*I will be using pseudo-names for the privacy of the people I met in Brunei*
My cellphone alarm started screaming at me around 6am. I still can’t believe I am in Brunei crashing my first ever foreign couch. Although I am still terribly sleepy after a midnight flight, I really need to get up. I don’t want to look like a lazy head in front of Angel (my host) and her flat-mates which are all couchsurfers.
The moment I woke up, I took a cold shower and dressed up for travel. I only have a day to explore the country so I need to maximize my time. After a couple of minutes, a German guy went out of his room. It feels awkward at first because I am not sure if Angel told them that she’ll be hosting a couchsurfer for the night. What am I going to say? Do they know I am here? Are they expecting me too? But the ice was broken so quickly as Christian smiled at me and introduced himself.
“Hey! You must be Darby. I am Christian.”
“Hello Christian. Nice to meet you. I’m sorry for crashing your couch”
“No problem! I am a couchsurfer myself. Just feel at home and pretend that everything here is yours” he said while slicing a German bread and spreading jam on it.
“That’s awesome. So, what are you doing in Brunei?”
“I am studying Islamic Studies”
“Wow. So are you a Muslim?
“No. But it is very relevant for me since there are lots of Muslims in Germany”
“I see. So how long have you been here in Brunei?”
“6 months. You want some bread?”
“No. I am all set”, I lied. I am hungry that moment.
“Actually, I stayed in the Philippines for quite some time”, he said while munching his breakfast.
“Yes. I stayed in Samar but that was before the great typhoon. I volunteered there. The typhoon was terrible!”
“It is terrible. The rehabilitation is till on going. Unfortunately I haven’t been in that part of Visayas. I’d love to volunteer someday”
“Yes you should. There are loads of volunteer opportunities there, be it long term or short term.”
While we were talking, another guy went out of his room. I said hi, shook his hands and introduced myself. But the guy is still rubbing his eyes, still having a sleep hangover or probably hallucinating after a long sleep. You know those days.
“What are you doing here?” he asked with a bit of confusion. Then he realized I am Angel’s couchsurfer. “Oh I am sorry. I thought you are my other friend. You really look like him. I am Amir.”
“Its ok Amir! Your couch is awesome”, I said.
“Darby, Angel have work today. She cant take you around. Fortunately, today is my day off so I can drive you around the city”, Amir said.
“You are in good hands, Darby” said Christian.
“Oh stop it Chris!” Amir said while trying to kick Christian.
“Oh by the way, I am not bringing an extra pants, is it ok if I enter the mosques with my shorts?”, I asked.
“Ooops. I’m sorry. You cant. You have a tattoo on your ankle”,said Amir while thinking a way on how to go about it. Amir is Muslim.
“I have a Pajama though”, I said. Both of the guys laughed. I wondered why. In fact, I have brought a Pajama in order for me to travel comfortably.
“Aha! I have an idea”, Chris said while running to his room. After a couple of seconds, he was bringing a pair of pants and a belt. “Here. You can use this for today”
“This is awesome Chris!”, I said. I am a bit worried at first because my legs are too small for a German guy’s pants. But I am glad it was a perfect fit. I still consider it a mystery.
After the stress about the shorts, pajamas and pants, Amir excused himself for a shower while Chris went to his room to finish his breakfast. I went back to the couch and prepared myself for my travel with Amir.