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(Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia)


Day 1 - 2 Aug 2002


Flight KA061 to Kota Kinabalu / bus trip in KK:


"I'd just like to point out that I'm not a resident in Canada right now... is it possible to be coming from 'Hong Kong, Canada'? "

Me, observing my Malaysian landing card. It was already filled out by our tour guide, but it had so many errors on it that it wasn't really funny - even my name was spelt wrong!


"I feel so weird having eaten three meals already. It's not even 9 o'clock, and I've already had as many meals as I would've had in a day!"

Me, commenting on how I ate breakfast before leaving home at 4am, then again at the airport at 6am, then again on the plane at 9am.


"It's really weird how Karen refers to herself in the third person - she keeps going 'Karen this, Karen that'!"

Mary, commenting on how our tour guide referred to herself in the third person for the first day of the trip. Eventually, she started to speak in the first person.


"You have this tendency to go to the bathroom every time the seat belt light comes on, don't you?"
Tammy, after I went to the bathroom right before some turbulence hit. Basically, I was in the bathroom and the fasten seat belt light came on, and it's happened to me before - I was actaully locked inside the bathroom once, because during times of turbulence, there's a lock that can be engaged from the outside to prevent people from going in -- or, for that matter, coming out.


At the seafood place for lunch:


"Lets have 2 of those things each then!"

Me, not realizing that we were actually ordering lobsters. Mary's eyes went really really wide before Tammy told me what we were really ordering.


During dinner:


"Screw it! We're going rafting!"

Me, right in the middle of some other conversation. We were pondering whether or not to go white-water rafting, because it was a 3 hour bus/train ride to the place each way. I was the oldest one, so they used this excuse to make me decide. Tammy's reaction: "Gee, that was really random -- we're in the middle of something else and suddenly..."


At the fresh food/fruit market:



When we saw this red fruit - there's loads at the market


"the chikennnnn wingsss.s..no0o0o0 the cccchheickeenn wingss!!"

Tammy, when we got on the bus we finally saw the BBQ chicken wings on sale (as the tour guide said), and we had our faces pressed against the window...



Day 2 - 3 Aug 2002


At the resort:


"You know, they actaully knocked on our door to check on us! Probably to make sure we didn't faint or die or anything, but it was kinda freaky... if we weren't there, they would have opened up to find nobody there... and a matress and pillows and blankets missing."

Tammy, after room service knocked on 9416 when nobody answered the morning call.


On the train:


"Scarecrows! Scarecrows! (pause) I think we're getting excited about nothing -- soon we'll be shouting 'Trees! Trees!'"

Tammy, when we saw scarecrows at a farm on the train. The entire trip we were basically surrounded by trees.


"Seems like we're in a massive 'jau laan' conspiracy"

Tammy, when we had to walk along the railway track to change trains. It was an amazing spectacle, seeing so many people just walk along the tracks... seemed like we were refugees going somewhere.


At the rafting place:


"I cant swim!!"

"My knees are wobbly..."

Tammy, while we were climbing out of the raft.


"Thorns! Oooh... such AYP feel!"

Same as above, when Tammy felt the thorns on the rocks


"You guys WHAT??!"

Tammy, on Peter and me telling her that we changed out of our bathing suits behind a building. Yes, there were changing rooms, yes, there were showers, but we just didn't bother. (They changed in a kitchen with an open window -- resorting to a locked door and one person holding up a large towel to cover the other from view)




After dinner:


"Oh... so jam is the word for hour. So we were eating for one jam... and lots of gas stations around here are 24 jams..."

Mary, while we were walking along the street and looking at signs.


"They must already think - geez, what a weirdos in 9416... they used 4 packets of detergent already! If we ask for any more, they'll probably think that we're taking baths using the stuff, and tell us to use the bath gel instead!"

Me, after Peter suggested getting yet more detergent to wash our clothes in. In the end, we didn't ask housekeeping for the extra detergent.


"We now know what it's like to be a washing machine, as well as what it's like to be inside a washing machine"

Tammy, while we were washing clothes after our rafting trip. The clothes were soaked, and we kept washing brown water (sand and silt, probably) out of our clothes. This went on for about half an hour until we were convinced we washed everything out.


Day 3 - 4 Aug 2002


At the hotel:


"Guys, let's hurry it up. They must be really pissed by now, since every day, we're the latest ones to get on the bus and stuff... so maybe once, just once, we should be early."

Mary, commenting on the fact that we were always late for bus rides wherever we went. If the others were pissed, they didn't really show it.


"That was how many pieces of bread you took from the restaurant?"

Mary, after seeing me and Peter take 12 pieces of white bread from the hotel buffet in the morning before setting off for Sapi Isl.


Sapi Island:


"The fish bite! You two are like walking fish bait!"

Tammy, after Peter and I set off with a bit of bread to attract the fishes in the sea. Well, the fish did bite, but it was sort of like a nibble, and it didn't hurt.


"That's it! I'm getting rid of this wedgie belt!"

Me, after the belt on my lifejacket got me a bit pissed (it's meant to keep your lifejacket from floating above your head)


"I was thinking, 'aww, our time's over'. Then I look backward, and there's nobody there! Then I realized that Peter fell off the boat and that's why we stopped!"

Tammy, after our banana boat trip, and commenting on how Peter slipped off the end of the banana


"You mean we were over 100 metres up in the sky??"

Me, in disbelief when I talked to the captain of the speedboat that took us parachuting.


"Well, I'd rather be a little bit wet than try to change in those bathrooms. I tell you - that place is so skanky it's not even funny. Besides, the showering water is actually salt water anyway!"

Me, when asked whether or not Peter and I would change to go back. It was true -- the bathrooms were dark, damp, and very unpleasant to look at, smell, touch, or even think about.


"But we're on the bus already! I can't really be bothered to go down again... oh, what the heck. "

Tammy, when we discovered we could get ice cream at the ferry terminal. We had boarded the bus to go back to the resort, but ice cream ... we couldn't resist.


Dinner Buffet at the resort:


Tammy: "Peter, you're going to get a 'to laam'"

Peter: "No... I'm not fat!"

Tammy: "Yeah, you're not -- you're just MASSIVE!"

Eating at a restaurant, where nothing seemed to satisfy Peter's appetite. According to Tammy, I started to laugh so hard that it seemed like I was choking on food or spitting it out.




Day 4 - 5 Aug 2002

Kota Kinabalu:


"I want a batik! I said a batik!"

Peter, getting a bit obsessed with batiks and sarangs -- Mary and Tammy were going around the city buying those. We were at a market at around 11am, and shopping around, when Peter discovered that what they were looking for were batiks


"Bu yeaw le..."

(This is Putonghua -- meaning "no, thanks")

Peter kept saying this the whole time we were at the market, even if they were selling the stuff Tammy and Mary wanted, because people kept asking us to buy stuff.


"We spent all that time trying to look for the right word, only to find out that she speaks perfect Cantonese"

Mary, after we had spent a couple of minutes trying to tell a shopkeeper what we wanted, in Putonhua and English, unsuccessfully. We started speaking among ourselves, and some Cantonese slipped in our conversation, and immediately we got a positive response.


"My brain is made out of ice cream"

Tammy, when we ate ice cream at McDonalds.


"Doesn't it feel odd that we came all the way to Malaysia to eat Japanese food?"

Me, when we ate lunch at this Japanese restaurant in the city. We don't really know why Japanese, but what the heck.


Tammy: "Hey, you know what? This store looks just the same as the one we were in! The layout's exactly the same -- they even have the same signs!"

Mary: "Yeah... it looks so familiar - it's even got those sarangs we saw at that other place."

Me: "Yeah, even the sign's in exactly the same location, with a clip... (looks around) ... this seems very familiar, doesn't it?"

Peter: "Hmm..."

Me: "All... too... familiar. Let's go out and check."

Peter: "This is exactly the same place we were before! Look, it's that 'Milky Tea' place again!"

We were walking around Kota Kinabalu, and we had no idea that the place we had just walked into was exactly the place were we were a couple of hours ago, from a different entrance. We just thought it was a bad case of deja vu at first, but then the similarities got a bit too awkward, and we just had to investigate. We had no idea that K.K. was that small, and because we took a bus from Centre Point to the furthest shopping place on the map and then walked back, we didn't know that we were blindly walking into the place we were in.


"The bus is going around the roundabout... now it's coming here... it's here! Wait... now we missed it... "

Peter, at 4:10pm at Wawasan Shopping Centre - we had just missed the bus going back to the hotel (it's still the same shopping trip) - Tammy and Mary were nowhere near done shopping :)


At the resort:


"Cross my legs? Are you crazy? Do you know how painful it is to cross my legs??... ohhh.... you mean like SIT cross legged. "

Me, when Tammy told me to sit cross legged to avoid mosquito bites. I was kinda shocked, but then I realized she meant THAT type of crossing. Never mind, it didn't work, since when I crossed my legs, they would go up the arms of the chair.


"I have never seen anyone eat this much garlic!"

A waiter called Redzme, who was really surprised when I took 5 spoons of garlic for him to help me stir-fry. (it was a buffet with a counter for frying seafood, beef, etc)


"Spooky ... all the lights just turned off! It's like in one of those movies..."

Tammy, when we were sitting on lawn chairs while the wind picked up and there was thunder and lightning. It was nighttime, and it was a really weird feeling being out in complete darkness.


"Are you sure we don't need to fix those deck chairs? In the morning, maybe we'd come out and these matresses would be in the restaurant or something!"

Mary, when we leaving our lawn chairs. We'd tied the matresses to the chairs, but she was still concerned that the next morning they wouldn't be there because of the really strong wind.



Day 5 - 6 Aug 2002

At the resort:


"We're staying up all night tonight, right? Nobody's planning to sleep then?"

Mary at 12am, trying to confirm that we weren't sleeping on the night of the 4th. It didn't work -- we sorta collapsed somehow and slept until 7am.


"I think photo-taking is a sport -- we're always rushing from here to there, running all over the place!"

Tammy - we were running all over the hotel trying to take some pictures before we left for the airport


"Hey! How come this receipt says room 9421 - 0 persons and room 9416 - 2 persons? Did they find out about our little conspiracy?"

Me, after reading the receipts from our hotel.


Back in Hong Kong, talking to Winnie:


"I've got a lifejacket tan. (pause, as Winnie expresses her disbelief at me actaully getting a tan) Ngor hai hak jor di, but it's all about how you define hak-ness - relative to Peter, Mary and Tammy I'm still white, but if you talk about absolute hak-ness, then jou hak jor di"

Me, talking to Winnie on the phone. She had just called and asked me whether or not I was tanned. (You might not understand, you need to know both Cantonese and English to get the above quote). Mary's comment: "That's mixing Chinese and English to the extreme!"



Words we learnt:


selemat datang - welcome
jurah murah - SALE!!
batik - What Tammy and Mary were looking for, a tie-on skirt (see above)

jam - hour



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