From Sarawak to Brunei


It’s time to move on again. We enjoyed our 3 nights in Miri not so much because Miri is an awesome place (it’s OK), but more because of the people we met there (sad to say this did not include any of the locals). We did run into Patricia (Austrian – had met briefly at Bako National Park), Jules & his lovely girlfriend (Phillipines – seriously now considering going there at some stage this year) & Katey (Canadian – and a huge improvement on the other Canadian we had the misfortune to meet a couple of weeks ago). People in Miri were nowhere near as friendly as we have been used to, and we heard of several incidents where the men were just plain creepy & rude to single white females. Hmmm, let me rephrase that, young single white females! I went for a walk by myself for a couple of hours around town and not one proposition, but unfortunately not many smiles either – everyone was a bit grim. Having dinner last night sitting at table just outside restaurant, we were approached by three men begging – first time this has happened anywhere! Decided to bus to Brunei, 4 hours, changed mind and decided to take private van to Brunei, 2 hours, asked reception if they could book us 2 seats and were told we were too late. Decided to bus to Brunei, then on suspicion that girl on reception didn’t give a shit for customer service (this was based on observation) decided to ring myself – no problems – 2 seats booked on van. Earlier observations proven correct. We were picked up from our door at 9am, then we were off. Brunei is beautiful and best of all, so clean. We passed some humungous mansions – why anybody needs houses that big (unless you’re the Jolie-Pitts with children and other assorted followers/domestics)
I don’t know, but they like them in Brunei. Roads were good and I thought we were getting along at decent rate, although with some pretty hairy passing manoeuvres – Big J later told me he saw the speedo get up to 170km/h – but we know how Big J likes to exaggerate – so probably cracked 100km a couple of times! We now know why the van is 2 hours faster than the bus. Arrived in Brunei & decided to go for a walk (as you do) in the 3000ºC heat – you know I wouldn’t exaggerate – it was meltingly hot, so all in all a splendid time for a wander around. Not. But we did. As you do.


James here. Yes, the locals (Most) need a bit of a reality check with hospitality of any kind, but I am under the impression from past local knowledge that this is their culture. Lots of middle age men walking around flaunting their tattoos and we even saw street kids handing around their version of Palmerston North Square, but they were more polite than your average Joe there for at least they said hello and moved their school bags before we walked past them. Sure there may have been the odd comment thrown in our direction, but hey, they were speaking in Malay so we could not understand what they were saying and the comments were being said 100 meters away and seriously for all we know they could be saying ‘Hello awesome kiwis and welcome to Miri!’ (Tui moment – yeah right!). Aside from that and the fact that our homestay had bikes and scooters for hire which eventuated to zilch as all the bikes for ‘hire’ had flat tires and there was no way I was going to ride a scooter in this crazy traffic, Miri is not bad. For any entrepreneurs out there, Sibu and Miri would be a great place to set up a homestay with on to it staff that are helpful and bicycle hire with real bikes! Brunei!!! Beautiful place, beautiful people, beautiful local food and clean. All of which comes with a hefty price tag. Hence why we are moving on after one day and night here. A bit sad really, so expect a bit of a reality check if you on a low budget. If your on the high price side then Brunei is for you. Our room in the budget hotel is a bit slim with no wifi, no breakfast in the morning etc. But on the bright side, I have plenty of room to kick the soccer ball around, whoop whoop!


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