Friday, 11 June 2010
It’s the last full day of the holiday. We were going to treat ourselves to a bit of a sleep-in, but the sun was shining straight through the window so we got up earlier than expected. We went for our last coffees and buns at our favourite little kopitiam; the waitress (we nicknamed “Happy” because she never smiles) has got to know us and asks us if we just want our usual coffees and tells us the baked buns (Tracy’s favourite) wouldn’t be ready until 09:30. We had our coffee and at 09:25 the buns were delivered from the kitchen at the back of the shop to the servery at the front of the shop; the first bun off the tray was delivered straight to Tracy. The pineapple filling was piping hot, so fresh.
After breakfast we wandered to the other end of town to go shopping at Espirit. The shop didn’t open until 10:00 so we did a couple of laps of the shopping complex, watching the people getting ready for the day and the other kopitiams serve their clientele. Right on time, the shop opened and Tracy bought several t-shirts (with Scott hovering in the background), they even honoured her membership card which she left in Australia and received her discounts. On the way back to the hotel, we wandered back through the city, stopping at a few little shops to look for sarongs and some other local-wares. We dropped the shopping at the room then went back to the restaurant where we had a good lunch the previous day, to test it out again and we had another good lunch, we even picked our own food out under the watchful gaze of our helpful waitress who explained what the vegetarian options were.
Tracy had a cunning plan to walk to the City Mosque which we had seen from the free shuttle bus taking us the hypermarket a few weeks ago. The LP said it should have been just over 3km from town; it was still hot (and I mean hot and very sweaty) and looked as if it might rain later, so we scurried off straight after lunch. We walked along the harbourside wall cum makeshift footpath. The road verge was clean and all the litter collected, but walking along the wall we could see the huge quantities of rubbish in between the rocks which is not visible from the roadway; it is such a pity as there is a concerted (but superficial) effort to keep KK clean (out of sight – out of mind). There is a small beach with bbq area that there had been a small effort to clean, except it still looked like a tipsite, however, the bbq areas were well used and some of the efforts in picnic lunches put us to shame, it seemed as if people had everything including the kitchen sink. The walk seemed a lot further than 3km and by the time we reached the Masjid, we were pretty well soaked through. In the carpark were a couple of tourist buses and we saw from a distance, the tourists entering the mosque through a side door.
By the time we arrived at that door, there was a sign saying tourists were not allowed through this door and we had to enter through the front doors. From a distance the mosque is an impressive looking building, but up close it is just another concrete building; well constructed and architecturally interesting, but still just painted concrete. We had totally lucked it in, the mosque is only open to infidels from 2-3pm and it was just after 2 – woohoo. At the front door, we removed our shoes and stepped inside, to be intercepted by a little man who handed us some gowns which must be worn. Did I mention we were soaked through already? Donning our neck to ankle synthetic robes didn’t improve the situation; Tracy’s problems got worse when the man handed her a synthetic head scarf too! We slowly wandered and sweated our way around inside the mosque (probably leaving a dripping trail), relishing the peace and quiet, taking notice of the simple yet interesting designs, all the time being followed by our little man. It wasn’t any cooler inside than outside, there a thousand or more ceiling fans and free standing fans in the mosque, all of them were turned off. At the end of the lap of the mosque, we de-robed and handed the now sweaty robes back to our “shadow”, signed the guest book and left the mosque. We are presumed they wouldn’t bother trying to clean the robes after, probably taking them out somewhere for burning? I know we would have.
Back outside, it was still hot, so we bought some water from the little stall at the front of the mosque entrance (being run by the wife of the little man) and headed back onto the roadway to walk back to the hotel. We passed back from the bbq site near the beach, declining offers to eat food, my theory being if I stopped I might dissolve into a puddle of sweat.
We made it back, completely soaked through and hot. Back in the room, we checked on Google Earth and discovered our walk was a crack over 10km, in the heat and the humidity, this was no simple feat.
After a rest and a shower, we started looking at the packing issue, sorting out what was going to be going and what was going to be ditched here in KK. The initial pack went rather smoothly and it seemed that we would be able to fit everything in. (How many times at the end of a trip have you not been able to fit everything back into the bags?)
It was just after sunset and we were hungry. We walked back through town down to the waterfront and went back to the Indian restaurant (Kohinoor). We ordered a couple of drinks (it is the end of holiday after all and our first drinks since leaving Kota Kinabalu) and some lovely Indian dishes, even splurging and having a dessert, we watched the last of the colour fade from the sky. Sufficiently full, we strolled for the last time through the main part of town and back to the hostel.