Thursday 13 November

(magnify) The quayside at Sandakan

The same speedboat takes us back over the water to Sandakan. On the way we are caught in a brief squall, and the boat driver, unable to see sufficiently far ahead, has to slow right down. Back on dry land, we have a half hour to look around the market (Peter tells us that it is due for demolition next year), and then we go to the airport for the 11.10 am departure for KK.

Back at the Beverly Hotel, we meet once more in the foyer at two. Rob, Helen, Fi, Steve, and I walk down to Centre Point for a late lunch at Pizza Hut, and then take the afternoon to explore the upper reaches of the shopping centre. It is raining heavily outside, so we spend more time in Centre Point than we really wanted. There are five stories of shops, and then above these the “Palm Plaza”. Above that are six more stories of offices, looking down onto the plaza. Many are unoccupied. I take a lift up to the 10th floor and find an open window along a deserted corridor where I can take an aerial photograph of the grey rain-soaked street leading to our hotel.

Rainy street A rainy Lebuh Raya Pantal Baru Fish restuarant Fish restuarant at Sedco Square

We all meet up again at half past five outside Pizza Hut. It is still raining and there follows a brief debate over whether to hail a taxi or buy umbrellas. The umbrellas win and we walk from there to the cinema where we have arranged to meet Steve who has been watching the just-released film “Matrix Revolutions.”

On from there to the night market, but there is not much happening yet, so back to Sedco Square, full of open air fish restaurants of the kind where you choose your fish from a glass tank. There we sit down and order drinks. Steve wants to order a snack of prawn wantons, but we manage to totally confuse the waitress and we have to give up. They make a creditable effort to tempt us to stay and order other food though, but we are not yet hungry.

We return to the night market. By now there are more stalls set up, but it is still a little disappointing. I buy a tee shirt of Mount Kinabalu (not the “I came, I saw, I conquered” one, I hasten to add).

We have all decided that we only want a light dinner, but then manage to blow it completely at the Restoran Sri Melaka, just opposite Sedco Square.