Arrival in Ipoh saw us at the right bus station but unfortunately it was in the wrong grid square leaving two options. Another hour and a half on public transport or the dreaded get your pants pulled down by a taxi driver lottery. The recent overdose of spicy food caused an unfortunate toilet undertaking in Melaka Sentral Bus Terminal. The sight and smell took me back to a traumatic experience near the Syrian border, where my knees locked up and I fell in (that is why I took so long Andy) and with a still slightly griping stomach we decided to roll the taxi dice.
Our preconceived chancer turned out to be a jovial Indian type who true to the stereotype spent no time looking at the road, or in fact concentrating on any aspect of driving at all. Thankfully it was not his time so neither was it ours . We were pleasantly surprised to arrive at our hostel with no detours to his brothers shop, driving round in endless circles or any of the other usual scams for the predetermined price of 25 Ringgit. Well I never…
Not the multicultural mix of Malacca as Ipoh is a fairly new city built around the tin rush in the 1870s when us Brits ruled Perak. These huge riches attracted architects, engineers, wankers and business owners to cash in with the opening of mining companies while living the colonial life in the exotic Far East.
The price of tin crashing saw us Brits leaving, but the legacy in town planning and architecture, together with the “virtues of British administration” are plain to see and being embraced by Malaysians as they regenerate Old Town. A trendy cafe culture is springing up and great street art all looking for the tourist dollar. They have not got that quite right yet. While exploring you can suddenly find yourself in what feels like an eerie ghost town film set, however this rawness definitely adds something.
Overall an enjoyable stay becoming a little limited after a couple of three days. There are only so many cups of White Coffee you can drink, interesting architecture to look at or searching for street art before you need something else, very charming and characterful but not quite the vibe we look for. Dare I say perhaps a little too laid back even for us.
With freshly laundered underpants at the ready it is time to pull the pin on sleepy Ipoh. Sally your carriage awaits, a Platinum Class Choo Choo Train to Butterworth no less. Destination Georgetown, Penang.
Going Dark. Out.