Day 95: Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo. Some days work out a little differently to how you planned, and today was one of those days.
We left the guesthouse around midday to go and visit the Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Reserve. We could see exactly where it was on Google maps, but couldn’t work out where the main entrance was, so dropped into the Tourist Information Centre to ask the staff there. Which also gave Lil a nice opportunity to snaffle some more paper maps and brochures.
The obvious route to the reserve seemed to be to walk past the Signal Hill observation platform again, then walk along the winding road and turn off into the reserve. The nice lady behind the desk at the Information Centre frowned when she heard that we were intending to walk – “it’s a very long distance, you need Grab”, she informed us.
We said we were totally fine to walk, and asked whether the road that runs past the observation centre was the best option. Once again she frowned, and said the Information Centre recommends Grab “so tourists stay safe”. We asked if it was the traffic that was dangerous, but she said no, “other danger” – and then said “maybe no problem, no recent reports”. Lil asked if she meant attacks, and she nodded yes. From the few details we could get her to share, we gather there is a house somewhere along the road with an angry dog, and possibly an angry monkey too.
It was all a little baffling but we decided to stay safe and walk the very long way around (which was three and a half sides of a square) – back along the waterfront where we walked yesterday. The lady at the Information Centre was very helpful, however she missed out one very important detail – the Wetlands Reserve is closed on Monday. We walked all the way there to find ourselves standing in front of a closed iron gate. A large sigh from Jim, and a touch of swearing from Lil.
We walked past a Golf Club on the way back, so poked our heads in there. We had coffee looking out over the pitching range, with what looked like Christmas decorations tied along the fence.
And then we walked back to town – which was uneventful until Lil got tangled up in someone’s fishing line. An embarrassing few minutes followed, while Jim worked on freeing the line from her hat and pony tail. Meanwhile the fisherman sat on the ground beside us, rolling his eyes in despair.
Having to walk three and a half sides of a square (or seven sides return) meant that by the time we got back to the town, it’s was after 4pm. The Sabah Museum – our second planned activity for the day – was due to close at 5pm, so we had to give that a miss too.
So we went and bought two new caps, which are dashing Nike rip-offs. They look reasonable but probably won’t last very long. On the plus side, our foodpanda and foo pand hats can now be sent off to cap heaven.
This evening we had beers and dinner at an eatery a block away from our guesthouse. It’s a popular local hangout and it was fun to watch locals coming in and socialising, ordering food and drinking beers – quite a lot of beers in some cases. The three guys at a table next to us had managed to drink their way through 14 cans of beer by the time we left, and were showing no signs of stopping. Wonder if they have to get up for work tomorrow.
Another fabulous dinner of chicken in a rich soy sauce, noodles and greens. And of course a couple of beers (though it would take a lot of practice to be able to keep up with the guys next to us).
Tomorrow we’re planning to get up at a crazy hour to get a minivan to Mount Kinabalu National Park – a two hour drive from Kota Kinabalu. To get home again, we need to stand in the road outside the park and wave madly at passing buses or minivans in the hope one stops to pick us up. Let’s see how that works out.