Tuesday, December 6, 1994


We moved to Brunei for the first time when I was about 6. I remember a little, our house and the big coconut trees in the garden and the sea only a few houses down, over the sea wall. You could play spot the monkey as you went down the road, as they loved to sit on the pipelines on the verges. We went back when I was 15 and the monkeys were still there, well probably not the same actually monkeys. Where we lived was a few hours drive south of the capital Bandar and close to the border with Sarawak. But it was inland - up the Labi Road - where I remember there being pitcher plants. This road led into the interior - thick with primary forest. If you went far enough the tarmac ran out and if you were unlucky enough to be there after the rain it was rather slippery. There was a sandy river bed and I loved the little pitchers that lived there - they seemed to live in small villages in the sand, I could image gnomes coming out of them. These, I have found out from Dad's careful cataloguing, are Nepenthes gracilis.

There was another wonder on the Labi Road - the Labi Hilton. Purveyors of fine food - many a time we would sit in the corrugated iron roofed hut tucking into mee goreng (fried noodles with green vegetables and spring onions) and slurping limon - a drink made with crushed local limes and sugar, often with a bit of added protein from the ants that had been stealing the sugar.