Observations about Kota Kinabalu.
Lots of cars going around, almost every family can afford at least one
car. Motorcycles and bicycles not popular, cars are cheap. Road
systems are good, use of roundabouts makes for smoother flow compared
to intersections with stoplights. No traffic jams except for
occasional bottlenecks at certain points during rush hour, rush hour
nila parang sunday afternoon natin. Bus that takes you around the city
in airconditioned comfort is less than 7 pesos per person. We drove
for more than 100km on a highway and we didn't have to pay one RM of
toll. No tollgates.
People start the day late, they also stay up late. Dampa style eating
places still packed at 22:00 OH on a monday.
Population growth seems to be slower, less people means more resources
for each person. Nobody goes hungry, no beggars in the streets.
Homeless people are so rare that they still attract attention of
passesby, contrast to the apathy and even contempt that they get from
people here in Manila. Taxes on goods are only 6%. Food is cheap and
quality is off the charts, wet market dampa style eating places serve
food quality and quantity you won't even get in restaurants inside
expensive malls in Manila, and they do this for even lower prices.
Cigarettes are expensive (P137 a pack or marlboro), people don't seem
to like them that much. Alcohol is expensive. Wines cost 2-3 times
their cost here.
Their airport does not charge you one sen of terminal fee and their
citizens don't pay travel tax, dito runway robbery ang terminal fee
and travel tax (total P2,220 per person total). Education is free up
to high school. Walang visible na police, we only saw three the whole
time we were there, there's no need for them. People are generally
considerate (you hardly hear cars honking) and street crime rate is
very low, no snatchers or anything like that. A motorcycle stolen
from a regular citizen still makes news on the daily broad sheets.
Tips are not necessary, people don't expect them. Stores give you
change down to the last sen.
I don't think they can pack heat or even own any guns (street cops
aren't even given one), I suppose that's one downside for a shooting
aficionado. Only saw two guns the whole time there, a 12 ga used by
guard in an armored van (literally a hiace retrofitted with thin
armor) and a 38spl smith and wesson on a customs guard.
Malls don't have guards sa entrance, those that do have them don't
touch you or your bags. Usually nag lalaro ng game sa cellphone lang.
Taxi drivers obey prescribed fares. No meters just a chart for fares.
For once a country where Filipinos are regarded as respectable people,
even considered as preferred customers because they know our language.
They also seem to know that we find their goods cheap and are glad we
buy a lot of it.
Religion hardly an issue, you just hear morning call to prayer in
islam and you see people in traditional islamic attire but that's it.
Nobody stops and prays in the middle of serving you your lunch. We
made friends with very pleasant folks from jolo, maybe get to use the
backdoor through them if we ever need to flee sans trace.
Relatively clean and uncrowded beach is 10 minutes away by speedboat
(dual 200HP yamaha or evinrude outboard powered) that charges you
less than what a dinky banca (25HP water pump powered) operators here
will charge you.
All in all very pleasant trip, unbelievably affordable. Spent less
than US$300 per person for 4 days, that figure includes ALL expenses
from the moment we stepped out our door in manila until we got back