Cafe Culture

Last weekend we had an appointment with our obstetrician at the hospital.  The appointment itself wasn’t a big deal, but the hospital is quite a long way from our house.  And when we’ve driven an hour and a half for a fifteen minute appointment,  we like to make a bit of a trip of it (assuming no one has to get back for anything).  This time around, we planned to have lunch at High Frequency Cafe, which is the newest cafe in Brunei, and do a bit of shopping  at Dot Dot’s Little Shop, which has a new retail space to display its range of nursing supplies and other natural-mama needs.

High Frequency is said to have great coffee.  And coming from Wellington, New Zealand, which has one of the greatest coffee scenes in the world (that sounds a bit wanky, I know, but it’s true), that’s something we miss a lot.  We have had some passable coffees here, but the lattes at Coffee Bean Tea Leaf would make a coffee lover cry.  We had also heard great things about their steak and eggs, which sounded like a great rainy-day lunch.  Unfortunately, once we arrived, they were all full.  There wasn’t anything to do to occupy us for a wait, and I was starving, so we had to come up with a plan B.  I searched quickly on Google, to see what was nearby.  Nothing really appealed, so we decided to head out to Kiarong, where Dot Dot’s is, for some Thai food at Nur Wanita.  We have a branch in Kuala Belait, so we knew the food was good, and I didn’t feel like doing too much exploring.

When we parked up, we noticed that as well as being near Nur Wanita, we were right outside another cafe.  I had been thinking about cafe food all morning, so we decided to give it a go, despite the fact that I’d never heard of it before.

We headed into Depot Cafe and were instantly transported back to New Zealand.  The mood lighting was perhaps a little too dark, but the eclectic decor, mismatched chairs, arty walls, and big ol’ espresso machine behind the bar made for a great ambience.  When we found a seat and were presented with menus, they were well set out, with creative options, good pictures, and several different options that appealed.  Not being blog-minded at the time, I didn’t take any of my own pictures, but you can see some on their Facebook page (linked in picture caption).

Depot (picture from their Facebook Page)

Depot (picture from their Facebook Page)

I chose a Roast Beef Sandwich, and an Oreo Milkshake, and The Engineer had a Lamb Shawarma, and some pineapple-lime juice concoction (after all of our coffee talk earlier, neither of us actually felt like it by the time we arrived).  We were both impressed by the food and drinks.  Great portion sizes, good flavour, an all around tasty lunch.  We hung out for a while, chatting, enjoying the cafe, and digesting our huge lunches.

And best of all, we were then able to just walk across to our next destination (which was also rather successful, and resulted in the purchase of a rather lovely sling.  (Things are far apart here, so we’re usually driving one place to the next.  I miss walking around the city centre!)

It was not our initial plan, but Depot really delivered.  This is the second of Brunei’s newer, more western-style cafes that we have tried (the first being our old favourite Bistro Chez Fio), and we are impressed.  The food is a bit more expensive than your local options, of course, but is generally a little cheaper than the same would be at home (if not quite as creative or excellent as some of our favourites in New Zealand).  And the great thing is that they seem to be popular, so I can imagine they will get even more common.  Who knows, maybe the Belait district will get a funky cafe sometime soon.  In the meantime, we love to have them there as a treat when we head up to the big smoke.  And we will definitely be checking out High Frequency once the hype dies down a little bit!

An added bonus, now that we’ve found all these interesting cafes around, we don’t have to resort to Starbucks (which is Brunei’s newest chain).


Photo credit: lowjumpingfrog

Photo credit: lowjumpingfrog

I thought I would start writing again.

When I lost my book (I’m not sure I ever mentioned it actually, but we were robbed, and I am stupid.  So when the laptop was stolen, so was the 30,000 word draft of my book), I thought I would start over.

…Once I had re-outlined.

…Once I had found out whether or not I was pregnant.

Then I got pregnant, and I was so excited.  But I found that my creative energy was consumed by quite a different kind of creativity.  And then I felt sick for six weeks.  Still, I thought I would start over.

…Once I felt better.

…Once I had wrapped my head around the idea of this baby.

…Once I knew this was really happening.

Then we went away to Thailand for Christmas.  I never intended to write while we were there.  There was visiting and gaming and exploring to do, and I didn’t bring my laptop.  But still, I thought I would start over.

…Once we got back.

…Once my leg had healed.

But now, I am back.  My leg is healed.  I feel better.  I wouldn’t say I really have my head wrapped around the baby thing, but with some movements starting and the beginnings of preparation underway, I would say I am well on the way to that.  Everyone knows now (well, not absolutely everyone, of course, but it’s reasonably common knowledge, and I definitely don’t feel the need to keep it a secret any longer).  I am getting back into other activities.  My piano lessons are going well. I am playing bridge.  I am singing in choir.  I am swimming and yoga-ing and occasionally walking.  I am even managing to do some chores.

And still, I am not writing.

I am not blogging.  I am not journalling (apart from the occasional entry in our baby journal).  I am definitely not working on the novel.  And I don’t really know why.

I miss the routine, the habit, the feeling of productivity.  I miss the characters, the story, the unexpected twists and turns.  I don’t want to write the exact same story again, but there were elements of what I wrote that I really loved and would like to incorporate again.

But I am not writing.  And despite what I miss about it, a big part of me doesn’t really care.  I love my other activities.  I usually find enough to fill my days.  My life is going to change in a big way relatively soon, and a relaxing break before that change might even be a good thing.

The conclusion (if you can really call it that)?  I am not really writing now, but I am not ruling it out either.  I am going to take things as they come.  (And maybe that will even be a life lesson for me – it’s not something that comes all that easy to me!)