Kota Kinabalu: I’m done on this side

Kota Kinabalu has the personality of a dollar store. Cheap and ugly.The only reason to come here is because there is no other way to get to somewhere else. Which is how we found ourselves there for the night. If you want to imagine what a Vegas hotel felt like in Asia during the 50’s, I’d recommend the Promenade hotel. But funny thing, it wasn’t the experience we were looking for.

So I had a brilliant idea, let’s escape to a spa. Another brilliant idea…let’s go to the one the taxi driver handed us a flyer for.What the hell was I thinking? Like, when would I ever do that in NY? We both decide to get a foot massage as it seemed like a safe place to start. We sit in the lazy-boy-like lounge chairs, get served some tea all the while the masseuse boys are chattin’ us up.

7 bucks for 45 minutes for the 2 of us.  I’m thinkin’, “It don’t get better than this! Seeing how good we’re feelin’, masseuse boys convince us to get this treatment called “cupping”. We both get the “adventure rush”. Meaning….”Yeah, let’s do something we never heard of ’cause we’re in Borneo”. So here’s what cupping is…You lie  face down on a massage table, they light a match or candle into a cup and then place 10 cups on your back. The heat from the candle creates a vacuum-like suction and “supposedly” pulls the “toxins” out of your body. The darker the mark left from this procedure, the more lovely toxins are removed from your body. “tisk, tisk, tisk, toxins”, that’s all we kept on hearing from Jonah’s non-english speaking masseuse. We and couldn’t figure out why he kept repeating this. We found out soon enough.

Those damn embarrassing circles and burns were on our backs for the next 2 weeks. Honestly, I thought I scarred my son for life! My advice, stick with the foot massage and leave the cupping for the next dumb tourist.While we’re on the topic of seared meat… right across from the spa is the best Korean bbq, EVER.

So how to survive a day in KK? Stick to a foot massage, chow down at the bbq then get the hell out of dodge.