Monday, July 27, 2009

Kota Kinabalu is Evil to Tourists - Part 1

An undetermined number of greedy pigs redefine the necessary evil tourism. Poverina doesn't know how many are there on top of the food chain in Kota Kinabalu ( KK ), but she certainly sees their ubiquitous slobbering snouts oinking for money.

1. White, green and yellow parking boxes are mushrooming. Masters of these boxes gladly forego sabbath on Sundays along the beaches to cash in on peak tourist traffic. Unlike Singapore, the proportion of human to space is large even in crowded KK so inevitably there are "un-boxed" spots along the way. Our piggy clandestine masters barricade every nook and cranny which has the potential of free parking spot. They insist you pay but - park at your own risk.

2. Driving in KK is unpleasant. Going on foot in KK is unpleasant and DANGEROUS. The unpleasantness has to do with road system designed to bleed money. Therefore the roads here have no interest to serve their basic purpose. The roads are designed to lead automobiles to waste petrol, to get parking or to ruin their engines with humps and potholes. Since pedestrians do not pay parking fee, there are hardly bicycle lanes or boulevards. Overhead bridges are grudgingly erected at the most absurdly inconvenient locations. Buses carry huge banners shouting in Malay : " Use public transportation to reduce road accidents " running on Samoan standard schedule, oh of course they drop passengers in a central station which the city council has moved to the furthest end. Most business people are not interested to install awnings. Some of the "odd" buildings that have awnings barricade the shade to deter pedestrians. If you forgot your hat/umbrella, be prepare to increase your risk of skin cancer.

By the way, motorists here tend to slow down at green light and accelerate at red light. So trying to obey the pedestrian traffic lights is suicidal. Even if you were lucky to meet sane motorists, the traffic lights always turn green for you and also turn green for traffic coming your way simultaneously. Naturally, they behave the same way in the red phase.

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