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Obstacles in Brunei …

It all started yesterday. My usual routine is that I wake up at 6 am, get dressed, bring my contacts and toothbrush and go to the common area, put the cattle on, go brush my teeth, make myself a cup of coffee, prepare a pot of tea and put my contact in. Sometimes I get the contact inside out and it hurst. And it did. so I took it out and put it the other way around. Still hurting. Glasses on checking for cracks. No cracks. Cleaning the contact, putting it in place and still hurting. That’s when I started to suspect that there was something wrong with my eye not the contact. Glasses on for the rest of the day and eye still not ok. My guess is that there is a rip on the cornea. Yesterday was friday. Fridays are day off and the day to go to mosque so everything is closed here in Brunei.

Saturday is working day. 7.30 am I wake Yan up, Yan wakes Ezz up and eventually we are heading for the hospital in Temburong. I have to admit I am a bit curious about how this will work out. Me being a foreigner going to the local hospital.

Have you ever been to a hospital in Brunei previously the woman at registrations asks me. No, luckily I never had a reason to, I answer. So I need to be registered. My passport states who I am and the data is registered in the computer and three labels are printed out. A registration card is fill out by hand, one receipt which said I payed 15 Brunei dollars for the registration, one receipt for 5 dollars for seeing the doctor and a queue number. That procedure requires three ladies handing the receipts from one to another and finally stapled together and given to me.

I have been to this hospital once before visiting Yan’s father. It has got everything one could need. The waiting room is big and airy. So we wait. People looking at me smiling kindly, waving. Two hours later I enter the examination room where a lady performs a full eye and sight check. Apart from needing glasses everything is ok. Next I see a doctor who examines my eyes more thorough and confirms that there is a rip on left eye’s cornea. He prescribes antibiotic to drop in my eye 4-5 times a day and a cream for the night. Next I go to the pharmacy counter and hand in my registration card. 15 minutes later I get a bill for 7.45 dollars at the registration counter and then back, show the man that I payed and I get my medicine. It is all done very efficient and very quick. Thank you Your Majesty The Sultan for that.

While waiting I ask Ezz about the healthcare system. Ordinary Brunei citizens going to the hospital pays 1 dollar. That includes seeing the doctor, having tests done and medicine. If someone in the family is employed by the state then healthcare for children up to 18 years of age is free of charge.

There is one more thing I need to do before we head back to Sumbiling Eco Village. I need to withdraw some cash, but before we leave I visit the ladies. I do my thing, I bend forward to flush and that is when my iPhone 6s decides to take a swim. What the ….!!!! That phone has cost me a lot of trouble and money since I left Sweden. It has been repaired at least 6 times and now this. Quickly picking it up and flushing. Swearing, being grumpy I step out of the ladies with my wet phone trying to find some tissue, but there is no tissue to find anywhere. My top will have to do.

There are 2 ATM machines in Temburong. For safety reasons I always use one at a bank. Transaction cancelled. Three times same thing. Why, I ask the staff, it clearly states MasterCard is accepted. No, not my MasterCard since it doesn’t have that special security label. I go to next ATM, MasterCard and Visa are not accepted. So here I am in Brunei and I can’t get cash from any of the 2 ATM’s. I hate this. This has happened to me in other Asian countries. Big cities there are international banks but out of there you’re cooked. Finally I realise I have to call Julia at the office on my phone that just swam in the toilet. Luckily she trusts me to lend me 100 dollars which are sent to Ezz’s account. Thank you Julia and Ezz for helping me out.

We head back to Sumbiling Eco Village and I hold my breath for a bit, hoping that three bad things in two days will be enough for the rest of my stay in Brunei.

My phone? Crack in the safety glass but otherwise healthy.

Today’s lesson? Take a deep breath when obstacles hit you. Everything vill be alright. And the best part with obstacles is that they make a good story to tell when solved.