Even though we spent the first full week of our honeymoon on the west coast of Borneo just outside of Sabah’s main city Kota Kinabalu, the majority of what little we saw of the city was by way of bumpy taxi.
Or from the back of a bumpy boat.
You see, KK, as the locals call it, isn’t the prettiest of cities. In fact, I was surprised to find such a connected (my BlackBerry’s Internet was stronger there than in San Francisco!), bustling metropolis (there was a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf!) in a place like Borneo, an island that you might traditionally associate with such adjectives as “remote” and “rustic.”
That doesn’t look very rustic to me.
At least it did boast all the comforts of home, you know, like a KFC on every corner, an abundance of trashy reality TV. And an odd dichotomy of shanty water villages floating just across the way from the city.
So why were we there, I’m sure you’re wondering by now. Not the most obvious of honeymoon destinations. Well, I’ll tell you the truth: What KK lacks in culture in charm, it makes up for in incomparable surroundings in every which direction—Rasa Ria to the north, the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park to the west, the thick brush of jungle to the east—which is what brought us to the area in the first place. On our final full day in the KK area, before we flew out to the east coast, we decided to take the resort’s free ferry into town for the night, hoping to grab a bite to eat that wasn’t the frozen-then-reheated crap we’d been choking down at the resort, see a bit of the city and hit up these night markets that were (allegedly)(according to Lonely Planet)(never a credible source in my opinion) “the best in all of Southeast Asia.” Only, the torrential downpours typical of such an equatorial climate got the best of us. (And the markets? In short: Don’t waste your time.)
The second we stepped off the ferry, Zeus got angry and hurled his lightning bolt into a cloud situated just above the city center and it dumped swimming pools full of cold, pelting rain onto us. SVV and I quickly gave up trying to dodge the rain and, instead, waded our way through the city streets in search of palatable food (another fail). Moral of this story? Well, other than maybe use KK as merely a transit point—oh, and keep an ample supply of granola bars handy when traveling through Borneo always—I’d say don’t leave your raincoat behind in Borneo, ever, as we managed to do because there’s guaranteed to be a swift (or in our case, long and drawn out) rain shower at some point every day. Hence, why our photos of the city itself are essentially non-existent.
The good thing about rain? It does make for some incredible colors once the dust has settled.