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Charge more for life jackets, and life jackets we shall use.

Summer Vacation 2008 - More from Brunei

sunny 33 °C
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Our last day in Brunei. It was time to see the last few sites in BSB.

We woke up around our usual time and got ready. We also ate breakfast in our room. We learned from yesterday and bought our own food. At this point we headed back out into BSB. The first stop being the Coffee Bean for a morning pick me up.

Here are some shots from around BSB.

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This was in the intersection. There was a clock face on each side. Each clock displayed a different time. Not sure if the times were of significance, or if some of the sides were just busted.

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It's me.

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This is the sultan's polo field. Well, we think it's a polo field.

Then we went on the hunt for the “tourist information office”. We thought it was in the post office, but it turns out it moved. The security guard gave us a map to the new location which I somehow managed to throw out before we actually made it to the place. Needless to say, our nav skills were on and we found it. Word to other travelers: the tourist information office in BSB isn't really a tourist information office. It's a tour operator who also gives out free pamphlets. If you know this going in you're fine. If not, it could be a surprise.

The lady there wanted us to go on a monkey watching tour and a 4 hour boat tour. We made sure it was a 4 hour tour and not a “3 hour tour”. But we turned it down anyways. We figured we could organize our own tour later on. We politely excused ourselves and meandered on our way.

We went down to the waterfront to find a water taxi to take us on the tour of the water village. But there were a lot of guys there all yelling at us and I had to go to the bathroom. See the previous paragraph regarding the Coffee Bean. We went into the mall where we ate lunch yesterday and found a bathroom.

Court hadn't been feeling good most of the morning and at this point she realized she was out of medication from the last doctor and she wasn't feeling better. It was off to find another doctor. Luckily there was a clinic in the mall and they weren't busy. Court was in and out of there within 20 minutes with some new pills.

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The Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is near the center of town. It is pretty big, but it is not the biggest in BSB.

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It is closed to non-Muslim visitors on Thursdays but we heard that it may be open on Fridays. We went to check this out. Luckily it was open to non-Muslim visitors on Fridays, but unluckily not at the time we were there (it opens for only a half-hour, 16:30-17:00, in the afternoon). We would have to come back later on. We did wander around the grounds for a bit. The mosque has a "lagoon” with a boat in it. The boat couldn't go anywhere and we couldn't go out on it either.

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At this point it was getting hot. We got some grub and went back to the hotel for Court to rest and to get out of the heat.

It turns out we both fell asleep. We got our stuff pulled together in time to go to the mosque. However on the way to the mosque we realized we didn't have enough money to pay for the ferry tomorrow and most of the shops closed at 5:00 pm; the same time visiting hours for the mosque finished. I quickly ran to the money change shop and exchanged enough money to get us through the next day. Then I ran over and met Court at the mosque.

You can hear the call to prayer from anywhere in town. We heard the call to prayer as we were walking around town around lunchtime. Everyone takes a break at prayertime, even the bus drivers.

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Before we went in the mosque we had to remove our shoes, which is the common practice. Then just as we entered there were two men there asking people to sign the guest book and giving everyone robes to wear as they looked around the mosque. Court was smart enough to bring a scarf to cover her head. The men at the mosque did say she looked very beautiful wearing the head scarf. I think they were very appreciative that she wore it.

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We weren't allowed to take any pictures inside the mosque. But it was gorgeous. The carpet that was in the mosque was very intricate and beautiful. They inside of the dome was full of stained glass laid out in an exquisite pattern. And everything else was immaculate. I really enjoyed the ability to enter and look around the mosque. Afterwards we talked briefly to the men there and asked some simple questions about prayer time.

This is the mosque around sunset.

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Once we left the mosque we went back down to the waterfront to take a water taxi tour. We ran into one guy who eventually talked us into going on a ride with him. His big selling points were that he would go with us to tell us what we could see and that they life jackets for us to wear. We settled on the price and got in the boat. Then we asked for the life jackets. I think he was kind of surprised that we asked for them. Our theory was if he charged a premium because he had life jackets we were damn well going to use them.

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Over 20,000 people live in the water villages. There are approximately 14 separate water villages. There were a lot more but some have been destroyed by fires. When there is a fire the government gives the family money to rebuild their house on land. I think the government wants to reduce the water villages. In the villages there are lots and lots of schools, we saw a fire department and a police department. They also have power stations and pipes running fresh water out to the houses.

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We also took a quick swing near the sultan's palace. We couldn't get very close to it.

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It's not regularly open for visitors. The sultan does open his palace to meet the people once a year after Ramadan. This is usually sometime in October. One of our taxi drivers said he went in and it was absolutely amazing. The sultan's palace has over 1000 rooms. We also saw the sultan's son's palace, complete with over 100 rooms. It was also quite ridiculous.

At this point the boat driver tried to convince us to go see the proboscis monkeys. We asked if it was included in our agreed on price. It came as no big surprise that it was not. We decided not to go and they took us back to town.

Afterwards we started to make our way back towards our hotel for dinner. There was a night market across the street from our hotel. We strolled over to check it out and settled on some fried rice and fried noodles. All for the price of $2. It was a great meal to end the day.

Because of our early planned start for the next day we had to head back to the hotel to pack while obviously watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Except we had some poor New Zealander doing the commentary. It's like they picked some random guy and told him to make some comment about each country as they come out. But, they weren't very informative and they were usually kind of negative. “Oh, this is their 4th Olympics and they are still looking for their first medal.” It was still exciting to see the Canadian team; Court was looking to see if she could spot one of her schoolmates from Harvey. We were kind of disappointed that the Brunei team didn't register any athletes and aren't participating in the Olympics.

Tomorrow's an early start and a day of travel back to Malaysia.

Posted by agc_cwm 19:01 Archived in Brunei

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