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First day in Bandar Seri Begawan …

My first night i stayed in a hostel just above Julia and Leslie’s office. We all agreed on that would be the best thing since i needed to visit the Indian High Commission to apply for a visa to India. Yes, that is where I’m going from here.

After facing tons of obstacles filling in the online visa, flight tickets being refused to be bought and PDF-files not being able to be printed out I miraculously managed to get all the documents needed and headed for the Embassy.

The bus station is just next door but finding out which bus to take wasn’t easy.No information board and no one to ask. But as always on this trip, a taxi driver came to my rescue. He offered to take me there for 10 dollars and the told me that bus number 37 was the right bus and that would only be 1 dollar. Bus it is. The driver kindly stopped close to the embassy and finally I could hand over my application. But then there was all these questions. Where am I staying, why am I here, why do I want to go to India, what was I going to do there. I hate those situations. It makes me feel like I am some sort of crook. The official, standing above me and me having to look up at him making me feel even smaller fixed his eyes on me. Finally he told me he could approve a three month visa. If I needed a longer period I could apply from Sweden. Hmmm…. I’m not going back to Sweden in a while I tried to tell him. And in Vietnam the officials were willing to give me a one year visa. And the photos was wrong size. If I provide them with new photos I would get my visa.

There is a mall 1.5 kilometres from there. It’s hot and the sun is burning. So I go there, get new photos and walk back. Hand in the application and pay the fee. All good. Now I have to find my way back to the hostel. I walk back to the high way where I got off the bus and see the bus pass on the other side of the road. Since the bus route doesn’t go the same way back and I don’t know if there is an actual bus stop and since there are twice as many cars as citizens I felt my luck was failing me. I went back to the mall but no help to get there. There is no taxi to be found since they are all at the airport. I decided to do as I think things are done here. You just stand by the high way and wait. When you see the bus you wave. My hope was that the bus would stop.

After waiting for a while I see a car stop and wave at me. It turns out it is a ‘private taxi’. 5 dollars and they took me to the bus station. I am more than happy. 5 hours. 5 hot sweaty and nerve racking hours and 10 kilometres of walking. But I made it. I don’t give up easily.

I went to Julia and Leslie’s office. Andreas from Germany is a fellow traveller who has been on the road for the past 2.5 years. When he came to Brunei the first time he met Julia and Leslie while visiting the eco-village. They connected, Andreas continued to Australia and came back. Now he is here on a work visa and is Julias and Leslie’s right hand guy. The three of them make a good team finding ways to improve the business. So we talked about what they need help with, what I can help out with, we had lunch and I then understood what made Andreas go back and actually stay working with Julia and Leslie.

Of course, when they told me it all made sense. They are chinese from Malaysia. And just like my Chinese family in Ipoh Julia and Leslie are people so easy to fall in love with. They are generous, great sense of humour and very business oriented. They see possibilities when others nee none.

Julia invited me to have dinner with the family and that evening was one of the best things that happened to me since I left Sweden. To actually have a home cooked meal, to sit around the table and chit chat, to be let in with such warmth. That means a lot. Kindness and generosity always wins.

Thank you Julia, you made my day.

2 thoughts on “First day in Bandar Seri Begawan …

  1. Thank you for your kind words. My family and I enjoyed having you around. You are so humble, kind, genuine and helpful. I love talking to you and listening to your stories. You give me calmness and good vibes. I hope we will meet again and we would love to have you back here in the future. Please keep in touch and wishing you safe travels to your next destination.

  2. Thank you for your kind words Julia. The feeling is mutual. You and your family found yourself a place in my heart. I’ll be in touch for sure. Be kind to yourself.

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