KK's Kosmic Kaleidoscope of Awesomeness.

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Where I stayed
Lucy's Homestay

Flag of Malaysia  , Sabah,
Saturday, March 13, 2010

After our 13 hour KL stint we jumped on a much  smaller Air Asia plane headed to Kota Kinabalu (KK) at 8am from KL's LCCT. Both Penny and I were pretty exhausted and sat through the plane ride more or less half comatose. 2 hours later we arrived at KK international airport, caught a bus into town, checked into the first backpackers' we saw - Lucy's Homestay  (incidentally not the one that we had asked the bus driver to drop us at). The man at the counter did not seem particularly excited about greeting some weary travelers. His gruff demeanor in fact was entirely unwelcoming. But we were very tired, very dirty, and definitely not in the mood for wandering the streets in the heat with our packs searching for a more friendly reception. So we checked in and decided to mark the end of our 23hrs of air travel/transit with the one thing that had been on both our minds since arriving in KL........... a shower and a brushing of the teeth!

The next thing on our agenda was a nap, however the rush we got from feeling clean gave us a fresh perspective on our situation. From out our window we discovered that with at least 5 outlets in the small section of street we could see, we were in the centre of rubber stamp manufacturing capital of Borneo. We decided to investigate the situation.

Between our Lonely Planet Guide and a KK map we got free at the airport, we quickly managed to locate the government run tourist info centre and the backpackers' we were originally searching for. Not only this, but we were both amazed at the civilized, unchaotic and friendly the city was. Very un-South-east Asia, but lovely. At this point the tiredness reemerged and we went and had that nap.

The past couple of days we have moved to a nicer, bigger, more friendly and more central backbackers', Summer Lodge and have been having a blast. We have spent the last 2 days just walking around town. I tell you what, not what you imagine when you think of Borneo. KK is big and pretty busy HUGE shopping centres everywhere. The people seem fairly affluent, lots of new Land Cruisers stuck in traffic. We've seen only one beggar and haven't been harassed by any sales people or taxi drivers or anyone (is this really SE Asia???).

We have discovered some pretty unreal eating spots lots of little open-front shops selling local food. A bit of Vegetarian stuff (although Penny did have what appeared to be SPAM in one of her 'vegetarian' dishes). Eating at these places is really cheap. One of these places we had piled-up plates, 12 Ringgits (about $2 per meal).

 Drinking is very expensive (Muslim country = high tax on alcohol apparently) but there a two main night spots - beach Street (literally out the front of our backpackers') and the waterfront esplanade (about 10minute walk away). Both of which we have checked out and eaten at.

Two days of aimless walking has also uncovered a massive night market with heaps of fruit, fresh fish and other food (mangos which Penny is absolutely in love with) and a Sunday bizarre this morning, with a lot of pets for sale, amongst trinkets, food, clothes and small mango trees which Penny wanted to send home or carry around with us.

Even at these places, and in our backpackers' there aren't very many westerners. We have met a few Aussies, and a Pommy or 2.  I think a lot of the other tourists are rich Asian couples/families. Despite this, English is pretty widely spoken and I have been able to use some of my high school Indonesian (because Malay is remarkably similar).

We've also discovered a cafe dedicated to Australia's World War II effort, liberating British North Borneo (Now Sabah - the area we are in) which, despite being empty of patronage, has the best coffee we've found so far.

The whole city has a very low-key, honest and just lovely. Maybe this is why Penny and I are getting itchy feet and tomorrow we are planning on catching a 7:30am boat to a national park off the coast consisting of a few islands. We can camp on the beach at one of them for a price of 5 ringgits (about $1.60). After that we think we'll head north-east to a big Orangutan Sanctuary, then a jungle trek/boat trip.

While food is pretty cheap, we have been spending more on other things (particularly accommodation) than we had hoped. So we are considering cutting the diving license off the trip here and doing it in Indonesia, where our friend Cara is working at a dive school.  
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Codge on

From your description of KK I would like to visit too! - the sunset shot (Esplanade III) is awseome - enjoying your blog very much here at the orifice.

aunty andi b on

Hi L & P. Great blog - love enjoying the trip by proxy. lol, A x x

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