Spicy notes from a journey.
Bitácora: or more precisely, cuaderno de bitácora, is the log book in which sailors write down atmospheric and astronomical observations, as well as any notes worth mentioning about the journey.
Curry: a mixture of spices.
Bitácora + Curry = Bitácurry
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Life Above Water
Opposite the opulent mosques of Brunei’s
capital city Bandar Seri Begawan lays the picturesque Kampong Ayer, the Water
Village.Almost 40,000 people,
roughly 10% of the population of this small country, live in these wooden
houses on stilts above the Brunei River.Most cross the river everyday for work, shopping or just enjoying the
life of the quiet capital.Along
with fellow traveler Arnab, a joyful Indian/American, we pay half a Brunei
Dollar to go across the river and get a first hand look at what European
explorers of the 16th century dubbed “the Venice of the East”.
Once across the river and after visiting
the tourism center where we got “I Heart Brunei” pins we venture through the
wooden walkways to explore.Our
official welcoming committee is a young couple eager to say hello to our
lenses.After snapping a few
pictures and sharing many laughs as they see themselves in the LCD screens of
our cameras we move along absorbing the laid back vibe.Signs of the modern world, satellite TV
antennas, air-conditioning units, now adorn many of the houses.Even as modernity creeps in, a sense of
a more simple life permeates the air.The sounds of clattering wooden slats filled with the excitement of the
end of a school day reverberate.The smell of the day’s catch infuses the air.Signs of everyday life hover above the water.
We return to firm ground but luckily I
bring back some of their smile.Enjoy!