We were then transported to the ship. Processing on to the ship was extremely fast and efficient compared to other cruises we’ve been on. From start to finish it took less than 30 minutes to get to our cabin. We just dropped our carry-on bags into the cabin and headed to the lunch buffet. Since it was pushing past 2PM and we were scheduled for dinner at 5:30PM we ate fairly light. Very soon after we returned to our cabin, the “Emergency Evacuation Drill” was performed, a mandatory drill for all passengers to learn where they are supposed to go and what they are supposed to do during an emergency. When we returned to the cabin we found that our bags had been delivered. This is the moment of truth – did my alcohol and soda make it through the inspection? YES, they did!! I’m set for the next two weeks of NOT paying $12.00 a drink for alcohol and $3.00 a drink for soda. Yea, yea I know – “what a cheapskate”, but I see myself as “frugal”, not cheap ;-)
So, we spent a night "at sea" and anchored in the port of Kota Kinsbalu, Malaysia located at the northern part of Malaysia, the country that also includes the infamous “wild” country of Bornea. The total size of Malaysia is 127,317 square miles, with a population of 29.72 million people who are comprised of 32 ethnic groups speaking over 100 languages and dialects. Our guide mentioned more than once, that they are also having problems with illegal immigrants, mainly from the Philippines and India. He said that is has become dangerous to walk around at night because of the immigrant gangs.
The next day we were taken by bus to tour a few important sights. We visited the 30 story high Tun Mustapha Tower, formerly known as the Sabah Foundation Building. This is an extremely “different” building as a medal cable runs up the middle of the building and all the floors attach to this cable. It is a magnificent building, one of only four hanging structures in the world with a glass façade. It is the tallest building in Borneo and it is the only building in Asia with the unique 72-sided polygon, column-free floors. Tun Datu Mustapha, (full name: Tun Datu Haji Mustapha bin Datu Harun), was the first governor of the Malaysian state of Sabah and the building now carries his name.
Some years ago the country declared themselves a “Muslim” country so many Mosques can be seen scattered around, but the City Mosque was definitely an eye catcher ----from the outside. The inside was totally bare without color or decorations. Even though the country is officially Muslim, we were told that 60% of the population was something other than Muslim. We had some Muslims on the cruise with us. The cruise ships are very health-minded and ask the passengers to wash their hands often and to use the hand sanitizers set up at the buffet lines, but the Muslim women said that they were exempt because the sanitizers contained alcohol. OK, since I’m married to a Mormon I know that they cannot DRINK alcohol, but I’ve never heard of a religion that bands the touching of alcohol. What do these folks do at hospitals?
My back was not cooperating with me so when we stopped at a Museum I stayed on the tour bus and Julieann took some photos. The Skull Hut was interesting. A Bangkavan is a collection of human skulls which were suspended from the rafters of a Kadazandusun house in the old days. This is a relic of headhunting days when the owners believed that hanging the skulls in the house would bring good fortune to the household. This is probably why Boreno had such a “head hunter” reputation.
We were supposed to leave for Vietnam the same day, but a storm is heading that way so the Captain (AKA "da boss") decided to spend an extra day in Malaysia and skip our visit to Nha Trang, Vietnam. We will now leave port tonight, at sea for a day and land near Ho Ch Minh City, (AKA "Saigon") on the 14th. Still having fun and doing MUCH relaxing. Wifi is expensive and extremely slow, but we'll try to keep you up to date.