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Reasons for being wretched in Starbucks, Kota Kinabalu International Airport

MALAYSIA | Friday, 22 May 2009 | Views [2405]

Wretched, wretched.

It's 9.30am, and I'm sitting in Kota Kinabalu International Airport, Terminal something. One or two. Not the budget terminal anyway. Having arrived in KK at the budget terminal and seen it in its midday-scorching-heat glory, I'm finding this other terminal pretty swanky indeed. But it doesn't detract from the fact that I'm extremely tired, moderately hungover, and absolutely ravenous.

I hereby admit to anyone that cares that I'm currently sitting in a Starbucks. You know you're in an airport when Starbucks is the most reasonably priced food you can find. I'm drinking a coffee and eating a chocolate cinnamon bun. It's bloody fantastic.

I'm extremely tired because I had the worst dorm-mates ever last night. I was tucked up in bed by 11.30pm, like a good girl, and they came rocking in en masse at 2am, rustling bags and flashing head-torches and shhhing each other like only drunk, stupid people can sshhh. Their stealth was miserable and I simply got up and turned the light on for them. Then my buddy on the top bunk decided to be, you know, an uncoordinated elephant. Then he decided to snore, cough and wriggle. Then he decided to hold a conversation with himself in his sleep. I know that all these things were a completely conscious decision.

That's why I repaid the rustling, door-slamming, bag-shifting, light-flashing favour at 5am.

And that's why I'm tired. I'm hungover because I was drinking lots of beer with two English boys last night at a bar. I was drinking beer with English boys because I had met them on the beach earlier in the day. With three days to kill in Kota Kinabalu before my flight to Kuching, there's not a huge amount to do besides shop (two t-shirts for RM15!), go to the movies ("Star Trek" and "Angels and Demons") and hang out on the beach.

I went back at the beach where I saw the turtle. This time I didn't see a turtle, but I did see a reef shark. This caused me to paddle in the opposite direction pretty quickly, even though reef sharks are harmless.

Back on the beach I spied two guys sitting in the water drinking what looked like beer. This amused me. It seemed like a very Australian thing to do, so I positioned myself so that I could hear their accents in order to confirm or refute this hypothesis. Since you've already read the paragraphs above and because you were paying attention, you know that I was wrong. One of them comes over to me to ask the time, and I hurl so much random bullshit at him that he is compelled to invite me to drink beer with them that evening.

Sure thing, I say. It's either that or going to see the Star Trek movie again.

They depart on an earlier boat, and I spend another hour or so loitering on the beach. I sit with my lower body in the water like they were doing, and find myself surrounded by tiny feeder fish which set to nibbling on various parts of my body. It sounds creepy, but you pay big bucks for that kind of treatment in spas in Singapore.

Thirty minutes before my boat, I pack up my stuff and notice that... uhh... my shirt is missing. I retrace my steps to check everywhere where I might have vomited out the contents of my backpack. I climb over the island twice to check the snorkelling spot. I ask every shop and kiosk and lifeguard stand up and down the beach. Nobody has seen my shirt.

So I jump on my boat in shorts and bikini, head held high. I politely request that I may be dropped off at one of the other piers in town, to save myself an embarrassing stroll through KK central in inappropriate attire. They say no, no, no, then yes.

But even then -- goodness me.

If you ever doubt that you are attractive... If you ever doubt that you are, indeed, a world-famous movie star... If you ever think that the opposite sex simply doesn't appreciate all you have to offer... all you have to do is stroll through KK in a bikini. I figured out that if I wore my backpack on my front, I could at least avoid the gawking from the front. But as soon as I walked past those groups of guys who hang out on street corners, the chorus of "woohooohooo!" and "oh my god!" and "what happened??" would follow me.

Anyway, that was an exciting story to relate to these two guys when I joined them for beer later on.

The bar had a deal going: One large Tiger beer for RM17, or two for RM18. No-brainer. Together we imbibed a great deal and talked a great deal of rubbish. They were Daz (Darren, Darrell, whatever) and Dave. Dave from London with a mild cockney accent. Daz from somewhere further north were the pubs are called "poobs". They had just met the day before as well, in this self same bar. Daz had picked a flight to a random place on the spur of the moment, while killing time waiting for his mates to show up in Singapore. Dave had come out here specifically to see Borneo. Nice boys. They walked me back to my hostel, big hugs goodbye. Daz pinches my ass. This delights me immensely, and I'm sure it was completely audible to them when, as I'm walking up the stairs, I meet another chick coming down and enthuse "Did you see that? He pinched my bum!"

So that's why I'm hungover.

I'm ravenously hungry because I woke up at 5am and had breakfast then, in order to take a taxi to the airport to be on time for my 9.10am flight. Turns out my flight is delayed an hour. I'm also ravenous because I couldn't force down much more than two slices of toast due to the abovementioned circumstances.

But anyway. Today I fly to Kuching, in Sarawak, on the other side of the country. It's almost like an international flight with customs and immigration and everything. I'm not sure what exactly there is to do in Kuching, but everyone says that the various attractions are a lot more accessible to "independent travellers", which is a fancy way of saying "cheaper". I want to do some walking in forests. I want to see some caves. I have no plan, but I'm sure it will become obvious.

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