Whether you’re here to dance the night away in an exclusive nightclub, discover a new favorite artist in one of the many museums, or sample your way through Bulari’s incredible food scene, this once-ignored city has something for everyone.
(Bulari Saga art by Dusty Crosley.)
Welcome to Bulari! These days, the capital city of New Sarjun has thoroughly transcended its reputation as a hardscrabble mining outpost to become a hotbed of culture and cuisine. You don’t have to look too hard to see the roots, however. Scraping out a city this impressive in a climate so harsh was no small feat, and the citizens of Bulari are understandably proud.
It’s a city of many contradictions, and travelers with an adventurous spirit are sure to find a thrill in the myriad of experiences available. Whether touring the stunning natural desert landscape, shopping your way through the Tamarind, or rubbing elbows with celebrities at one of many exclusive restaurants, Bulari has plenty to offer.
When to go and weather
Prized for its mineral-rich hills rather than its climate, the Bulari Valley varies from uncomfortably warm to soul-meltingly hot. For that reason, most tourists visit sometime between the first of the fall thunderstorms and the last of the spring desert bloom. If you have time, escape the heat with a romantic getaway to the southern New Sarjunian town of Alusina for a weekend of wine tasting, art galleries, and river cruises.
Neighborhoods: Central Bulari
Surrounding a lush swath of park blocks just east of the downtown core, the Tamarind is a paradise for shopping, dining, and people watching. The towering eucalyptus, oak, fan palm, and tree aloe ward off the worst of Bulari’s heat, creating a pleasant place to while away the afternoon with a cup of tea or a glass of Alusinian cinsuat in one of the many parkside cafes. Most of the better hotels, such as the Blue Falcon, are located in this neighborhood, as well.
The business heart of Bulari, the downtown area is clean, crisp, and cutting edge. Expect a well-heeled crowd of young professionals on their way to the top of the corporate ladder, with plenty of sophisticated dining options to impress potential clients. The neighborhood quiets down in the evenings as the night life fires up in the Tamarind.
New Sarjun’s seat of power is also home to many of Bulari’s most interesting museums. Stroll the People’s Plaza for a good example at the early colonial architecture typical to the city, and be sure to visit National Museum for an in-depth exploration of the city’s history. Visitors are also welcome inside the lobby of the capitol building, where impressive columns showcase the famed local sandstone and rose salt. The international embassies are all here, too, if you run into any issues.
University of Bulari
This gorgeous Hypatia Educational Facilities Corporation campus is just up the bluff from downtown, and offers a beautiful view out over the city. The University’s biology programs are particularly well-known, and plant lovers will delight in a stroll through the campus’s botanical garden to explore the extensive collection of local flora.
Neighborhoods: North Bulari
A trip to Bulari isn’t complete without a visit to the spectacular Casino District. Try your luck on the develier tables at the venerable Orveto’s Thousands, or sit in on a game of mystix at the newest jewel of the drag, the Lorelei. After dinner at one of the many exquisite restaurants, catch a show at Ayisha’s Palace. The gorgeous music venue’s namesake, Ayisha Amadule performs regularly and puts on an incredible show. Top off the night with a cocktail at the exclusive Devil’s Table before retiring to your high-rise hotel room at the Aterciopelado to admire the view of downtown Bulari.
Geordi Jimenez Space Terminal
While you may be tempted to spend as little time as possible transiting the space terminal, it’s worth a second look. This busy hub is more than a transit center, it’s the lifeline of New Sarjun, and a great spot for people watching. If you find yourself with some extra time before your shuttle off-planet, catch a bite to eat on Levels A or B. The kitsch travel themed watering hole Le Comptoir Darna in particular is worth a stop. And if you need a last-minute gift (or a quick prosthetic repair), you’ll find something unique at a little repair shop called Hallelujah It’s Fixed run by the charming Hallelujah Oni.
Travel advisory: While Levels A and B are perfectly safe, it’s best to leave the terminal’s Level C to the locals.
There’s not currently much of note in Jet Park, but rumors have it the space terminal’s nearest neighborhood is on its way up. There have been some significant investments lately from local business owners, including the gentech-focused Juvex Spa Center, and a brewery venture backed by the controversial owner of the Jungle, Willem Jaantzen
Neighborhoods: The Fingers
Travel advisory: It’s best not to visit the Fingers without a local guide.
This formerly working class neighborhood has been in steep decline over the last few decades as violence between local gangs made the neighborhood quite dangerous. Bottom line, avoid Dry Creek.
Once a wealthy settlement in its own right, Altamira’s fortunes were reversed after being swallowed up by Bulari proper a little over a century ago. Now, Altamira is one of the nicest of Bulari’s Finger slums, in part due to the iron rule of a local criminal organization led by one of recent memory’s most infamous Bulari citizens, Thala Coeur. The street gang boss turned former mayor continued running the neighborhood from exile, and is rumored to have retaken her throne. Altamira is safe enough if you have an escort.
The smallest of Bulari’s Finger ravines spilled out long ago to create the largest of the town’s slums, spreading into the plain south of Bulari’s downtown. Carama Town is a largely working class neighborhood where new immigrants tend to cluster in regionally-influenced micro-neighborhoods that each have their own flavor. If you have time to kill and a good driver to guide you, a trip through Carama Town’s famous traffic can be a thrill.
Of course, most tourists don’t go any farther than Anjali Lumaban Boulevard, a stunning monument to one of the city’s founders. On weekends, you’ll find a vibrant farmer’s market in the plaza, a good place to buy souvenirs and taste the local street food. And don’t miss the various culture and music festivals held throughout the year.
Where to eat
Bulari is a city of immigrants, and they’ve all brought their most impressive recipes. No matter your favorite dish back home, you’re sure to find a restaurant in Bulari that makes it better.
Topping every epicurean traveler’s must-visit list, the Jungle’s reputation is certainly fueled by the notoriety of its owner, Willem Jaantzen. However, the dining experience lives up to the hype. There are no bad tables at the Jungle! Incredible living foliage creates a private retreat at every table, and exquisite white-glove table service makes every guest feel like royalty. Only the luckiest guests can secure an invitation to the exclusive Golden Orchid room in the back of the restaurant, where Bulari’s elite conduct business over chic cocktails and appetizers.
Be sure to make your reservation well ahead of time, or prepare to wait for hours for a seat at the bar.
Jade’s Finest Coffee and Chicken
At first glance this hole-in-the-wall downtown diner may not look like much, but don’t be fooled. You may not see anyone sitting at the tables, but Jade’s does a brisk business in takeaway — it’s a local favorite both for residents and business people on their lunch break. Don’t miss the chicken in black bean sauce!
The Oasis is the best place in Bulari to try the city’s most famous local dish, korris. Any of the dishes on the menu will delight, but if you’re in a group, do yourself a favor and let the owner, Ajesh Paiman, choose a feast for you. Oh, and if you believe the rumors, the Oasis is also the place to catch a glimpse of some of the biggest players in Bulari’s seedy underbelly. Be warned that the korris here is spiced for locals, not tourists, so ask for a milder version if you’re not accustomed to New Sarjunian heat.
The Devil’s Table
Buy-ins at the high roller’s tables here may cost as much as your shuttle ticket back into orbit, but anyone can enjoy a cocktail or dinner at the bar. Be aware that the dress code is strictly enforced, but even if you didn’t bring evening wear it’s worth a shopping spree in the Tamarind for a glimpse inside this exclusive experience and a chance to set eyes on the proprietor. One of Bulari’s rising darlings, Phaera D also owns the Lorelei Casino and has been scandalizing the press lately with rumors that she’s stepping out with the notorious Willem Jaantzen.
Lucky’s Palladium Coast
If you need to get away from the always-on energy of the Casino District, Lucky’s is the place to go. A few blocks off the main drag, patrons don’t visit Lucky’s for the food so much as the camaraderie. It’s a great place to drink with the locals! Sit at the bar and you’re just as likely to run into a great gambling legend as an off-duty dealer. Keep an eye out, and you might just spot some of the most powerful names in the casino business doing business over mediocre noodles.
Curious to visit Bulari yourself? Pick up Double Edged — the first book of the Bulari Saga — and immerse yourself in the adventure today.