Learning the Kota Kinabalu ropes

Trip Start Jan 21, 2011
Trip End May 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Lavender Lodge and Akinabalu Youth Hostel

Flag of Malaysia  , Sabah,
Saturday, January 22, 2011

All writing narrated by Holly unless otherwise stated.

And so our trip begins!  We arrived in KK (as it's locally known) on Saturday morning, rather unfresh from our 17 hours of travelling.  The first hostel we booked into were very welcoming and gave us a pretty big room, albeit without a window, something we later came to expect.  We decided to have a wander and took our little map out on to the Malaysian streets.  Now I know that Malaysia is a predominantly muslim country, and so I dressed rather conservatively by my standards: vest top and maxi skirt.  However, upon leaving our hostel I was stared at by what seemed to be every single person I walked past! 

Trying not to be phased we continued our walk to the Centre Point shopping mall; a huge expanse of confusing escalators, a million entrances and lots of shops selling phones and pirate dvds.  The idea of finding Tom a pair of sunglasses soon became laughable, as all we found were pairs for 280 ringgits, approx 70 quid!  It was then that it dawned on us that it was a pretty expensive place as far as Asia goes.  We were already flagging from jet lag so our mission became food-based only.  I was particularly interested in finding a curry, which we finally managed in another mall that seemed to sell only frozen yogurt!  The stares had continued unabated so I vowed to cover up more tomorrow and we went back to the hostel and rapidly fell asleep.  For 16 hours on and off.  This did not do wonders for our jet lag!

Day 2 saw us over sleep and therefore miss breakfast, but we found a great little cafe that served toast and awesome coffee and were happy.  Until we realised we had blown our day's budget already, oops!  I won't lie to you, at this point we were already a little bored and having checked out the tours available (all of which were 50 quid or more) we were feeling slightly disillusioned.  The problem is that there is not a great deal to do in the town, and being one of the few westerners there didn't help with the staring issue.  Despite my covering up completely I was still drawing attention, particularly my boobs!  It was getting uncomfortable, especially as there are a lot of Chinese girls in KK who wear tiny shorts and vests but don't get a second glance.  We have discovered in some guide books since that western woman don't have the greatest reputation over here and therefore are encouraged to dress conservatively, however if you have a larger than average pair of boobs like me, I reckon you're in trouble anyway! 

Having wandered most of the town by now we had a fairly good idea of where the action was, and decided to check out of our hostel and into one more in the centre.  It was the best decision as we were given a large room and it's cheaper than the previous one, result!

Our plan now is to head off to the islands nearby as they are meant to be amazing.  Having rained fairly persistently the last day or so we gave it a miss today and will try our luck tomorrow.  Fingers crossed!

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