On Brunei and Boredom (Part 2)

(BRUNEI, Bandar Seri Begawan) Boating on the Kampong Ayer. (Photo taken by the author.)

So, Abbey and I have a good twelve hours before our flight back to Manila from Brunei some time after midnight. Our options are, for lack of a better phrase, severely limited.

Our initial foray on the first day had already exhausted the capital’s most pressing possibilities (easily counted with a hand missing a finger or two). Exploring the more obscure attractions—mostly ostentatious palaces for the living and the dead—remains a distinct possibility, but the absence of buses plying the route between the city center and its peripheries (where we are, unfortunately), the expensiveness of the taxis, the dearth of pedestrian-friendly infrastructure and the remote threat of the occasional snake (see the essay On Brunei and Surprises) makes that alternative distinctly unpalatable.

We would park ourselves in a café, only we haven’t yet seen a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Coffee Connoisseur, Gloria Jean’s, Seattle’s Best, Spinelli or Starbucks (though we’ve seen at least two Jollibees—intriguingly serving pitas—and a disproportionate number of KFCs). And we’ve already investigated the neighborhood’s commercial districts (the first time I’ve seen a Giant supermarket that didn’t quite live up to its name).

If neither of us figure something out, my emergency entertainment rations include one copy of Martin Heidegger’s Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays and one copy of Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul: Memories and the City. Abbey, gifted with better foresight in these matters, wisely packed Fiona Walker’s Love Hunt.

And because the universe has a perverse sense of humor that way (especially when I’m traveling), the rain—forecasted to fall for the entire duration of our trip but unseen for the most part—has finally decided to make its appearance, and is making it rather emphatically. (Which means I can’t even pass the time by taking random photographs.) 

It looks like it’s going to be a long, long wait.