Friday, 27 January 2012

Operation Brunei

As I look out my window I see the green of Bandar Seri Begawan all around me. The mad rush and comedic mishaps of the last two weeks seem as though they are from another life. Bottom line my cheque came through and is safely deposited in the bank (though it is in a UAE bank, so maybe I'm counting chickens) and I managed to say farewell to most of the nutters, crackpots and other varieties of dear friends I made in Al Ain. My goodbyes were said with great sadness. I enjoyed the Al Ain chapter of my life, and now it has passed.

Brunei was a long time coming. I've already learnt that nothing happens quickly here and I've learnt that things happen the way they happen, so it's best to just go with the flow. Never mind that after you've spent 40 mins in the queue to get through the first security check at Dubai Terminal One and a further 40 mins standing in the Royal Brunei queue only to be told "Karl's visa is not valid." We got nowhere pointing out that the Brunei embassy had arranged the visas and tickets. After much discussion a solution was found. We had to go out of the immigration area and buy an exit ticket from BSB. So we left, bought a ticket and argued and pleaded our way back through the immig queues carrying a ticket from BSB to Bangkok. In all the hooha we were suitably entertained for 3 hours and got to the gate at boarding.

On arrival in BSB the immigration folk were rather pleasant, but they insisted that we hand over 40 Brunei dollars. Thinking that the embassy was taking care of us, we hadn't checked requirements and weren't told about the 40. Of course we didn't have the Brunei dollars, but even worse we didn't have sufficient dirhams to exchange at the money changer. Sigh! So Karl was escorted outside Immigration to an ATM where he withdrew some cash to pay for the visas. It's all fun and games really!

The next instalment of Operation Brunei was the shabby chic hotel we were taken to (after having kept the people meeting us waiting for an hour! Sorry about that guys!). Well, to be honest, the hotel lacks the second part of my description. Let's just say it is adequate and has nice views.

So that's my life up to the present moment.

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