My third night in Kota Kinabalu was a crazy one where I look back and think… WHAT THE HELL WAS I DOING? … SHIT THAT WAS AWESOME.
It all started with my friend Emily and I immersing ourselves in Kota Kinabalu’s culture as fully as we could by crashing a local sit down bar. We wanted pure local and that is what we found, think, little plastic tables and chairs crammed in wherever there was free space, old ass Malaysian men, fish being bbq’d on a little grill at the entrance and $1 beers. Emily and I instantly became celebrities the minute we walked in, I don’t think a foreigner, let alone two rather attractive foreigners, had ever stepped foot in there before. Although if I’m being completely honest, we’d spent the day on the beach, we had smelly, sweaty, beach pits, our hair was full-on knotty and manky, we had sloppy beach attire on, sand in our ears and who knows where else and not one hint of make up… we looked delightful. Well, this didn’t deter the locals, free beers were flowing! By the time we had our 4th round of beers bought for us the female waitresses were getting slightly perturbed at the attention we were attracting, we were getting serious dirty looks. Em and I decided it was time to get some H2O and head to the next joint (wherever that may be). Unfortunately this little treasure of a place didn’t serve water. We were however desperate and asked one of the waitresses to fill the bottle up at the tap. WORST DECISION EVER! It was like she took the bottle and filled it with toilet water, Emily took one big swig, then I did, and immediately she had to hurl. The bathroom didn’t help the situation, it smelled like there was pee on every surface available. Some advice when in Kota Kinabalu: Never drink tap water. I didn’t escape unscathed… the runs and myself became very good friends the next day. This little stint at the local bar was just the beginning.
Em had met a really nice bus driver a few days before who wanted to show us a bit of KK. We wanted some adventure… we called him up and next thing we know we in the bus on our way to a restaurant to meet his band. The band members were really nice guys, a tad old, but some interesting conversation was had. I vaguely remember us singing Phil Collins, In the Air Tonight, I’d said he was my favourite rocker… who knows why I didn’t say Guns n Roses or Van Halen, my memory had decided to leave me with Phil Collins! It seemed to go down well enough, we were singing after all. These guys bought us dinner and drinks while we were there, Em and I had spent a total of $1 since the night began! The generosity of Malaysians is astounding. When conversation became a little dry and boredom began to set in it was time to leave. Em and I were ready to grab a cab back to our hostel. Little did we know there was a whole night of shenanigans still to come.
We left the restaurant, were waiting for a cab and a car full of very young, very cute Malaysians drove by… they asked us where we were going and if we’d like to go partying with them. By this stage the night had been so successful already we thought this the perfect opportunity to make it an even bigger success. Yes… we got in the car with them. Now you may think this horrifying and dangerous (my mom is getting grey hairs just reading this) but this little occurrence enabled us to meet some of the nicest people in Borneo. We felt like old ladies hanging out with these boys as they were all aged around 18-20. The youngest, was just too cute and Emily and I took to him instantly. I’ve vowed to return to KK in 10 years when he’s old enough for me LOL. Music blaring, bass pumping and Em and I were just in our element, laughing at our luck. The boys took us to a popular club in KK called club bed, it was still surprisingly early and the club wasn’t very “alive”, Em and I tried as best we could to bring the party but 10 minutes dancing by ourselves, with everyone staring, was a tad awkward. The live band was superb and I kinda wished we’d gone later but the boys wanted to move on to the next place.
We arrived at a pool bar, played a game of pool with 2 of the boys (where Emily won…) and the driver who’d been driving us around since the restaurant had grown tired of us. We took this as our cue to go back to our hostel. He was kind enough to lift us there but then one of the boys asked if we’d like to chill with him and some of his other friends. Em and I weren’t quite ready to call it a night so we agreed to hang out with them. His friends were a little older (around 25) and were from Kuala Lumpur, my word these guys were such gentleman! We mentioned we were hungry and they took us to McDonalds… Paid for all our food and then took us to the beach to feast. Once at the beach, the water babies that Emily and I are, we convinced the boys it was a good idea to swim. So there we were in Borneo at 3 am swimming in the ocean with some guys we’d met that night. This was possibly the best part of the night. The water was brown, filthy and polluted but at that moment we couldn’t care less, the moon was out and the city lights created the perfect backdrop.
After that the boys dropped us at our hostel where Emily and I stayed up for another hour talking and reliving all the craziness of that night, two hysterical giggling gerties. We met up with a few of the boys 2 days later, it was so tough saying goodbye that night because it was one of those goodbyes where you don’t know if you’ll ever see them again.
Riding in cars with boys, drinking with old band members, using the most dodgy toilets known to man and swimming with utter gentlemen under the moonlight, I think for many years to come Em and I will reminisce about this night where we felt, quite literally, young and wild and free in the most complete sense.