Wednesday, January 14, 2009


It has been raining, and quite heavily too. When it pours in Brunei, flash floods at low-lying areas are norms. Periodically, the cable TV and Internet are disrupted, too. And fish is expensive when it rains heavily. Reason: fewer fishermen go to sea. Simple demand-supply logic. This is Brunei!

Shopping in Brunei is fascinating or frustrating, depends on how you look at it. The wet markets, for instance, are 'specialized' markets. That is, a seafood market sells only seafood, a vegetable market sells only vegetables. Chicken and beef are sold only in supermarkets. If we want really fresh fish, i.e. straight from the fisherman's basket, we can buy at the beach. There a market at the beach, like the wholesale in Jurong, that sells fresh fish, prawns, crabs; basically the catch of the day. Pork (babi) is sold here but in a separate room in the supermarket marked 'non-Muslim' products, hidden in one corner. How degrading, they put the dog food together with all non-Muslim products! I was told there is a shop that sells fresh pork, I've yet to check it out. So, you see, if you want to buy fresh products for a complete meal, you've to drive all around the country. Typically, I spend half an hour in a wet market back home for the whole week's supplies. Here, I have to spread it over a few days.

Larry was down with a soar-throat and running nose after a hectic week of golf and meetings. He blamed a young journalist whom he met last week; the guy came to the lunch meeting despite a bad flu. Lesson: when you have a flu, stay home. This week is a short respite as he prepares for another busy week ahead.

And I'm looking forward to going back for CNY next week.

The CNY mood here reminds me of home. Crowds are building up at all the shopping facilities.We went to the supermarket last night, our usual night activity, but it was crowded. The car park was full. It was chaotic at the car park. Don't expect any system here since parking is free.

I succeeded in baking muffins today. I know it's nothing to brag about. For those who know much about baking will know that muffins is the basic and simplest. Yet, for me, it's an achievement because I have never liked baking. I don't like the messy state of flour all over. On a separate note, I think my culinary skills have moved up another rung. I did a grilled chicken with stuffed potatoes, sirloin steak with abalone sauce and grilled chicken with BBQ sauce last week. All my own recipe, I mean my own version.

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