Saturday, January 2, 2010

Trip to KK: 2009 Closing (Final Chapter)

Last chapter - continued from last post

30 December 2009
Three years I was in KK, studying and staying there full-time; but I was not interested at spending my money and time for all the so-called must do activities. That includes the island hopping and snorkeling at any of the beautiful beaches in Sabah.

This time, however, I was determined to go to, at least, one island and experience the clear blue water, swimming with the fish and of course my main idea was to do Para-sailing (hoping to see the view from above). I woke up about 8am (again, no need to rush) and went to his room to wake him up for today's activity. We were not pacing up, but instead took our own sweet time getting ready for the day.

Being sloths, both of us managed to get out from the house at around 10am. When we arrived at Jesselton Point, we went in the building in the search of a good package inclusive of boat transfer, snorkeling gear and para-sailing. I have been here to this jetty a few years ago, and seriously this place has now transformed to provide comfort for the public. We could here loud music from outside, though. Apparently it was from the booths set up for the new year celebration (Stompin Sabah) which was scheduled to be on the following day. 

After paying RM 184 for both of us (price inclusive of all things listed above), we head out to get brunch. The idea was to fill our stomach to last us until our return. 

Restoran Nasi Padang Ibu was the choice. It gave us beautiful view of the sea and half of the city. I guess it was yet lunch time, so the menu was kinda limited of food choice. Nevertheless, once we tasted the food, I am now ready to recommend the place to all. They served basically tasty variety of Indonesian food (mainly Nasi Padang dishes). Me and my friend enjoyed the food (he even asked for nasi tambah). The price is very reasonable. At least we had good food before we head to the island.

Due to time constraint, I decided to only focus on one island. Since I have been to Manukan Island, so we choose a smaller island this time - Mamutik Island. The boat ride took about 10 minutes reaching Manukan Island. After half of the boat emptied and it was another 5 minutes ride to reach Mamutik Island. It was still school holiday and of course since year end also means more tourists in KK, the island also has some share of crowd.

It was almost noon, so the sun was scorching hot. We walked around the island trying to find any shaded area for us to stop and make our pit. Luckily, we found a place just before the trail to the other part of the island. While waiting for the boat guy to ring me confirming the availability of the person+boat to bring me for the water sport activity, I managed to get into the water for a while.

My highlight of the day was the para-sailing experience I had. It was extremely fun, but I must say being alone in the sky was kinda lonely. Anyway, I was planning for it for months and finally when I got the opportunity materialize my plan, there was no hesitation at all (sorry la my friend, like I told you in the boat - there is no regret!). 

After we returned to the beach, I took the chance to gear up and head to the water again. My friend was not keen to go in the water with me. Not sure why, but despite not having a pro-swimmer with me, I managed to swim and snorkel at the same time. The weather was a bit cloudy and the sea was about to get a bit rough. I guess that explains why there was less fish in the water. Nonetheless, I managed to see quite a handful of beautiful small and medium sized of fish. The water was clear enough for me to enjoy the underwater scene. 

Believe it or not, that half an hour underwater experience made me feel extremely elevated and excited. I told me friend to capture my excitement and happiness on his camera lens so I could always cherish this moment whenever I see the picture. I must say that he has the talent when it comes to capturing good moments. Maybe he should consider making photography his profession.

We headed for the ride home at about 3pm since I was about to surprise my friend later for dinner. I could not get any flight arrangement on the new year, which is also his birthday, so I have secretly plan for a birthday dinner date with him later on.

One of the famous restaurant in Kota Kinabalu is located on the 18th floor of the Yayasan Sabah building, the tallest structure and a landmark for the city. Our dinner date was at the restaurant - @mostphere.

My reservation was its birthday package inclusive of 3 course dinner, a bottle of red wine and a birthday cake. Just before we left the house, my friend came to me to show the earing that I gave him for present 4 years ago. Inside, I was worried when he complained that his ear piercing may have closed a bit since he has not worn any earing for almost 2 months. I was about to give him a new pair of earing (I knew he likes to wear it so much - at least that was I thought) this time.

Worried, but it could also be fate. He literally forced the old earing to his ear, since the earing meant so much to him and I (thank you for understanding). Anyway, we had glorious evening to ourselves. We saw the beautiful sun set from the restaurant (18 floors up) and had our dinner (food was fantastic) in a unique setting and feeling. The candle-lit lamp had our picture on it (taken by the staff when we mesmerized by the sun set view). When we finish our dessert, the waiters brought the birthday cake to the table (and of course they sang the birthday song as well). As soon as my friend blew up the candle (I wonder what you wish was?), the background song was tuned to a special birthday song. It was kinda romantic and touching. He was not expecting this kind of dinner (that was repeatedly said by him that evening). 

We hang out at the lounge after dinner. End to end, we were at the restaurant for more than 4 hours. He was touched and happy (and also stunned by the small fated incident earlier) to get his new earing. We had a good chat and laughs. Not sure how many times the restaurant floor revolved by the time we left the place. I hope by now he knows how much he meant to me. Of course, I wish him all the best in life and career. 

The day ended beautifully for me. I will always remember the moment and cherish them dearly to my heart.

31 December 2009
My flight was scheduled later the evening. In fact it will be the last flight. I had no major plan for the day. The idea was to just drive around town and do some souvenir shopping. We went out the house around 10am and drove to Signal Hill Observatory Tower. On the way to the tower, we passed by my friend's old resident, Bayshore Condominium. It was there when I was welcomed as a guest for almost a year by his family. I must say that most sweet memories of me staying with his family was from that resident compound.

I was ill during my second year in university and he was always there when I needed him. Often waiting for me downstairs whenever he came to pick me up from college residency, which could be long enough for him to read a book, while I slowly dragged myself from the forth floor to his car. It was when I realized that no one actually could help me full-time at college, when I asked him if I could move in to his house. Since then, I could never re-pay his family and his kindness to house me and take care of me while I continue my study with my fragile health.

It was there also where he helped me to regain my health and motivation to keep on moving. We had fun making fool of myself playing tennis, ping pong, gym and swimming. Thanks to his determination for dragging me, without fail, to join him to get more physical - I lost the most weight in my whole life. When I came back to KL after I finished my study, no one literally recognized me (I was transformed!)

Anyway, Signall Hill Observatory Tower gave us the view of Kota Kinabalu city. After the tower we went to another favourite restaurant of mine, located at Baverlly - Restoran Kak Nong. I had the famous Nasi Ayam Kak Nong and Rasa Ria for dessert. We were later joined by his family for this last lunch. 

After lunch, we headed to town and make a stop (just before it rained) at the Philippines market. My mom had given me her old bracelets (I bought for her during my study years) to get fixed. This place will be THE place for souvenir shopping. Of course, I also had list of items that I need to buy for friends and family. After the market, we walked to the main wet market, where I bought udang kering (small dried shrimps) for home. Here, the price is much cheaper compared to Kuala Lumpur, and of course Sabah made udang kering has better taste to be used in cooking.

I managed to meet up with another friend of ours from university. We have not met for the same amount of time as I have not been to Kota Kinabalu. She is now working with a bank in KK and said would be coming to KL in January. We met up at Little Italy, another hang out place I used to visit before.

By the time we reached back home, it was time for me to do my packing. I was surprised that his mother had prepared big dinner for my farewell. Thank you, auntie for the bihun goreng, butter prawn and lamb chop. I missed the bihun goreng so much, and finally terubat juga rindu. 

Just before I went in for boarding, I managed to give him a hug (which I never do) bidding goodbye to my friend. Thank you, my dear for sharing this enjoyable journey of mine these 4 days. Hope to see you again, soon. It didn't bother me at all to celebrate 1 January 2010 on the air - I had the best holiday ever, in my 10 years history.

It was definitely a great way to end 2009. When I woke up yesterday, it was speechless and indescribable. Despite all the challenges and achievements made for the past year, I am now more determined to work harder for higher achievements, and of course to loosen up more so I could enjoy life more than I used to.

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