Everybody has quirks. Every thing has quirks. And nearly three months (!) into my time in Brunei, we’ve discovered some of the little quirks of this place. These are those really little things that don’t really make a big difference in our daily life, but every so often make us go “huh! that’s odd”.
- Chips (as in hot chips, french fries) usually don’t come with salt. And there often isn’t salt on the tables. So you have to specially request it.
- Cash machines are always in air conditioned rooms, and there are separate machines for cash withdrawal and cash deposit. And people actually use the deposit machines (at least sometimes).
(Side note, our local bank also has a little online terminal, where you can do your online banking if you don’t have internet access at home/work/wherever. Kinda neat, huh?)
- People rent bouncy castles. This is an odd one, I know. But in all my years in New Zealand, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bouncy castle in someone’s backyard. In three months in Brunei, I’ve seen at least four.
- They still use carbon copies and hand written receipts. Often. Sure, at home you might occasionally come across a written receipt, or a carbon copy. But generally, things are pretty modern. Here, many transactions are still done manually. There are even still ads about the benefits of using cards over cash (the main non-benefit being, they’re often not accepted!)
- There is so much beach, but nobody swims. The water doesn’t always look the best, but it’s usually fine. And it’s lovely and warm (but still cooler than outside). Yet no one else is ever swimming!
- The weekend for many people is split. They work Monday-Thursday and Saturday, with Fridays and Sundays off.
- Some people drive really fast and a little bit nutty. Other people drive really slow (some trucks are limited to 35 km/h, others to 50 or 60 km/h). But no one seems too bothered by the other.
- People are seriously addicted to smart phones. It’s really common to see a large family out for dinner, with everyone tapping away on phones and no one talking.
- There are no rules about lighting fires (as far as we can tell), and you often see people burning rubbish in their gardens, even in town.
- All number plates begin with K or B, depending where the car was registered.
- Carrot juice is often served with milk.