Colourful Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu, one time Jessleton, was only a place between. Somewhere to gather self and thoughts between trekking through jungles and hiking up Kinabalu.
The unplanned often turns out to be more than expected. Odd days filled with colour and surprise.
Cold, clinical concrete brightened by street art.
Then the islands. Not being a diver I had not realised the significance of Sabah as a dive destination. One day was time to plan more than a quick tourist jaunt to one Manaku.
At least it was a tiny taste of the significance of Sabah for its oceans as well as its jungles. Clear waters, home to shoals of tropical fish. White sands created from crumbled coral; seen in their entirety only a little off shore.
Being the night before Lunar New Year celebrations were starting and the atmosphere was party. A street market spread along the docks where the sound of fishmongers singing in amazing harmony enticed me in to see what was for sale.
Bright boats bobbed in the harbour, bringing families and catch from the floating villages just off shore. Colour matched by spices, vegetables and fruit.
Dragons wound through the crowds. Their legs, of various sizes, in a state of undress, mingled with the passers by while waiting to perform.
Food stalls released their aromas of spices. Sizzling kebabs, pancakes and spicy veg. Eat and walk or hunker down among the locals on tiny chairs to sample more than finger food.
There are a few reminders of old colonialism. The city ditched the name of Jessleton but the harbour retains it. From Signal hill on the edge of town there’s a panoramic view of the town and Atkinson Clock Tower, perched on the periphery was built in remembrance of Jessleton’s first District Officer.
Then, on my final morning, I found a distinctly British breakfast of perfectly poached eggs. Perfect after two days up Kinabalu.