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Summer Vacation 2008 - BSB, the Sultan and Doctors

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View Summer vacation 2008 - The return to Malaysia on agc_cwm's travel map.

Welcome to Brunei. Who goes to Brunei? As it turns out, we do.

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We woke us this morning and went for breakfast. We weren't sure if breakfast was included in our room or not. But we went out anyways. After we finished breakfast we learned that it wasn't included in our room. Which is fine because it wasn't worth the price we paid and we can skip it for the next few days.

We looked at the map that we had and decided we'd make our way into the main area of BSB (Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei) . Our hotel was a little out of the way. We thought it was going to take longer to walk downtown, but it took about 10 minutes. Then in another 3 minutes we were back out of downtown, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

First we had to stop and exchange some money. We checked out the HSBC but their fees were ridiculous. We found a little money exchange who gave us a much better rate. Then we started to wander.

There isn't a whole lot in “downtown” BSB. We saw a few coffee shops, some jewelery stores and other stores. BSB is relatively small city in SE Asia terms, there are about 230,00 people, so a little smaller than Halifax. Needless to say, it didn't take us long to walk around the downtown area.

Once we finished downtown it was getting hot. We decided to go to the Royal Regalia Museum. We wanted to see how the Sultan lives. But, this museum wasn't about how he lives. It was about the ceremony around his coronation and his silver jubilee. All I can say is WOW! I'm not sure if the stuff in the museum was really really cool or a total waste of money. The jury is still out. We couldn't take pictures in the museum. This is me outside the museum.

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There were rooms and rooms displaying gifts that the Sultan received from dignitaries and heads of states. Some of them were absolutely crazy. There were lots of ceremonial daggers and swords. Tea sets, mother of pearl inlays from Vietnam, a table top replica of Ankor Wat from Cambodia, a gold desk set from the Saudia government. It just went on and on.

Then we found the room displaying everything from his Silver jublee in 1992. He had this huge chariot / parade float that was pushed by at least 100 people who were all dressed in ceremonial robes complete with sword and spear. The chairs that he had at his dinner had gold on them. It just kept going. If only I was the richest or one of the richest men in the world. Then I could do this too. Plus, the museum was free. We did decide it was better that he had this museum instead of having everything tucked away in his garage or garages.

We left the museum a little bit before we finished because it was close to lunch time. We headed back down to a mall to check out the food court. I got fried rice with chicken (Nasi Goreng) and Court got a noodle dish with chicken (Mee Goreng). They were both great. They had a TV showing some dramas or something in the food court. I did see an excellent “wear a motorcycle helmet” ad. They showed this guy on a bike weaving in and out of traffic then they showed a car backing out of a driveway. There was a quick cut back to the guy on the bike with a worried face, then a cut back to the front tire of the bike hitting the car. Then they cut to a watermelon being thrown and smashing open on the cement. Then it faded out and I assume it said wear a helmet. But, I couldn't read it.

There was a good supermarket in this mall. We decided to head there to get breakfast food for tomorrow. I was helping Court shop until I had to run off. Let me put it this way, if I was in Mexico, Montezuma would be getting his revenge. I had to quickly find a bathroom and then it was back to shopping. Brunei is a very Islamic country, who of course don't eat pork and eat Halal food. We were wandering around for a while and found in the back corner completely tucked away and blocked off by the rice, the pork. Or at least the canned meat, e.g. Spam. It was pretty funny that it was hidden from everyone. We also found a great selection of prunes and sausage.

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We also found some durians in their shells. They are extremely spiky and sharp.

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We purchased our food and made our way back to our hotel to get out of the heat and relax. I had a quick nap and woke up feeling worse, Delhi Belly and a bit of fever. I decided to hit a doctor. We've been to a doctor in four other countries so we should keep increasing that number! A worker from our hotel drove us out to the mall to a clinic. We passed this Mosque along the way.

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The clinic was kind of hard to find. We eventually found it and got dropped off at 5:01. The clinic closed at 5:00. But, don't worry it opened again at 7:00. They closed for a couple hours for prayer time. This was fine for us. We had time to go get some dinner. A nice pizza from Pizza Hut! We hoped some “normal” food may help my stomach. I think it kind of did.

We finished dinner around 6:00 and still had lots o f time to kill. We wandered around and decided to do what the Brunei people normally do. We went to the Arcade. We played a Jungle Cruise game where you get attacked by crazy mutated animals and have to shoot them all. There were no pinball games for Court to play. She was kind of disappointed by this.

The clinic opened again at 7:00 and we decided that we'd go over early and line up before everyone else got there. This was a great idea. The doors opened at 7:00 and by 7:15 the waiting room was full. There was a large family (or families) waiting as well. They had three little girls (~10, ~5 ,~1) with them. When they first came in one of the mothers shushed the 5 year old. Then for the next 10 minutes she went around shushing everyone. We didn't want to get in trouble with the little girl so we kept nice and quiet. I got in to see the doctor, got my meds and we were out of there by 8:00.

We took the 01 bus back to our hotel. We realized that it doesn't really have a route it just kid of drives were the people on the bus want to go. It didn't really matter, we got back to our hotel. Tomorrow we have plans to go check out the Sultan's palace and a couple large Mosques. It should be very interesting.

Posted by agc_cwm 22:40 Archived in Brunei

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