Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

(June 24) This morning I was in a really awful mood. I slept okay, but with the time change I was still tired, and the $3 hostel was starting to wear on me since I was already sweaty when I got out of bed and I couldn't use the bathroom sink because the water just goes right through the drain onto the floor. And it smelled. There was a free breakfast of toast and marmalade which was fine except that every single plate (even the "clean" ones) was dirty. Hungry/tired/things not working is not a good combination for me. I washed my clothes in the sink which was fine. I wanted to FaceTime but couldn't get a strong enough wifi connection. And the girl downstairs was blasting obnoxious pop music.

I didn't have anything planned to do today so I figured I would walk into town, which is like a 25 minute walk from my hostel (because in choosing a $3 bed you also don't get to be in the center of things.) So I went to go find wifi. I was so moody!!! It took me over an hour of looking - I could not find anything anywhere, and it was early, so most restaurants weren't open yet. I ended up sitting down in a (blessedly air conditioned) Burger King so I could use my phone.

I felt a little better after that but was still hungry. I had no clue where to go to eat. Finally I stumbled across a place run by a girl who happens to be American but has lived in Malaysia for the past 14 years. Which means!! There was a real toilet and I could ask her questions in English. That place was a much needed break from the city - I sat there for almost two hours, reading and drinking watermelon juice.

Then I needed to find somewhere to print my visa acceptance letter for Vietnam, which is where I've decided to go next week (originally I was supposed to go to Bali but changed my mind.) Cue another hour-long search for an Internet cafe where I could print. Literally. Everyone I asked either gave me really confusing directions or didn't know what I was talking about. Finally I found one.

After that I felt SO MUCH BETTER, which comes as that typical feeling I get when I have figured things out in a foreign country. I love it because it goes from being overwhelmed and miserable and like I just don't understand anything, to okay, I accomplished this and this and now I know where these places are and how this works and I figured this out. And I can do it.

I also had the most adorable interaction with two little Malaysian girls. I was standing trying to figure out google maps on my phone near where they were playing on the ground with chalk. One of them looked up and said "hello!!" Which made the two of them dissolve into giggles. I said hello, and then they whispered to each other for a little and when I looked down I saw that one of them had written "hello how are you" on the ground in chalk. We continued the conversation for a while. It was really funny.

I walked back to the markets close to the shore where pretty much everything smelled like dead fish. Because dead and dried fish were hanging everywhere. I kept seeing a fruit that I wanted but didn't know what it was. "Mangosteen," a man told me. He broke it open so I could taste it. It was so delicious so I got two.

Then I was walking and passed a massage place (there are a ton) with this tiny Asian woman standing outside and she handed me a brochure. I realized that a 90 minute massage only costs $20. And I was so tired and my feet hurt and have been so swollen from walking so much in the heat. Sensing a way out of using my hostel bathroom, I asked if I could shower first. "Of course," she said.

So I got a shower and the most amazing massage I've ever had. Did you know that they are not shy about it at all?? Idk how other countries are but in the US, they won't even come near your butt, inner thighs, etc. Which is annoying when your legs are sore. This woman was literally climbing on top of me and stretching my body in all different ways and when the towel fell off she would just laugh at me and go "it ok. We same ladies."

It was so great.

I walked through the shops a while longer and then went and got myself food, pretty easily this time, and began the walk back just around sunset feeling pretty accomplished. Now I am totally exhausted. No one stole my stuff while I was gone, so I feel a little bit better about the hostel. Except I saw a lizard crawl across my bedroom wall.

Lol I did not plan on updating this frequently but it's kind of fun and it's good for me to do so I remember. Also then I don't have to type out everything that happened a million times to different people.

The picture is of the chilis in the markets near the shore.