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  • Writer's pictureRick

East Malaysia Day 13: Cafe-Hopping without WiFi in Kota Kinabalu (亚庇)

This was a free and easy day for me in Sabah. I was unable to get a desired flight to Kuching, Sarawak, so I chose to stayed in Kota Kinabalu for an extra day. It would be good for me to rest and relax and to plan for my next 4 days in Kuching.


For some reasons, WiFi in ATAP Hotel died. Not wanting to waste my roaming data since I still had several days to go before flying back, I planned to go cafe-hopping and use the WiFi in the cafes. And I needed to wash my clothes one last time for this trip. I left the hotel with my laundry and stepped into a hot sun at 8am. There was not a single smirch of white in the blue sky.


I learnt about King’s Mee, a noodle stall, the day before at Mee Young Holidays and would like to try it. I made it my first objective for the day and took a 10 minutes’ walk to its location. I reached King's Mee at 8am.


King’s Mee was located in a coffee shop, opposite 999 Bar Kota Kinabalu, that did not have a signboard. There were two stalls selling noodles, one of them was King’s Mee with its signature dish called “Four Seasons” (四大天王). Naturally, I went for the signature dish, which used thick spinach noodle dry-tossed in a light sauce and topped with four ingredients: roasted pork, barbecue pork, minced pork and fried ikan bilis. It was a tasty, crunchy and savoury dish. Too bad I would not have the chance to try other dishes before leaving Kota Kinabalu the next day.


Four seasons noodle @ King's Mee

I decided on Beezee Launderette in Australia Place again for my laundry because of the cafes nearby. I walked along Jalan Padang to find a large mural on the side of Toojou, a hostel or hotel. Then I continued along the road to Lorong Dewan (Australia Lane).



10am, at Beezee Launderette, I put a washer to work on my laundry. But I could not stay in the launderette due to the simmering heat and went over to October Coffee House — I had not had my morning coffee yet. A cafe staff told me that their WiFi was not working. Coincidence? I had an ice-cold hazelnut frappe coffee with oat milk, in place of dairy milk, and sat down in the cafe to enjoy the air-conditioning.




After finishing the drink, I went back to the launderette to move my clothes to the dryer and waited there for another 24 minutes. Once the drying was done, I went back to the hotel to spread out the clothes on the bed for cooling — and making sure the “Do not disturb” card was still hanging outside the door. I tried using the WiFi but it was still unable to connect to the Internet.



I went back to Australia Lane again. The cafe beside Nook Cafe had a message pasted on its door saying its POS was not working. Similarly, WiFi was not working in Nook Cafe too. Too many coincidences, I believed the entire WiFi network in the area was disrupted even though users could still connect to the WiFi routers but not to the Internet.


It was close to lunch time, so I had a smoked salmon sandwich using light wholemeal sourdough with a hot long black coffee at Nook Cafe. I ate the food slowly — sourdough needed some chewing — and tried to stay longer in the cafe but it was so busy on the weekend that some people who came in could not find tables. I finished the food and left after 1.5 hours.




I walked to Suria Sabah shopping mall, took photo of another huge artwork on Wisma Sabah, a building opposite the mall, and walked back to Gaya Street. The hot sun was stopping me from going to places without shelters. I must make a note somewhere that May was super-hot in Sabah, off-peak for travelling and off-season for durians and taraps.



1:30pm, I remembered seeing a new cafe, called Mizumizu Coffee, in Gaya Street and decided to try it. It was a small cafe with few tables. I had a pandan gula melaka latte using oat milk, and accompanied by a lemon pound cake. The pandan gula melaka latte had both pandan and gula melaka aromas and not too sweet but the lemon pound cake was a little too sweet for me. The cafe was getting crowded and a table of six were talking so loudly within the confined space and giving the cafe a "marketplace" vibe. I left after finishing my coffee and cake — barely an hour in the cafe.



Back at the hotel at 3pm, I decided to stay in the room till dinner time. The weather was too hot and cafes were crowded on weekends. It was too costly to hop from cafe to cafe within a short period of time and also too much caffeine. My hotel room was quieter except when there were noisy guests outside my door.


Writing my blog posts using Notes was the only thing that I could do without sending data through the Internet. I managed to finish all my outstanding posts with a cup of especially-nice rice wine — concocted from two bottles of different rice wine.



I came out of the hotel again at 6:30pm into Api Api Night Food Market — my 3rd time on this trip. I told myself that this would be the last time I could eat at the market since I would be flying off the next day. I walked round the market, hoping to be tempted by some food.



Half an hour later, I walked into Peppermint restaurant again — my 3rd time on this trip. Fried, grilled, spicy and oily food aside — I could make myself eat those if I wanted to — the main issue was still where to eat the food after buying them. Unlike the food stalls in KDCA where I knew I could sit at any tables so long as I purchased a drink from the owner providing the table, there was no such facility in the night market.


I went for the spiced chicken with rice this time, noting that there was a soy sauce chicken too. The spiced chicken was actually roasted chicken topped with a special sauce. The Chinese name of the dish was “怪味鸡” meaning “weird-taste chicken” but the taste of the sauce was rather light and nice with a well-balanced sourness, sweetness, saltiness (from fish sauce) and spiciness. I seemed to have tried something similar before but could not recall where or when was it.



The end result of a super-hot day would be a downpour, typical in the tropical region. After leaving Peppermint, I walked into a light drizzle that had just started. People were dispersing from the unsheltered food market and taking shelter along corridors of the buildings on both sides of Gaya Street. After being fed, I had no interest in the food market any more, and with nowhere else to go in the drizzle, I went back to the hotel. The rain got heavier 10 minutes later.


I was reminded that there was no WiFi. Just 2 days after activating my data roaming plan, I was left with 30% of my quota — it was supposed to last me 5 days. And I had not done my homework on Kuching yet.


I also finished up the last cup of rice wine since I could not carry unsealed bottles of alcohol onboard the flight to Kuching as I did not have check-in baggage.


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