I was in Brunei last Saturday, having plan to do some small shopping since last 2 weeks and managed to do that at last. I left around 11am and steadily drove through the border which took me less than 45 minutes to reach the first town - Kuala Belait. It was too early for me to stop for the Zohor prayer and later saw me stopped at next small town called Lumut just in time for that. The day was blessed with an excellent weather, the sun almost invisible surrounded by heavy clouds which carries small particles of H2O and ultimately made the ride more enjoyable. I went straight to Bandar Seri Begawan, specifically the Yayasan Building, bought most of the intended stuff plus the 'not intended' as well. Who can resist when one 'subornment' by some banners spelling '70% discount on all Versace item' or '50% less for Calvin Kline' or even 'Levi's jeans $50'? and not forgetting the 70% discount on most of Bohemia Crystal and glasswares. Confusing enough, you can't see any mad rush to these counters, and the first question popped-up was 'where does the Bruneian go for their Eid Mubarak shopping?' Definitely for branded items you can't find any in Miri nor Kota Kinabalu, so would it be London then? Paris? Dubai? Singapore or 'cikai-cikai' to KL?
The newly erected Gadong Mall was the next stop after Yayasan's, first priority is to recce the 'added intended' stuff although the top mission almost accomplished. I was trapped by my own self-centred mind and shopaholic dysfunctional disorder or whatever you might called it.... at the end, I still can't satisfy my 'added intended' thingy and got to rush back to Yayasan's. The last piece of black Samsonite 'Freeminder' series bagpack still sitting on the shelf waiting for me to bring home - and I did. The majestic floating golden dome mosque was the next pit stop before I rushed back heading to the toll-free-hassle-free-traffic-free highway. My happily ever after smiles suddenly deteriorating when awaken by the blinking fuel indicator, goshhhh! I forgot to fill-up the fuel and now I'm on the highway of nowhere, and the nearest town that I know is more than 50km. Can my car survive this journey?
To cut it short, I exited via Tutong after nearly 9km driving with that disturbing blinking as though it says 'fill me up! fill me up now you moron!'. Stumbled upon a T junction....I turned left as my inner soul whispered, after almost 3km enjoying the Kampung Keriam's late afternoon view I saw a big Shell logo from afar... the word 'alhamdulillah' automatically burst from my mouth. But... it was closed... tried to figure it out... it almost 6pm, probably they close for Iftar, again tried very hard to console myself. My inner soul whispered once more, 'turn back Rush, go as far as you could, at the end of the road you will see the fuel station...' (now it's getting really scary...hiksssss). Another 9km drive, passing-by the T junction and yes.... another Shell fuel station closed! and another one just few hundreds yard closed as well for Iftar. I was left high and dry in Tutong town just a few minutes before Iftar (initial plan was to have my Iftar in Kuala Belait - the big fat mutton Murtabak from a 70's deco Malbari Restaurant). As I'm chasing the time (the border post close at 10pm), I did my Maghrib at Masjid Tutong, took my meal at a restaurant next to the mosque and just across the fuel station, followed by 150kmph ala-F1 style drive, until I arrived at Lumut mosque for my Isya' and Tarawih (I thought the Imam in Masjid Jamek Miri is the bullet train, but he definitely can't beat the Imam in Lumut, he is super-bullet train!!!).