Day 2 - Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
My friends woke me up at around 7AM. Still groggy, I tried my best to open my eyes. Now that I'm on a vacation, I shouldn't waste much time to make the most out of my trip. We ate breakfast at Casuarina Hotel, located a few meters away from our hostel.
Then, we checked out and boarded the 16A bus. For only 1.00 Rm, this is the cheapest ride to downtown Kota Kinabalu. Armed with maps and sheer determination, we explored downtown KK and finally found a place that we can confidently call 'home'.
It was around 11AM when we arrived at the central bus station. The heat of the sun was unbearable but my travel buddy, Brenna, loved it. She hadn't seen the sun for three weeks already, thanks to the monsoon rain that battered her hometown, Manila.
It was a Saturday so there were a lot of people waiting at the central bus station. Hence, siksikan sa loob, parang rush hour Manila MRT lang. But that didn't prevent me from sleeping inside the bus, diary. Traffic was terrible, instead of 10 minutes, it took us almost an hour before reaching our final destination. It was THAT terrible. But nevertheless, we alighted near the junction of Jalan Gaya and walked a few hundred meters before reaching Sensi Backpackers Hostel, our refuge here in KK. Beads of sweat poured on my forehead and on my back. The weather in KK was so hot and humid, diary! But I ain't complaining though.
We were really surprise on how clean and organized the hostel was. Interestingly, the caretakers of the hostel were all Filipinos! It's nice to know that someone speaks the same language. At least we won't get homesick.
And oh, we also have free breakfast, free towel, free water, everything's free! Thus our 30 rm. per night at Sensi was worth it.
Now back to our original plan.
After our 2-hour siesta, we left Sensi to explore more of downtown KK. Like my hometown, Davao City, KK is very organized and clean. Although, one thing that really bothered me was almost everyone in KK owns a car. I seldom find taxis and buses. People there either walk or ride their own car. Wow, sila na ang mayaman!
We entered Suria Sabah Mall and got astonished when I didn't see any security guards near the entrance. It was kinda new to me. But then again, nothing beats the malls of my beloved country - bigger, more choices and of course, MORE CROWDED.
We walked, played patintero with the fast-moving cars (holy schmuck), and walked a few hundred meters before reaching this particular spot. I surmised that a building used to stand right here on this particular spot. Interestingly, the columns were decorated with beautiful graffiti/street art. Street art for the win!
We went back to the hostel to freshen up, and I truly regret it. The sunset was so dramatic that the sky turned orange to red for several minutes. WE SHOULD HAVE STAYED AT THE WATERFRONT AND WITNESS THE BEAUTIFUL SUNSET!!! Despite that, we were still optimistic that tomorrow's sunset would be as beautiful as this one... or so I thought.
When the sun was completely down, we went back to the downtown area and eventually got lost. We studied the map and momentarily stayed on this particular square (I forgot the street)...
... when all of the sudden, a group of kids lighted a firecracker. Immediately, I ran away from it. IDK, I ain't used to firecrackers diary, blame it to Davao City's firecracker ban ordinance which was lifted last 2001. But I reckon it was a funny experience. LOL
For dinner, we decided to walk (again) and explore Waterfront. There, we met our hostelmates, Jaime and Alberto, both from Spain and Cho from Hongkong. We just basically chilled and talked about almost everything related to traveling - Alberto's love for the Philippines especially El Nido, Palawan, Cho's life in Hongkong and Singapore, Jaime's amazing experience in India and the list goes on and on and on. Surprisingly, the waitresses of Bar Tzar were Filipinas. It was nice to have a conversation with them for more than 10 minutes. Did a few kamustas and listened to their stories on how they ended up here working outside our beloved country. True enough, the nicest Filipinos that you'll meet are found outside the country. IMHO.
What I really loved about our trip, dear diary, was that we were not always in a hurry. Life in KK was laid back; it wasn't really THAT stressful compared to other major cities that I've been to.
So far so good. Tomorrow, we are planning to invade the upper part of KK. Hoping to see those picturesque mosques and the beautiful sunset at the waterfront.
'Til then diary. Still have to finish this one can of beer. And I tell you, San Mig beer tastes better and way cheaper in the Philippines!
Read more of my Kota Kinabalu stories here.