July 12,13, 14,15, 16,17, 18
17.07.2012 29 °C
We spent most of the day on the beach reading, swimming, and snorkelling. The boys organized a snorkel trip for us for 3 pm fro rm $50 . We had tried to negotiate at our resort but he wanted Rm $75 each . There were 8 of us so we thought we could get a better deal. The snorkelling was at Coral Island which was quite a long way across a very rough ocean. The boat crashed and banged on each big wave as we made our way there. We had a good driver and we decided he didn’t look too worried even though he did look like a pirate with his mesh head scarf. Unfortunately, it was rough at coral island but we didn’t have any choice as we knew we were leaving tomorrow and we wanted to do it. We saw some really incredible blue coral and some purple fish that we had not seen before.
Monday, July 16
Roy and Corinne left for KL this morning so now we are just the three of us. Our priorities for today were to get our laundry done and book flights. Both activities ended in frustration. We did a great deal of walking but no luck on laundry. They couldn’t guarantee that it would be back before we flew out Wednesday. The price was right (about $1/kg). We ended up using the hotel laundry which was really expensive. We had a bit of a scare in the afternoon when a man phoned the hotel room to say that he needed to come to talk to us. Of course you think, (What can’t be said on the phone? Something serious about the boys climbing the mountain?) but it turned out that Mark had left money in his shorts and he was just returning it from laundry. We thanked him and gave him a tip. I took my heart out of my throat and parked it nicely back in my chest.
We talked to the travel agent in Kota Kinabalu about flights to Kuching, Malaysia, Bali,Indonesia and Lombok, Indonesia. No one had ever heard of Lombok, Indonesia.
We spent five hours in our hotel room online trying to book flights and to extend our hotel room stay in our room for one more night. We tried to do the hotel stay at the front desk but they wouldn’t do it unless we paid much more money. They told us that we had to do it online even though we were staying in the hotel and already had the room. We tried to do it on line and got it for less but it took forever it seemed.
Tuesday, July, 17
Today we made a point to go to a travel agent close to the hotel to book our flights to Kuching. The flight we wanted was sold out by this time and the next one was really expensive. We paid the money and spent the rest of the day wandering the waterfront of Kota Kinabalu. The city waterfront and downtown is squeezed between the mountain and the waterfront. It is very dense with lots of hotel and apartment high rises. Some of the buildings are quite modern, especially the shopping malls which carry high end names like Esprit and Coach. On the same street there were locally owned little shops for the locals as well as all sorts of places to dine on the street. The waterfront was our favourite place as it was one restaurant after another all with outdoor patios and a variety of choices of food such as Indian and Thai. From the waterfront, we would often sit and look at the islands beyond and the fishing boats anchored just offshore. There was also a huge market on the waterfront which was organized in sections, such as dried fish, fresh fish, vegetables and fruit, as well as very large section which was all local souvenirs and t-shirts. It was really fun to see the locals doing their daily shopping at the market. Many of them pulled up in minivans with their families. There were parts of the market that changed. They would take down and put up their tents and I believe different vendors would come and go. In the evening they would set up their tents, back up their vans and unload everything they needed to run their own little restaurant. They had dishes and cooking pans and kettles and condiments and groceries. Once they were set up they would start cooking and the locals would come and dine. This dinner market went on for at least a block. The fishing boats were docked right behind the market.
There are some beautiful small islands off the coast where people go to holiday and snorkel or dive. One of them is called Tiga, and it was where Survivor was filmed. You can now go and stay on that island or just visit it for the day.
In the evening, we sat at one of our favourite waterfront bars and enjoyed cocktails and yummy food and watched the beautiful sunset while we waited for the boys to arrive back by bus from their climb. We found them back at the hotel all freshly showered and hungry for dinner so we took them back to the water front for yet another amazing meal. They told us all about the climb. They said it was really poring on the way up which made it much more difficult and slippery. The guides eventually closed the mountain but luckily because they climbed fast, they were able to summit. Of 180 people who attempted to climb the mountain that day, only 14 summited and 4 of them were our boys and their 2 Calgary roommates. They said when they got back two the dorm, they shivered for 2 hours from being so cold and wet for so long. They really enjoyed the experience and were glad they had done it.