Stay or Not Stay: Not Stay!
I was supposed to stay two nights at my friend’s unused condo just outside the city but it seemed so empty as it hasn’t even been furnished yet. There were just a few mattresses. It would have saved me a some ringgit but I was afraid of the emptiness and feared I wouldn’t be getting any sleep at all. I had joked about ghosts earlier but my friend said I shouldn’t talk about stupid things. I couldn’t shake-off the feeling in spite of the assurance that others had stayed there before. Knowing that the last one was almost a year ago seemed to magnify its un-lived and abandoned state. I quickly packed my stuff and convinced my friend to go back to Chinatown. It was nearing midnight so we sped back to look for a place to sleep.
While walking earlier in the evening, I had seen a row of small hotels at Jalan Tukang Emas in Chinatown. “Vacant Rooms” a small sign read at the front window. At more than RM100 it was waaaayy beyond my budget. They better have really nice rooms a dna good breakfast as it was too steep and the hotel from the outside nor from the lobby didn’t seem much. The Chong Hoe which had a sign at the door that announced rooms at RM 35 but it was dark and closed. I knocked a couple of times but nobody was answering. The only one open was the Chong Hoe which seemed it was about to lock shop too.
Yes, there was a room available at RM60 (RM55 on weekdays) but I had to decide now as she was about to look up, the Indian women who was about 50-plus years old informed me. Apparently, hotels in Melaka, at least in Chinatown I think, close at midnight. You would have to inform them if you’re staying beyond that so they can wait for you. It was a choice between a sleepless fearful night or a restful one. The price was really steep and for a moment I was tempted to just go back to the condo. The dorm (Rm 15/bed) was full. I gulped, brought out my wallet, and paid for the room. Maybe I was trying to justify my actions but while filling-up the registration form, I told her the story of how afraid I was sleeping in the condo, that there might be ghosts, blah blah blah.
About a half an hour after I had settled in my room, I heard her say to someone in her sing-song Indian accent, “You have to decide if you will take it now because I am closing already.” Perhaps she was up a little late knowing that somewhere out there, while all the other hotels and guesthouses in Chinatown have long locked-up for the night, a weary traveler would be in search for a room at the inn. Her spiel quickly makes you take the first room offered you.
I was shown to a really really small room with a large bed and a small table. It was clean but it smelled kinda dank. The a/c was strong and cold though. My RM 40 room at the Transit Point in KL was so much better. Down the hallway was the common bathrooms and a row of sinks. There didn’t seem to be a lot of people staying which was understandable as it was definitely not good value considering the options available around town. Unfortunately, at midnight, there was no other option available to me.
I was given a breakfast voucher to be redeemed at the Chong Hoe Cafe in the next street. Breakfast was served from 9am until 6pm! I think that was the only good thing about it. Entrance to the Admiral Cheng Hoe Museum was at ten percent off the RM20 regular price. There are a couple of computers at the lobby but you had to pay to use it.
The next morning, I packed my stuff, checked out and promptly checked in at Chong Ho a few steps down which was open and had a vacant room for RM 35.