Local Heart, Global Soul

November 3, 2012

Go On… Take Me For a Spin!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are looking around Melaka in Malaysia as a side trip to our extended stopover in Singapore as we head back to the Netherlands from New Zealand.

I’m delighted to see colourful trishaws coming down the main street at regular intervals and as we make our way up the street they start to appear in even greater abundance.

Since many of them are so heavily decorated that they would put a Rio Carnival float to shame, they are hard to miss… but I find them fascinating and love the colours and floral additions.

Since I’ve been doing my fair share of walking on my crutches today, that later after we had seen a few of the sights we decided that this mode of transport would be an ideal way to get back to the bus which our guide tells us is now parked back at the Equatorial Hotel where we had lunch earlier. We also have a strict time limit  to get back the the bus by, so walking back isn’t going to be quick enough for me anyway.

She also tells us the amount that it should cost to get back there,  just in case a driver charges “tourist prices” instead of the correct fare.

I’m interested to gather a little more information about the tradition of trishaws so here’s what I found on Wikipedia:

The cycle rickshaw is a small-scale local means of transport; it is also known by a variety of other names such as bike taxi, velotaxi, pedicab, bikecab, cyclo, becak, trisikad, or trishaw or, simply, rickshaw which also refers to auto rickshaws, and the, now uncommon, rickshaws pulled by a person on foot.

Cycle rickshaws are human-powered, a type of tricycle designed to carry passengers in addition to the driver. They are often used on a for hire basis. Cycle rickshaws are widely used in major cities around the world, but most commonly in cities of South, Southeast and East Asia.

In Malaysia, pedestrian-pulled rickshaws were gradually replaced by cycle rickshaws (beca in Malay). Cycle rickshaws were ubiquitous up to the 1970s in cities. Since then, rapid urbanization has increased demand for more efficient public transport, resulting in dwindling cycle rickshaw numbers.

Today, cycle rickshaws are operated mostly as a tourist attraction, with small numbers operating in Malacca, Penang, Kelantan and Terengganu.

I love how different some of the styles are, from neat and beautifully arranged rows of plastic and synthetic flowers to the throw-it-all-together method in a more tacky fashion, all of these trishaws have a charm of their own.  One even sports batman wings…  and guess what?  To my children’s delight I was destined to be the lucky member of our tour party who turned up back at the bus in a trishaw decorated with a giant spider on top of the umbrella complete with  Barbie dolls clutched in some of the feet!   …eek!  but at least riding in that  one meant I didn’t have to gaze at it all the way back!

(Note: the Dutch word for “spider” is “spin”… so I do suppose that in this city with it’s Dutch historical influences,  you could  say I was  “going for a spin” in this  particular trishaw with no trace of irony whatsoever!)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycle_rickshaw

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My favourite: one occasion when OTT looks amazing!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

4 Comments »

  1. They are fabulous! I would love a ride in one of those.

    Comment by Tilly Bud - The Laughing Housewife — November 3, 2012 @ 8:51 am | Reply

    • Tilly,
      these were amazing… the heat made us tired so the ride back to the coach at the hotel was most welcome! The OTT floral decorations are a great idea, colourful, eyecatching, fun! …and safe: what motorist could fail to see you in all this get-up?

      Comment by kiwidutch — November 8, 2012 @ 9:27 pm | Reply

  2. How crazy fun are these! They look like miniature parade floats. What a festive mode of public transportation!

    Love the second trishaw picture, with the flags above and the trishaw a little ways away. Makes the whole place seem like it’s always in celebration.

    Comment by Luddy's Lens — November 3, 2012 @ 11:37 pm | Reply

    • Luddy,
      The combination of the impending Chinese New Year, and the trishaws was a great one with regards to composition, each were festive and very bright.
      It was just luck that we visited so close to Chinese New Year (you have to get lucky sometimes!)

      Comment by kiwidutch — November 8, 2012 @ 9:20 pm | Reply


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