bukit cina and the mystery of alimuom
When you go to Malacca via interstate bus, you would definitely be hawked by taxi drivers in the terminal offering to take you to your destination in the tune of MYR 14, FLAT RATE!
We crossed the border from Singapore for a short trip out of the big Sin city, it was raining the whole day and the luxury of time routing off the wet road for a cheaper transportation alternative was out of the question (Flip’n Creed # 3 violation). So we opened the nearest and the first cab door we bumped to, dumped our bags and did not even attempted haggling for lower fare.
While inside the cab drooling for some booze, we found ourselves humming with the Christmasy Chinese New Year song playing on the car radio, but one thing is writ large noticeable. The car smelled like ALIMUOM!
You might have blanked out, trying to figure what Alimuom means. I don’t really know how to explain it in a single english word because there’s no direct language translation. Nevertheless, I will try.
The term Alimuom is used for a funky smell brought about by heat vapor that rises from the surface of any organic object. It happens whenever it rains and you smell a scent of resurrected micro-organisms from the soil. The term can also be used for smelly dogs, that got wet, dried, then got wet again. Same term applies to some people too (I personally know several).
After hours of non-stop rain, and just when we already accepted the fact that we will be drinking indoors for the whole time, the heaven finally heard us whining. So we immediately flagged a cab to see the city.
The nasty alimuom was there once again. We initially thought it was an isolated case, but is seemed like it was omnipresent, we were forced to fall silent and just asked the driver to take us to Bukit Cina. No fare haggling in desperate attempt to conserve air.
So let’s move on to our lives and change the stinky topic.
Bukit Cina is the Malay word of “Chinese Hill.” In the mid-15th century, Princess Hang Li Po, the great grand daughter of the Chinese Yongle Emperor, was sent to Malaysia to be the Sultan’s wife. That’s ancient mail order bride for you!
The hill became the residence of the princess where they constructed her own temple and personal well that believed never to have dried up even during drought. No wonder the Sultan loved her so much. Who wouldn’t? When you have a well that is eternally wet.
The hill is now embedded with more than 12,000 graves, some dates back to the Ming Dynasty, the age when Ogres and Hobbits still freely pranced around the hill. I swear, it really felt like Shrek and Frodo would have popped out of the scene only if they weren’t frightened by Monette’s puta shorts.
The 23 hectares of pure oasis in the middle of this modern side of the city is a perfect place to just walk, stop and sit still. As for us, it was an appropriate place to bury one dark page of our recent consciousness. No one was there except us and the world. We spent some quiet time to solemnly eulogize and completely let go of something close to our being. We sat still, stopped for a while, then walked ahead to move forward.
Then the borrowed hours ended when the clouds started throwing random drops of rain, like a bipolar bitch spitting tantrums. We immediately traced back out track to the nearest highway following the crumbs of sequins we left on the ground. Of course there were no sequins, we just sniffed the alimuom our clothes left along the path.
We were told that there are buses that goes back to the central terminal from the foot of the hill. Yet still we decided to take a the cab to see whether the alimuom theory was real, once and for all. So we flagged another “better” looking cab and we quickly hopped-in dripping wet.
No alimuom this time… We were dumbfounded, puzzled in disbelief.
Due to the absence of towel, Monette started rolling on the car upholstered seat to dab herself dry. Then it dawned on us! (LIGHT BULB!)
wet bitch + cheap car seat cover = alimuom
Once again, Flip’n Travels solved the mystery.