Trip Report – Day 3 – Kota Kinabalu to Layang Layang
We woke late, showered, packed (searched everywhere for my sunglasses, a very necessary item for my eyes) and headed downstairs for breakfast. That done we checked out and found when they had upgraded our room they had also included breakfast for us too. Very grateful to the receptionist upon our check-in.
Just as we were organizing transport to the terminal I remembered where I had left my sunnies. (I had asked at reception if they had been handed in which they hadn’t). I ran through the hotel to the pool area where I found the man in charge, he opened his drawer and sure enough, there they were, what a relief!
Back to the car and we had driven just one block and Kev’s sister-in-law mentioned how nice it was that their receptionist upon check out had reminded then if they had checked their safe. Safe!!!?? We then both realized we had forgotten to do that and all our cash, passports, tickets, etc, were all still sitting in the safe! Back to the hotel where Kev collect the contents of the safe after a security guard was called as our pin now didn’t work. The staff that helped Kev, as we’re all the staff during our stay, were terrific, very polite, friendly and helpful.
We were dropped at the airport and finally found where the check-in counter was after a comedy of errors and much unnecessary walking towing our bags along for the ride. …and were met at the check-in counter with your flight left at 7 am! What? Left at 7 am? Nah that can’t be right our itinerary states our flight leaves from this terminal at 10 am.
It was true, after many conversations with various people, we worked out that the plane that was to be a 12 seater had turned into a 49 seater. So rather than have 2 flights there’s was just one which flew at 7 am…however someone forgot to contact us and let us know this!
We had booked through a company called Dive The World, and being a Sunday, their offices in Kuala Lumpur weren’t open! To rub a little salt into our wounds, there wouldn’t be another flight until Tuesday! So another 2 days in Kota Kinabalu. The first thing we needed to do was get onto the Internet (our sims weren’t working at this stage) so good old trustworthy McDonalds to the rescue for free wifi.
Although the connection was very slow we managed to find 2 rooms at Le Meridien.
Day 3, Part 2 Kota Kinabalu
Most of the morning had passed by the time we had checked in at Le Meridien. This mix up at least gave us the chance to sort out Sim cards for our iPads. Back to see Chong and time to head for lunch. Our chosen destination, the waterfront, once again. You can see the waterfront for the image at the top of this post.
This time a Thai restaurant. Our feast consisted of tom yum seafood soup and spring rolls for the entree. One of the hottest tom yum I’ve eaten but after a few mouthfuls all was good and mouth suitably numbed!
For our mains, we ordered whole fish with ginger, garlic and chilli and a kilo of huge, chargrilled tiger prawns. The prawns whilst looking spectacular were pretty dry and on the tougher side. The fish, however, was delicious, tender and full of flavor. Plus the mandatory staple of steamed rice accompanied our meals.
Picked up 2 working iPads, onto our emails to find no correspondence from Dive The World re our changed flight time. We immediately shot off an email asking what next?
It’s now the following morning as I update this blog and still nothing from them! I wandered out of the hotel as I felt like a bit of pampering and saw “Aini” (pronounced Arnie) she had approached Kev and I earlier in the day for a massage. She was sitting in her black uniform, fanning herself trying to cool herself from the hot afternoon sun and high humidity. She stood dutifully as I’ve approached and suggested I come into the cool spa to see the menu.
Off we went and I settled for a body scrub and facial spa. As body scrubs are far from relaxing for me, (as your body is rid of all dead skin cells via mineral salts until your skin glows a lovely shade of red!) Aini and I quickly became acquainted.
I love finding out about people’s lives in other countries and in the past have found this to be such a humbling experience, this instance was no different,
Aini came from the Philippines with her family when she was very young. She likes Sabah better because there is more work here. She has two daughters 10 and 16 and works 6 days per week from 10 am until 10 pm. Some nights there’s is overtime and the night previous finishing time was 10 to midnight. Humbling.
Aini loves her work as she meets so many people from all over the world. When I asked if she was paid well she said she was in a very quiet, demure tone.
I had met her boss at the front counter as I had inquired about a “package price” his gruffness suggested he didn’t appear to be generous to his staff. But that’s purely my take on it!
What I have experienced from living in third world countries and traveling is, our cultures and our values aren’t always a match! Never a truer statement…as that is exactly what the subject of wars are all about! What my culture values won’t line up with other world cultures. Treatment of animals, children and food are a classic example to name just a few and I won’t go off on a tangent here, as I could tell some stories that I have witnessed that could make your hair curl!
During our conversations, Aini also commented on my skin (I am very fair) and how most a Malaysian women would love to be white and also have blonde hair like mine. She told me of how some women go the extreme of injecting chemicals in an effort to make their skin white! This seemed a reasonable statement to me, as billboards and various forms of advertising encourage bleaching and skin lightening throughout Kota Kinabalu.
Aini said she wouldn’t do this even if she could afford it as she was always “frightening of injections”! Make me wonder tho, take those few things away and she could afford it, would she? Ah the advertising giants of the world, cosmetic and fashion industries are creating such a vain society where the cultural norm is to be as skinny, smooth-skinned, long-legged, long shiny-haired and drop dead bloody gorgeous as possible, always promoting look like this and you could be sailing on a superyacht, buying a trendy apartment, have a hot looking man at your side or the ultimate, you’ll be happy!
Whatever happened to the promotion of inner beauty? Ah that’s right, that doesn’t make any money! Anyhow… If you are in Kota Kinabalu sometime and need some treatments, do go and pay Aini a visit, she will look after you beautifully.
Dinner that night took place with the locals at their seafood food market. More whole fish, prawns, fresh vegetables, a form of seaweed, a form of spinach (called morning glory!) and steamed rice. Best (and cheapest) meal we had in Kota Kinabalu. Not one other Caucasian person eating there either, I’d encourage you to go and sample if you are in Kota Kinabalu, for the best seafood experience.
Keep reading to find out about Dive the World and the outcome of the changed flight.