Poring to Kota Kinabalu


11pm November 25, 2004, City Park Inn, Kota Kinabalu

This has got to be the funniest day so far on this trip. We learned several things. The first is not to order a large coffee in Borneo.

We sat down for breakfast at Restoran Kalibimbang at Poring Host springs. Mike ordered a small coffee (2 cups). Andrew ordered a medium coffee (pot for about 3 cups). Chris really wanted some coffee and being in a S’pore Starbucks frame of mind, ordered a large coffee. Unfortunately for Chris this ìlargeî coffee pot had enough for about 25 cups. No kidding. At least 4 litres. What were they thinking, I mean they must not ever realize that this is errr too much for one person ñ 4 litres of black coffee is likely enough to kill someone in one sitting.

Megan said: ìI bet you the girl goes inside and says ‘why do they always laugh when I bring out the large coffee?’î.

The second thing we learned was that a canppy walk after climbing a mountain is not that great an idea. More bloody steps. I swear when I am on my deathbed and someone asks me ìWhat do you remember of Borneo?î I turn to them and grimace:

ìBorneo ñ the land of steps.î

However, the canopy walk was fantastic, I remember it from last time almost 15 years ago. Funnily enough we must have been there when the canopy walk first opened. Bizzare.

The third thing we learned was that a perfectly sound looking vehicle can actually get flooded. Whilst moving.

This desrves some explanation.

At noon, we said good by to Megan and we went to Ranau to catch a public minibus to Kota Kinabalu. We found a van for 40 RM or 10RM each. Well we got what we paid for.

  1. The bags were on our laps (not that bad really)
  2. The driver was busy text messaging on his phone, probably paying more attention to that than driving on wet mountain roads. Chris apparently closed his eyes at that point.
  3. The back door wasn’t closed properly and I spent much of the drive contorted holding Andrew’s bag in case the door flew open.
  4. During the torrential downpour we drove through the van started leaking. Mike, in a vain attempt to emulate the dutch boy along the dyke (and we mean the sea wall here), tried to stop the flood with his fingers. We have video footage.

Despite all this the journey was fine. Ultimately it was better than a lot of bus rides I’ve taken in asia.

We also picked up Megan’s phone from the Park HQ (they had found it during a room cleaning!) and our plan was to stay at the City Park Inn in KK on Megan’s recommendation and to leave her phone with them for her to pick up later. Apparently City Park Inn was near a big mall named Centrepoint in KK. Unfortunately (I seem to be using this word a lot in this entry) no cab driver knew where the Inn was. Realizing that negotiating with taxi drivers during this downpour was a little stupid (and wet) we drove to Centrepoint for food and then decide on finding the place.

Naturally, being in a mall, Chris had a craving for Pizza Hut and we obliged.

The food was fine but the service was something else. To put this into context, there were about 5 servers, 2 people working the till. Secondly all the instructions were being given in English, which apparently none of the servers understood. At one point after our order had been given our server disappeared. No one would bring our order to us. The 2 at the till would keep banging plates and yelling in English, but the five servers sat at a table silently fascinated by cards and a pair of scissors. And as Chris pointed out, one was so bored by said cards and scissors and our food waiting for us, she fell asleep.

Mike and I left Andrew and Chris at Pizza Hut and valiantly braved KK traffice and weirdly functioning pedestrian lights (when we learned that jay-walking was likely safer) and found the City Park Inn. Oh joy.

The rest of the evening was relatively quiet. We found a laundry place and had tea with an old time Punjabi Sabah Indian Doctor now emigrated to Australia. He gave us the low down on current Sabah and the changes to it since independence. Notable comment:

ìThings changed when the bloody British left. Mind you we didn’t ask them to leave.î

And one further note. The Pizza Hut incident came back to haunt us. Myrick spectacularly put his foot in his mounth when he started expounding on the bad service at Pizza Hut during dinner just as the waitress came to clean the table. He shocked and rather frightened look, thinking that Chris was talking about her, left Chris mightly embarassed and finding ways to tip her. To think Myrick has probably sent this poor girl home in tears. Chris is a bastard.

This day has no parallels. God bless the land of stairs, the land that Richard Simmons would feel supremely happy videoing people climbing Mt Kinabalu with Sally Struthers campaining for ìContacts for Cambodiaî while 80s dance music was being piped. Yes that made no sense. I’ve been drinking.

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