Thursday, November 6, 2008
Our Brunei Trip
Slices that I got from Fleur-De-Lys Bakery in Kiarong
CJ's head on a platter !!!
CJ ready to go on a 360 degree spin ride
I have been back from Brunei for almost a week but was so busy with chores like pedicure, facial, haircut that I only have the time to blog today, haha !! Not really, these are only done this 2 days, I have a big load of laundry to clear, dirty clothes before I go & more after I came back. Then there was dinner & lunch appointment on both Tuesday & Wednesday.
Today I'm back to my baking session, durian swiss rolls to start with.....
Back to the trip, my girls were on half-term break for a week after the Deepavali holiday. My friend P mentioned one day that maybe we should bring the kids to Brunei during a long weekend so we decided on the half-term break. We didn't take a plane, instead we set off in her Hilux double cab. Initially, I was unsure if my girls & I could survive such a long drive, 6 hours according to P.
We left on Wednesday morning, 8.30am & set off towards Papar direction. It was nice driving throught the countryside, passing through paddy fields, dragonfruit plantation, cows & baffalos. After Beaufort I couldn't remember some of the town's name except for Sipitang. It was this trip that I realised that Sipitang is different from Sipatang, how ignorant I am !
The only complaint I have about driving to Brunei is the endless immigration checkpoints on the way !! Frankly, I find it silly to be exiting one state & entering another state with a new immigration card each time even though I'm still in the same country, imagine filling in 4 card each time with a almost 3 year old toddler on my lap !!
One thing that really amazed me was a public toilet at the border of Sabah & Sarawak, it was the cleanest public toilet I've ever seen in Malaysia & can you believe it, there's a rice cooker & a kettle in it, I guess the toilet cleaner must be cooking there each day ! I should really carry my little camera with me all the time so I can snap any picture anytime !
I guess the grass is greener on the other side. The moment we entered Sarawak, I could see lots of trees everywhere & the first town, Lawas is not as dusty as KK. My friend, P, originates from Lawas. We reached Lawas at 12 pm & she brought us to a local coffeeshop for lunch. As compared to KK, the food prices are really cheap, only RM2.60 for a Kolo Mee & wild boar or deer meat can be found everywhere in Lawas. I had the fried noodle with chicken (to be safe, in case it's filled with fatty pork & I'll be too embarrassed to picking out the fats in front of P & her parents !) The portion was really big, at RM 4.00, it could easily feed 2 adults. I was hungry & greedy, so I finished the whole portion, the 'wok hei' was so so good !!
P brought us to her 'kampung' after lunch. My girls were complaining about flies & mosquitoes when they were there but after a while they 'warmed up'. This is the first time they've ever seen chicken, monkey, pigs in the wild & P's mum has a little durian plantation so we filled ourselves once again with yummy durian before we set off again.
I remembered the last town before reaching Brunei was Limbang. They have the cleanest 'kampungs' I've ever seen. Big rubbish bins can be found like every few hundred metres, along the roadside & big trees line the road too !
We finally arrived in Brunei about 6 pm. The drive itself took about 8 hours, excluding stopping for meal, immigration checkpoints & toilet stops.
I think eating out in Brunei is expensive. We had dinner in a food court near Centrepoint, Gadong. Food is bad & with 6 kids in tow, we decided it was enough so the next 2 days we were cooking at our friend's house. Jun has been kind to let us stay at her house this trip.
There's nothing much in Brunei, I mean shopping ! There's pretty cars & houses everywhere. I think the people there are really fortunate, they get to buy cheap fuel & rice.
I love their shophouse kind of shops in Kiulap & Kiarong, with cafes & retail shops. I must have checked out all the bakery shops there, a few of them have nice ambience & coffee (Lavazza) but minus the taste. The only bakery shop worth visiting is the Fleur-De-Lys Bakery, I tried some of their slices & think they're rather good so ended up buying cooler box & brough them all the way back to KK for hubby.
I love their SupaSave supermarket, it has all the imported milk, cheese, butter, fruits........
We went there I think twice a day to check out their produce, to plan our meals.
I brought back trays of Lurpak mini-dish butter, frozen berries, sausages, rose water, fruit bars for my girls & huge Thai 'jambu'. Imported goodies in Brunei are cheaper than KK but more expensive than Singapore. I was happily eating huge 'Doles' bananas everyday.
Besides visiting the supermarkets, we brought the kids to the Oil & Gas Discovery Centre in
Seria, the oil town of Brunei, about 1 1/2 hours drive away from Gadong.
The kids loved this centre, it's filled with all kinds of Science experiments & games. There's this ride that requires you to be at least 48 inches tall to be able to ride in it. Poor JF couldn't get a chane to try. The rider will be belted up & spinned around for a while (can't remember how long), the name of this ride starts with a 'c', I've forgotten the name & couldn't find it on google.
CJ tried the ride & to my surprise she liked it as she's always on the timid side !
The most interesting part of this discovery centre will be the illusions corner. Lots of stuff to trick our brains & my eyes were really blurred after trying to concentrate so much. The most interesting one will be the 'head-on-a-platter', you actually go into a box covered with glass so you'll look like as if your head is on a platter & the rest of the body invisible !
Oh, before I forget, we went to the Empire Hotel too ! The Sultan of Brunei was there too but we didn't get to meet him, only his entourage of bodyguards, policemen & of course grant, nice cars ! The kids went to watch 'High School Musical 3' at the cinema there so Jun, P & I went for tea at the lobby lounge. Well, nice ambience, with shiny WMF coffee machine, Asprey cups & saucers and cutleries, but Oh My the pastries were disappointing !! I was hoping to savour some really good pastries when I saw them being displayed on the trolley. The opera cake was dry, blueberry tart's pastry over-baked & the apple cake was damn sweet, at least the cappuccino was good !
We left Brunei on Saturday, 12pm & arrived in KK 10.30pm. We were supposed to leave in the morning but after getting all the kids ready & packing all the frozen stuff, it was already noon. Driving at night was not fun at all as everywhere was so dark. we were hoping the kids will sleep all the way home but they did not, they were bickering all the way instead !!