I am still reveling in the ability to get around so easily in Kota Kinabalu.
How to visit the city mosque in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
A quick bus trip from Wawasan terminal to the Likas District soon had me riding the highways of Kota Kinabalu. I’d asked around about getting to City Mosque and as usual got the double take looks. It seems that asking directions to this place is not that common a thing.
Again, the people of Sabah quite literally blew me away with their friendliness. Waiting for the bus to leave I’d struck up a conversation with 3 ladies in front of me. Mainly due to the fact I was dripping with sweat like a shower all over the bus.
Sample Conversation on how to find the city mosque in Kota Kinabalu:
“Where you go Mister?”
“The City Mosque Madam.”
“Ah, the City Mall!”
“Eh, no the Mosque,” I repeated. My message wasn’t quite getting across.
“To Pray,” I said pressing my hands together. No sooner had I done this then I remembered. Wrong country for that symbol. So I repeated and raised my hands up and bowed. It worked.
“Ah the City Mosque!” the woman gleamed as the bus took off.
Like any religion, Islam is different in a new country
It was my first time taking public transport in an Islamic country since leaving Pakistan (or to tick a few people off, Mindanao). And, as a young lady sat down beside me I noticed that things were much more relaxed here.
“Where you go sir?” she asked. The people of Sabah had me won over based on their sheer openness to say hello alone.
In some countries muslim women are simply not permitted in the same bus as you. Here, they were pushing me over in the seat and starting up conversations.
“I care less about religious rules. Moreover, my point is other people’s misconceptions of religion.”
The architectural beauty of the city mosque in Kota Kinabalu
With the South China Sea to the left the bus turned a corner and the yellow minarets with blue spires appeared like a beacon. I like Islamic architecture as one might note from my visits to Badsahdi Mosque in Lahore. The city mosque in Kota Kinabalu was looking like it would be another fine work of art.
There were a few tourist buses around the parking lot. And, a few Asian couples getting snap shots outside as I walked by. It was prayer time and I figured that I’d have to wait around a while before being allowed in. I removed my shoes and socks, and eyed a couple of kids hanging around by the shoe stand. Then entered.
Around the City Mosque and back
In actual fact the Mosque is not so special looking from the inside. White washed walls and ceiling, dull gray carpeting and that was about it. There were also only a few people around. With nothing much to see I headed back out to photograph from the outside as the sun shone down fiercely.
“I should have come earlier.”
But as luck would have it as I walked around the domed building the water surrounding it reflected the minarets beautifully. Further around and I came back to the front of the Mosque. It had an impressive entrance way that’s sadly obscured by a line of planted trees and a car park. That said, I was still happy with what I was coming away with.
Time to get stranded
I left and crossed the road again. I half planned to walk down the main highway and photograph the mosque from a distance, but the speedy traffic made it difficult. With the sun belting down I looked around and realized I could see no bus stop either.
A short walk back past the mosque and I met some students. Again, Sabah’s hospitality came to the top and I was greeted with smiles and was further told the bus would be along shortly.
Settling into my new destination in Sabah
Mission one for my list of places to see was now accomplished. Public transport was no problem either it seemed. What’s more everything just seems so easy in Kota Kinabalu.
The people, the way things worked, getting around. Things were off to a great start in ‘KK’ as it’s known locally. A city that is quickly growing on me, and all I can think of is …
“where’s the catch?”
The effects of long-term travel off the beaten path
Yes, that dark cloud of paranoia brought on from living in West Africa and The Philippines is still there. It has become apart of me. It brings protection for a lone traveler, but also hinders trust in others. It’s something I cannot shake …
Indeed, the catch is, I really have a disliking to the tourists here. Probably anywhere. They jump up in excitement with the things I’ve seen 10 times over. Yes … this is the difference. I am not the average breed of tourist.
It makes me seem quite boring in my lack of excitement towards other peoples ideas of a good time. Don’t worry, the feeling is mutual.
We are traveling. But we are both looking for different things from it. Different journeys whose paths cross over every now and then.
A good deed puts smiles on both our faces …