Thursday, September 3, 2015

How to do nothing in Kota Kinabalu: A 6-day account

Day 1
- Arrive from KL; register at TMBT counter; check-in to downtown hotel; chill until it's time for early dinner (Mad Ben: mussels in white wine with spaghetti [fab], lamb burrito + fries [best ever], thin-crust lamb pizza [excellent though small]); sleep.

Waiting to cross the bridge to the start point. Only 10 people per crossing!

Day 2
- 730 AM: Race day @ Ranau!
- KK/Likas/everything in between/Ranau at dawn is misty and incredibly beautiful.

Kinabalu in the distance.

- Hitch ride to 50K finish point, find other participant spouses to hang out with.
- 830 PM or so: Enfant Terrible arrives at finish point. It's a 2-h bus ride down steep, dark, winding roads back to KK.

- Discover hotel housekeeping leaves an acknowledgement note if you hang the Do Not Disturb sign on the door.
- Make cup noodle run to downstairs 24-h mart while ET showers.
- Cup noodles are pretty damn good in the middle of the night when you're cold and starving

Day 3
- Wait for ET to wake up after gruelling 50K race.
- Visit Gaya Street morning market. Cacophonous.

Street artist at work.

- Eat (buttermilk roll, mediocre; Keng Wan Hing Kopitiam beef noodles, excellent; cempedak ice cream, fantastic).

Stall selling gambir from... Sarawak.

- Bring ET food (KWH peanut bun, good).
- Wait some more.
- Discover seafood eateries at the harbor front in the evening. Food is fresh and decent; Javanese (?) operators likely unlicensed.
- Replenish cup noodle supplies.
- Another note from housekeeping.

Day 4
- Breakfast is laksa from Yee Fung Kopitiam. I still dream of it.

Yee Fung Kopitiam laksa!

- Stroll around the town.
- The Waterfront Esplanade is crowded and boring. Food there seems exorbitant yet average. Great view though.
- Visit the newest mall in KK (Suria Sabah). Looks exactly like a KL mall. Air-conditioning appreciated.
- Discover Merdeka Day expo of the various Sabah state agencies in Suria Sabah. Learn about the North Borneo Railway ride. Sounds fun!
- Have another seafood dinner.
- Another ice cream, durian this time. Good.
- A note from housekeeping.

Day 5
- 6 AM: KWH beef noodles for breakfast.
- 10 AM: YFK is closed, so we cannot have Breakfast #2. The horror.
- Uninspired Breakfast #2 at Fong Ip Cafe.
- Fruitless search for cheap outdoor gear shop one spouse told me about on Day 2.
- Trek back downtown; find another outdoor great shop. Everything there is years old and dusty, but find some decent small items (compass, carabiners).
- Have dismal chicken rice at Suria Sabah food court.
- Have excellent tea at Mad Ben (Oreo milkshake, salted beef burrito, 4-cheese pizza).
- Collect housekeeping note.
- Have excellent dinner at dodgy seafood eatery. There is a man playing a snake gourd flute for money. He knows only 1 tune.
- Have cendol ice cream. Meh.

Working holiday in progress.

Day 6
- Have large YFK laksa for breakfast.
- Go souvenir hunting.
- Score chocolate-covered durian and various tropical fruits from Gaya Souvenir Centre.
- Return to hotel to pack up.
- There is no time for lunch at YFK. ET will have to wait till next year at least.
- Taxi driver to airport knocks RM5 off the fare because he's seen us around for the past week (presumably).
- Get through security ultra-fast.
- Wait for flight to be called.
- Have mango ice cream. Diluted.
- Flight called. We board.
- Encounter turbulence 40 minutes away from klia2.
- Captain says it's "slightly hazy" in KL. YEAH RIGHT.
- Land. Wait for SkyBus.
- SkyBus is late.
- Have nasi goreng kampung (nz Curry House) while waiting. Excellent.
- SkyBus arrives. Driver drops us outside apartment so we don't have to walk 20 minute. Nice one.

- KK cab fares are zone-based: fares are higher farther from the airport.
- Choice North & South Indian Restoran (open 24 hours) serves a good masala dosa and decent nasi goreng kampung (which contains cabbage instead of kangkung [?!]).

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