Brunei - The mystery I seek to explore

I really have nothing to write about this place. The very fact I am starting with the negative says it all. Landed at the airport, took a taxi and the first thing I asked the driver "What is it that I can see as a tourist in Brunei?". To my amazement, and may be his as well for hearing such a question, he said "Don't know!". We were picked by a colleague the next day at whom I threw the very same question and he smiled saying "Nothing". I was surprised that in such a wonderful natural landscapes there is nothing for tourists to see. Oh God we are to spend a week here even though it is an official visit.

This is a green mass of land. With a very feeble population of under 500 thousand, most of them live around the capital Bandar Seri Bagawan. Work starts early and ends early. Life is just a standstill after office hours with nothing much to do. A couple of malls & that's it! There is one McDonalds out here which should tell you Brunei is still not commercialized. It's the oil that has kept the living for people of this land.

Having said that, I must mention that the beaches that I could see on our way to the southern end of Brunei were amazing. Crystal clear waters with sandy beaches; apparently with not a single soul to see. Unfortunately we couldn't stop by for a closer look. Tourism is not an industry here. & understandably so. When there is so much of oil to give the world why invite the world to come over & dirty their beaches. There is no need for an additional source of income. In a way I am happy there is no tourism here as it could ruin the naturals.

Brunei is also a dry state. Dry in the sense that liquor is not something that you can associate with Brunei. Alcohol is not sold here. However, you are allowed to carry your own stock from wherever you arrive. Each person is allowed to carry 2 bottles. The other options is for the locals to drive up north to Labuan or down south to Miri & cross over to Malaysia. Locals are allowed to load their boot with 2 bottles of liquor and 24 cans of bear per person for every 72 hours. Enough for the 3 days unless you are having a feast at home. Drinking in public or in restaurants is also a No-No. One is allowed to only consume their vise at their own homes. Most of the local travel over to Malaysia for shopping as well. Having a stronger currency compounded with the fact that there is nothing much locally, it does make sense as well.

The final day of our stay and it was almost like a curfew. Friday prayer time is officially off for all businesses and offices. So from 12 noon until 2 pm the roads are absolutely empty. The shops are all inoperative with their shutters down. If you want a retired life with peaceful living, Brunei is the place to set base. As of now, I think other than official matters I would not fly back on this side of the Borneo again.

But then again, I am still having this feeling within me ...... a feeling like I am missing something ..... like there is something there in Brunei that could possibly be worth seeing ..... like there is some hidden treasure since this place is not explored yet ....... there is something that is telling me Brunei is not as shallow as want I have heard of ...... hopefully someday I may be able to exploit its hidden treasures.
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