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I'm Sophia! Follow me through all my adventures around the world. 

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On the bumpy road to Kota Kinabalu...

On the bumpy road to Kota Kinabalu...

For quite some time, Suresh/Dean/Pao/Gana and I have been discussing and planning on going on a mini vacation one weekend while I am still in Brunei. We were debating on whether or not to go to Kuala Lumpur (also known as KL) or to Kota Kinabalu (also known as KK). But we decided on KL for my last weekend in Brunei as a final BANG before I left. We have been sitting on tickets, just waiting and waiting for... I don't really know what?! Suresh eventually ended up buying the tickets at about 450BND (approximately 350USD). I finally decided that I would just buy it, but when I checked, the flight that Suresh bought, which is also the only flight that fits into our work schedules, got sold out! So Suresh was left going to KL with Gana and with no one else... I was really bummed about this since I was really looking forward to seeing the Batu Caves, Petronas Towers, and the night life out there especially since it was my last weekend in Brunei/Asia for a while... Not to mention, we booked a table with 10 bottles at the sky lounge called Rootz, but there really were no flights unless I wanted to pay over 1200 USD... which was a big fat NO haha. For that price, I could buy a ticket to go around the world and back. But Amin, another coworker of mine (also known as Samurai froggy... I gave him this nickname), was talking about taking a road trip to Kota Kinabalu (KK) that same weekend to go island hopping. So me and Dean decided to go with! Pao Pao was supposed to come with us, but her passport/visa situation did not allow her to come. I was very sad that we all had to split up on my last weekend.. You could ask anyone in the office how sad I was because all I said was, "But... but... but....  SURRESH... PAO.. ITS MY LAST WEEKEND [insert puppy dog eyes and pout]" for about 5-8 days, all day, in the office.

We planned to head out after work at about 5PM, but becauase of constant power outages at work, we just took a half day at work and left at 11AM. During my long lunch (Friday's there is a mandated 12-2PM close for all stores/work in Brunei) I ate, showered, packed, and got ready for our road trip! I was so excited I screamed for a while... Amin and Dean picked me up in Amin's little GTI up to Bandar to get it serviced before our long trip. We ate at some little Muslim restaurant where I ate Indian pancake with (of course) Watermelon juice! Yum!

After Amin's car got serviced, we headed out finally to KK at around 2PM! It was quite a nice drive. It was blue skies and sunny weather... my favorite kind of weather! The palm tree forests and the jungles looked so green and vibrant under sun. There were all these little fruit stands along the road filled with tropical fruits and my favorite fruit of all time (durian...), as well as little cute long houses within the jungle. It really was nice scenery. The road though... was a totally different story. I thought we would be driving on a nice paved highway (Highway A2) like the ones that are in the U.S.... WRONG. It was a very narrow, two laned, bumpy road that drove through the villages and jungles. I felt so sick that I laid across the three seats in the back and slept most of the way there. In between my naps, I would sing extremely ugly on the top of my lungs and slowly fall back asleep again while singing transformed into snoring... I am sure Dean and Amin think I am weird... though, I am a great singer! :) hehe We had to "queue" up (wait in line) for this ridiculous ferry boat that allowed cars to pass this 10 foot wide river. It was seriously a 2 minute ferry boat ride across, but we waited about 2 hours in a line of cars in order to pass the damn river....

At night, it was pitch black out since there are no street lights or houses nearby. I don't know how Amin navigated or even see the road, for that matter. It also started to rain, massive monsoon type rain, where the roads flooded, but even then, we continued on. A 4-5 hour drive ended up being a 7-8 hour drive and after about 5-6 immigration check points, we finally made it into KK at about 11PM. We checked into our hotel, the Pacific Sutera Hotel. Tonight was the first night the hotel opened their  holiday light exhibit so the hotel lobby, atrium, and entrance was filled with Christmas lights and decorations, it was so beautiful I wanted to cry (just kidding)! I've realized after living in Brunei, Christmas here in Asia does not feel the same, since it's about 90 degrees outside and I'm wearing a tank top, shorts, and sandals... But the lights and decorations at the hotel was extremely homey and it truly felt like the season of Christmas.

We drove around on the look out for some delicious seafood (KK is famous for seafood) since we were all famished, but couldn't really find a place that was open this late, so we decided on this Malay place right off the water front. There was really nice weather out and it was just so good to be sitting, relaxing, eating, listening to the waves crash along the port alongside with the nice ocean breeze brushing against my face (hated the mosquitos eating me alive though..). The water front had a lot of restaurants and bars open, so we headed out to the Cock & Bull pub where I enjoyed a nice big glass. I almost forgot I was in Asia until I saw a giant cockroach the size of my hand running along the wall... *BARF*.... that... for me was a sign for us to go, so we headed back to the room... It's going to be a long day tomorrow so off to sleep! Good night!

Island Hopping pt 1 - Palau Manukan

Island Hopping pt 1 - Palau Manukan

On the Quest to find Sriracha Rooster Sauce

On the Quest to find Sriracha Rooster Sauce