So there I was with a couple of other guys waiting to get a bus at about 10.30am from the roadside cafe in Kota Kinabatanagan where I had also been dropped off on the way to my jungle adventure. No buses appeared though so we were taken further down the road to a busy turn-off point but when the buses came they were all full.
I had told the owner of the lodge that it was essential that I was booked on to a bus which she said had been sorted but what they meant by this (with the benefit of hindsight) was “we will send you on your way and hope that one of the buses has vacancies!”.
We were then transported to another roadside cafe where we were told a bus was coming at 12noon but then inside they said it was coming at 12.30. At 1pm it finally turned up and left just before half past and it was then basically a race against time and I really was living and breathing every acceleration and deceleration and getting agitated by every red light, hold-up and people taking too long to get off the bus.
At the start of the journey I had basically given up but as we went on I did think that we would make it back in time for me to check in at that last possible moment. That may have been the case when I arrived back in KK at 6:30 pm and rushed for a taxi which took me to the airport. Unfortunately it was the wrong airport which surprised me as I didn’t know there were two airports and also due to stating to the driver twice that I was flying on Malaysia Air and not Air Asia which were at different airports!!
Another taxi then took me on to the correct place but with my plane only 20 minutes away from take off they wouldn’t let me through. Rules are rules of course but it aint half infuriating when it happens to yourself! I then went to the Malaysia Air office which was just about to close. The guy in there said there was no flight till the following day and that I should phone their office the following day to see if the Tokyo office would let me transfer my ticket for the following day or whether I would have to buy a fresh ticket.
I dejectedly left the Airport and checked into an air-con room at Akinabalu Hostel where I was suprised to bump into Jonathan again who had just returned from his ascend of Mount Kinabalu. We went out for dinner at the Central Market and later had the satisfaction of seeing the Germans lose the Euro 2008 final to Spain but it was small consolation for me when I knew I’d be absent from work that day thereby losing a days pay on top of whatever I would be charged for inadvertantly changing my flight schedule.
Earlier on the Sunday night I had had to buy a phonecard to phone work but there was no bl*ody answer machine at head office and for some reason the phone just wouldn’t connect with my school managers mobile. On top of all this the internet service was lousy and kept logging me off. I eventually mailed my girlfriend asking her to phone my school manager telling her I’d be absent the following day and after that I was left wondering whether all would go well in my absence.
I rang Malaysia Air constantly on Monday morning for hours but did anyone bother to pick up the phone? Did they fu*k?!!
So there I was in Kota Kinabalu with many hours to kill in a place that I didn’t really want to be. I chose to take a minivan to Likas Mosque and then walked on to Menara Tun Mustapha which had a revolving restaurant high up offering good views of the city. State Mosque completed my short itinerary and then I went to the Airport.
Three hours before my flight this time and I still only just made it on in time due to waiting 45 minutes to be served in the Malaysia Airlines office and then dealing with the employee who wanted me to pay a whopping 140,000yen (£700) for a fresh ticket which I obviously complained about whole heartedly as the original return ticket was about half that.
After kicking up a bit of a fuss and ahem twisting the truth about what the Tokyo office had said I got a new ticket for about 38,000yen (just under 200 GBP) which, though still expensive, was quite a relief given the original asking price.
I just managed to check in in time (despite being given a pass to push through the waiting crowds) and finally got back on Japanese soil at 8am and after the train ride home I had all of about an hour to myself before I had to go to work where I slept twice in my gaps betweeen lessons.