Hello from Kota Kinabalu

We are currently taking a mid-dinner break between our first course of roti chanai and martabak before we head to another Malay food stall for some sate and perhaps some fish curry.  Kota Kinabalu is a very interesting town.  It’s far smaller than KL or even Denpasar, and the main downtown area is small enough that we walked the whole way through it without realizing it.

So far we’ve only just walked around.  We spent the afternoon strolling through the markets right along the water.  KK is right on the South China Sea, you see.  At some point we must have wandered through the Filipino market, but we couldn’t tell the difference between that market and the others we visited.  We have also been impressing people with our ability to speak Malay.  Actually, people sometimes seem to be laughing at us and we have overheard a couple of rude comments, but for the most part it’s been fun and we’ve been making friends and endearing people (we hope).  As Borneo is such a tourist destination and this town is the big entrepot to the jungle areas, they don’t get many Malay speaking Westerners.

Tomorrow we fly to Sandakan, on the East coast of Sabah.  From there we will be visiting an orangutan sanctuary.  From there, we’ve booked an overnight trip to a small rustic resort in the jungle two hours from Sandakan up the Kinabatangan River, which is supposed to be one of the best areas in Southeast Asia for watching wildlife.  If we’re lucky, we will return with pictures of hornbills, proboscis monkeys, and wild elephants.  But as the tour operator reminded us, "there are no guarantees, it’s not a zoo."  We’ll be back in KK by Monday afternoon our time, and will hopefully be in contact then.