through the city amongst tourists and historic malay red roofed houses, lizards the size of dogs bath on the river banks waiting for sun down or the calling hour for some serious lizard activity. Colorful bridges span the river providing locals and tourists with a beautiful walk in and out of China Town. In China town, the weekend crowd of tourists from Singapore, India and the world gather for a weekend street fair. A cavalry of elaborately decorated Rickshaws wait in the distance for the crowd to have their fill of music, food and souvenir shopping. China town in Melaka is a familiar stop for many heading for the Island of Palau Besar. Paulu Besar translated literally as The Big Island is located a short distance from Melaka off of the Malaysia coast.
The island has profound spiritual significance for Indian Muslims who often travel for many miles to visit the numerous prayer alters scattered throughout the island. A place so relaxed that western tourists waft in and out of rested consciousness for weeks amongst friendly locals, coconut grooves and private white sand beaches. A peacefulness only rustled by the thousands of hermit crabs scurrying to and from the ocean tides.