I survived the coldest night bus to Miri, an early flight to Kota Kinabalu and local transport.
20.07.2010 - 22.07.2010 82 °F
What a day I have had and it is just nearly 11am on July 20th, 2010. Guess when you ride on a night bus as cold as Iceland and as wet as the ocean, then what can you expect but to be a bit groggy and tired the next day. I don’t even feel it is a new day because I didn’t get a proper sleep. As much as I am annoyed with myself for choosing the transport that I did, I am relieved to be in a plane landing in Kinabalu early enough so I can find a decent guesthouse and possible hit the office in regards to “survivor” island and the trek in Mt. Kinabalu. Forget sleep, I am up and this day has to be productive.
Just when you WANT a flight to be longer to give you a bit of a rest, it’s over. Can’t a girl catch a break? Or in my case a nice nap. No worries, I can handle lack of sleep as I have done it many times before. The tires just hit the ground and I an on a mission to get my backpack and maybe grab a accommodations brochure to give me some sort of direction. As I waited for my house of a backpack to makes it’s way to me, I spoke with several people on transportation. I can’t see spending anymore money as I already paid for the bus and the extra for the immediate airfare. It’s time to do it “local” style again. I put on my packs and proceeded to the main road. I continued to walk and didn’t notice any bus stops but saw a few “mini van” style vehicles that dropped people off and ran to ask for a lift. Turns out, that WAS the bus I needed and after a few stops we hit a station and I had help finding the correct transfer to drop me off in a central location. I forgot t mention that when I grabbed a brochure at the airport I spotted the Rainforest Café and wanted to check out availability. I can’t do the dorms, I just can’t but will hope they have reasonably prices singles.
People here are so friendly. I gathered heaps of information on where to go to ask on trekking up Mt. Kinabalu also and was told I could make it to the office before closing. However, I didn’t want to carry my big bag. I took my valuables in my small pack and set out to find some answers for the next adventure. Sure, I was a bit nervous for just leaving my backpack in the van but I had a good vibe from these people. There were also the ones to do local transport to the mountain. I was completely exhausted also and didn’t want to carry it anymore until I had a destination in mind.
In route, I stopped by the Rain Forest Café to check on a room. No singles so I said I would be back for a double. Yep, I guess I am going to settle on sharing a room. Hope they don’t snore. Next was to Wisma Sabah to organize a trek. I knew it was expensive but heaps more than I thought as they take advantage of tourists and the supply and demand with accommodation there. I’ve decided to try it in a days time instead of overnight in the mountain. They had one day as an option but I still have to hire a guide and pay some fees. I had a few days to wait for an opening as people rarely do it but then again, who said I was normal?
It was back to the van to get my backpack and have a chat on transport to the mountain in a few days time. All sorted! I don’t mean to toot my own horn but I am proud of my planning and transport tactics thus far. It was a very productive day on very little sleep. I grab my stuff and headed back to the Rain Forest Café, well that was my intention. Something told me to try a few guesthouses along the way. I was dying to have my own space. No luck and as the sweat continued to bead up on my forehead and run down my back, well, I proceeded to the Rain Forest but never made it. I saw one last sign and asked a store about the Asia Adventure Lodge and how to get there. They told me it was around the block and I guess my sigh of heat exhaustion led them to give me a private back entrance through their store. Thank God! It was there that I met Sheila, aka my angel for the next leg of the adventure. It is no secret that I like to negotiate on prices. Just so happens she was going through a slow period with guests and gave me a single for just $40 MYR (the USD is 3:1). I was stoked to have my own double bed, air con and free wifi. Show me the way! This girl needed a bit of a rest before a night of walking in the rain to see if I could find any movie theater. Never did but bought me some mentos and called it a night. I even stopped by the Hyatt just for fun.
What a difference a day makes! I slept like a baby in my bed, unlike the cold/wet bus seat last night. I didn’t feel bad for sleeping in and then began. Once I was up it was Miss Productive all day. I found out the costly price of going to Pulau Tiga (survivor island) and wanted to do it camping instead, however, they monopolize the ferry transport so that didn’t work. No worries, nothing can stop me from going to this place and I had the girl in the office on a mission to find me a roommate for the night that I will spend there. Like in all travel excursions, they base in on a 2 person minimum and we all know I am flying solo in life. While I was out, I popped into a watch shop to ask the time but they didn’t find it humorous. Really? They had clocks and watches everywhere but just looked at my strange.
I spent the rest of my time in the city gathering up some snacks, taking in a rainy jog in the parking ramps mostly and a bit bummed that I was emailed to send an auto audition tape via u-tube to the agency. However, I reminded myself that things happen for a reason and my inability to do such a thing was just the universe’s way of telling me that it was time to move on from that type of work. This girl needs benefits and a long term plan when I get back, right mom? I highly doubt that my backpack attire sans makeup or curling iron would have allowed me to create a “business professional” video. A Survivor video no problem and who knows maybe that is another reason why I couldn’t do the audition tape…because Survivor needed me instead.
Can you say “let’s go hiking?” After a great sleep and chat with Sheila to store my big backpack and save my room for the next evening, well, this girl was eager to get to Mt. Kinabalu. I scored big time on the front seat as Mario at the van station remembered me and totally hooked me up. Snack for the road, some darn good banana and rice in the banana leave. No, it doesn’t make up for my lack of bbq bananas here but it will due for now.
Mt. Kinabalu here I come!
The Dish is out