You’re not.. You’re not good

The ‘bohemian holiday snobs’ moniker is primarily due to Renae and I having our own ‘relaxed’ niche and like comfortable accommodation when on holiday.  Without the ‘backpacker’ ‘hostel’ ‘shared bathroom/room’ ‘nightclub on ground floor’ appended to hotel details.

Were not saying the on-the-cheap/fly hotels are less enjoyable.  Though being married, in our 30’s and adamantly enjoy our quiet, privacy and anonymity – the economic savers are less appealing for us.

We visit these amazing places to see, absorb and take-in its rich history, unique architecture and culture.  Okay okay were primarily there for the food!

When on vacation I liken us to, ‘Jake & Elwood Blues’ crashing the Chez-Paul Restaurant..

..except the bread tossing and wanting to buy children aspect.  My throwing is subpar nowadays and usually we have but 1 bed – no way is there room for a child let alone children.

We don’t stay at or avoid skyscraper-type behemoth hotels.  There’s too many floors, too many shared walls, always seeming too expensive and sterile-like qualities.

These establishments also have ~ 3 – 1 ratio of the pinky finger out when drinking types and/or guys in v-necks (what the h ell is with these wide scoop v-necks?  The ONLY man who can pull off the man-bear coat is Welsh singer Tom Jones & perhaps America’s own Neil Diamond.. jmo.) talking too loud about their booze cruise, women with the mousey-type voice who overemphasize the letter ‘s’ when speaking etc.,   You know, we (as I’m sure you do as well) see their boyfriend’s all the time.

Uhm.. yeah

..and their empty vessel

..and their empty vessel

It’s no stereotype and we don’t claim to be their betters.  We only wish THEIR lives were more personal, less conspicuous and well.. theirs and theirs alone!

There are PLENTY of 4-5 star hotels whose floor plan is spread out, less boxy and far more spacious with 1-3 floors, tops.  Their outdoor patios overlook a harbor, rooftop seating with downtown square a few moments walk etc.,

These hotels have some or all of the following amenities: a pool, gym and sauna/spa facilities if possible.

We’ve found these especially important when on an Austral-Asian holiday.

Weather systems are more prevalent to many Asian destinations due to close proximity of the equator.  As well as Australia & New Zealand, their far South locations in the Southern Hemisphere, respectively.

Taking advantage of the pool, sauna or spa is ideal on a rain day or a lazy day.


‘Excuse me while I whip this out’

Cleavon Little, Blazing Saddles

Sheriff Bart (the late Cleavon Little), Blazing Saddles

Shortcuts, idiosyncrasies you may find funny are methods we’ve employed to have a less-hassle (hassle-free is fiction), more enjoyable holiday.  As well as avoiding catching a cold when getting back home.

There are conditions where locals shake their heads in befuddlement and we find ourselves chuckling, ‘It’s no big deal’.. (*when clicking a hyperlink – such as the link below this message, highlight the link, right-click ‘Open Link in New Window’ or highlight the link and type ‘W’)

It’s tough to gauge a hotel from customer reviews.  One review speaks of a ‘honeymoon destination’ and you see another scathing review during the same period!  This is the overwhelming reason why we want to share our ventures away from home.

We’ve given the apropos ‘jog-off’ to Expedia, tripadvisor  and other like-minded review sites (though we do enjoy virtualtourist).

The vacationers who complain, post pictures of a scrape on the wall, a tad bit of caulk flaking off in a bathroom corner, complaining their hotel’s front desk didn’t speak their native tongue/English well, didn’t kiss their a ss enough at meals, didn’t respond like some type of serf to their myriad of questions, expecting the hotel to contact them (?) regarding nearby and/or construction work for THEIR upcoming stay etc.,

FYI: YOU’RE on holiday.  You may be going to a place in the world where a checklist of expected niceties/ common courtesies are common in your area though alien and not practiced elsewhere.

There are details, customs and possibilities YOU should have researched, double-triple checked before booking/leaving/arriving to EVERY holiday destination.

Nearly ALL hotels, whether booking via expedia-like agencies or through the hotel itself has a 100% refund BEFORE checking-in.

The ‘I wasn’t told/emailed/contacted for..’ faux grievances – here’s some crocodile tears for you and your accompanied ineptness.

Some hotels BOAST of their ‘inadequacies’ – like Amsterdam’s, ‘Hans Brinker’

Admittedly I want to see the place.  Can it really be ‘that bad’?

We do our homework.

Padidd.. err ‘Kijang’!

Happy New Years.  And to those recognizing the upcoming ‘Year of the Dragon’ Happy New Years to you as well.

We in Brunei live amongst a large Chinese population whose New Years is January 23rd.

Slow boat to Brunei

2 New Years celebrations in a matter of weeks, suhweet situation you may say.  Ehhh.

Brunei is near the equator.  Beautiful, wild and much of it pristine.  Not to mention an alcohol-free destination (I know what you’re thinking.  Paul, when you get the shakes/tremors drink some mouthwash.  Drink vanilla extract.  ‘Something brother’!  Ahh but those items are alcohol-free as well.  Brunei’s REALLY covered its bases.. hahaha).

So counting down the ball drop in a peacoat and flask/thermos of Irish coffee or champagne flute in freezing hand(s) is but a memory.

Though 1 of Malaysia’s borders is ~40 minute drive and our friend Dave makes ‘beer runs’ accordingly.

We had a good time on New Years.  Poker, board games at a friend’s house.  Nothing embarrassing.  And you thought I couldn’t/wouldn’t grow up.  Though yes I had my camera.  You know me!

And ‘Yes’ I WILL share any awkward or extremely embarrassing pictures in the future.  Including immediate family and friends in uncomfortable situations.If that person(s) should be mad for my splashing/exploiting/blackmailing etc., their out-of-character image, I quote ‘Animal House’s’ Otter, ‘You fukced up.  You trusted us!  Make the best of it’.

Alright, o.k. on to the subject of this message.

Do you remember/ play the game, ‘Padiddle’?  Of course you do.

It’s an ageless game.  Fun had by all.  Unless those losing ‘their shirt’ in Padiddle is an obese woman or man/hairy man, one with horrible body odor etc.,.  In a sweat-box like Brunei we’ve all fallen victim to the B O monster..

We play a version of Padiddle in Brunei.  We call ours, ‘Kijang’.

Toyota makes the ‘Kijang’.  Apparently in Greek it means, ‘Dependable yet extremely uncomfortable mode of transport’.  No..I’m s hitting ya!

It’s a box-type, 4-door van with double doors on the back.  Lovingly referred to by most Western folk alike as a, ‘S hitbox’, ‘S hit can’ ‘My piece of s hit’ or a woman’s name.  At most times the name of a woman who wouldn’t give us men the time of day but again I’m digressing.

I liken ‘Kijang’ to the horrible sound a missed basketball shot makes when hitting the front, not the top of a basketball rim.

I bet the Kijang would’ve given my Mom’s ’77 Volkswagen Westfalia a run for its money for the, ‘Whose car shakes the most when at/near 50 mph’? competition.

The Kijang doesn’t have the wall-to-wall crushed velvet interior or kidney shaped side windows adorning the classic Chevy ‘Stabbin’ Cabin’ van.

The Stabbin' Cabin.. Right this way ladies

Nope, the Kijang screams ‘Simple’ or ‘Modest’ means.  Usually has a ladder(s) side mounted and 6-8 hungry for work though emaciated and disgruntled looking passengers.  Boredom, starving are apparently strong motivators for work in Brunei too!

My other car..

My other car..

A rare find.. an empty Kijang.  Crikey!

Imagine the # of Camry’s or the Chrysler, faux wood paneled vans circa 1987 dotting the country and you’ll grasp the # of ‘Kijang’s’ and accompanied slaps to the ceiling when spotting ’em first.

Neon green, acid trip Purple, Rusty Red.. there are MANY colors represented on our Kijangs.

Some colors look ‘Custom’, lovingly painted themselves with a hand roller!Hey I’m not poking fun.

I know exactly how it is to have a Kijang-caliber vehicle.

Levity is a rarity in this mortal deity – Donald Blum

During your next round of Padiddle think about your pals in Brunei and raise that roadie on high and proclaim, ‘Kijang’.

It’s me Paul, open the door man. I got the stuff.

Noblemen & noblewomen, marginally so and you not so noble..  G’day.

This is the 1st transmission, pictures and unorthodox, though hopefully enjoyable advice in travel, entertainment and peculiar observations, antidotes.  Where, ‘Is that even legal there’? or ‘I hope Renae has enough bail money to get him out of this one’ comes to mind.

It's cool, officer.  I'm a germaphobe, public bathroom's scare me

It's cool, officer. I'm a germaphobe, public bathroom's scare me

Uhm.. officer let him rot!

Uhm.. officer let him rot!

Sit back, relax and have fun with your friends who change their address as often as a Mississippian makes their trek to the gym or orders tofu themed meals.