We woke early as today we needed to get from Ubud to Bali’s airport near Denpasar for our flight to take us to Kota Kinabalu, in Malaysian Borneo – a day of much travelling. First up, after taking a few photos of our accommodation, was a mini-van. Now mini vans sound quite a reasonable form of transportation as their description often includes the word ‘aircon’ but the reality is often somewhat harsher as if you are not on the seat behind the driver you can find yourself contorted beyond belief – good thing I pre-contorted at the local torture chamber (aka massage parlour) yesterday.
The drive though was not a bad one – as we were not stopped by the local police extracting corruption fines – we passed a march, not really sure what the protest was about but ‘Power to the People’ – hopefully one to bring about the downfall of police corruption but I fear this is not to be the case. The airport was very nice and wifi good so I was as happy as Larry to get a few posts out as this is not always the easiest thing to do dear reader(s?), wifi in a lot of places being non-existent or so slow as to make it an impossible task (poor me eh?).
The flight was not bad at all too and we reached our destination in good spirits by late afternoon. The taxi system at KK airport is really good and soon we were off on our way to find the Victoria Guesthouse or hostel. KK looked to be quite a nice place and once we were settled into our budget accommodation – which was a bit like a rabbit warren – we set off to grab a bite to eat and see a bit of the waterfront as it seemed to be the place where the action was.
Going into the guesthouse the square outside was relatively quiet – if this is a possibility anywhere in any town in Asia – now when we exited ‘the Vic’ there were lots of stalls being set up for the market. Now these really did sell tat but as markets all over the world prove, for every tat-seller there is a tat-buyer and this was no different. A short walk away and we found a place the locals were eating at so following the advice of the guidebooks we settled in and had a bite – very nice it was too, as when making the order we were not entirely sure we had been understood let alone for it to be translated into food! Outside there was a driving instructor’s car which still astounds us after all this time and Liz sent back pictures telling her former driving school that a new kid was on the block in KK (i.e her!).
The waterfront was nice if a tad smelly and there were bars aplenty but as it is Malaysia you have to take care about picking the right drinks establishment with the right prices and we were somewhat tired so decided to leave clubbing until we understood the charging here.
Instead we looked about and continued on to the waterfront market – I think it was the market anyhow as it was full of raw foods, fish meat etc and then people cooking most barbecuing …… indoors! Not sure if the consequences of doing this had fully hit home to anyone as this might cause problems with potential customers such as the inability to see food or stalls – or even breathe at some times – but there they all were. Every now and again you would hear from the smoke someone asking if you wanted any fish, meat, child smoking but we had just eaten so this was not for us and with eyes like they had just been sprayed with pepper spray we made like Elvis and left the building.
Back at the digs we got talking to the owner a most helpful chap and we ended with him telling us about Sapi Island (part of the Taman Laut Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park) and selling us a tour that included Turtle Island and the Kintabangen River – two of the must-do attractions in the area. The price did not seem too bad but the trip did involve a bit of a leap of faith in that we would hand him over money and the details did seem a bit scant. He said he would firm everything up though and us being trusting types decided his word was his bond.