PART 3: Back on the road - South East Asia.
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, July 30, 2010
My first full day in Brunei. The capitol, Bandar Seri Begawan, is a quiet place. It is small enough to explore on foot. Thanks to oil, Brunei is one of the smallest yet richest countries in the world. This wealth doesn't show as one would expect though. It is a pretty low key city considering it's status.
One reason why it's so quiet is the ban on selling and using alcohol. I haven't seen any bars, but there must be dancing places if you'd look around. People are friendly here and life seems to be just normal. Definitely, it would be a good place if you need to work on something without distractions.
Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. The Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is in the center of the city. It sits on an artificial lake. Many events happen in the streets surrounding this mosque. I happen to arrive in Bandar during the celebrations of the Sultan's birthday, and witnessed taking down the national flag at the end of it. The Sultan was not present.
Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. With the palms around it, the mosque makes a pretty picture. Unfortunately, it is basically just a white structure without any art. Maybe that's the way they wanted it.
Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. Another view of the Omar Ali Saifuddien mosque. The boat does not sail - it's made from concrete and I think it serves as a place for some official gatherings.
Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan. Brunei is a Muslim country. You will see people dressed in their traditional clothes when visiting the mosque. People usually show the women, so here are the man.
Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. One of the main streets. My hostel was on this street, and it's 5 minutes from the center. It was a youth hostel run by the government. The cost of a bed in a four bed dorm 10 Brunei dollars. It was all right, except (and this surprised me) that it need someone to maintain it and fix all the not working plugs, toilets and faucets. The place is always open, but most of the time there is nobody at the reception. Still, the rooms and beds are clean and it's a good value for the money. The bus station is withing a short walking distance. bandar has canals where water taxis pick up people and take them to the other side of the river. Following this road in this direction is the bus station, the market and an area where they serve delicios satay.
Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. One of the main streets.
Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. Another street, also around the center.
Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. I arrived during the celebrations of the Sultan's birthday, and all the streets had decorations.
Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. More display of the greatness of the Sultan. Apparently he makes about 5 million dollars an hour. Well, until the oil lasts anyway. I don't think he will go broke after it runs out, even with his three wives.
Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. The above clock at night. Quite striking. Had a blast photographing it, playing with the camera settings.
Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. Another lit up street.
Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. The last night of the week long Sultan's birthday celebrations. Food stalls on the streets around the central mosque woluld be nothing without the always present grills with satay, chiken wings, hot dogs, chicken butts and fish. Always smoking and ready to serve :) The food, the people, and the smoke - it's all about the atmosphere and action. Admire my camera work! haha!! :)
Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. More food stalls.
Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. Strawberry, soy, blueberry, orange - whatever color and taste you imagine they probably have it...
Photo: ...and some more food with it.
Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. All under the lights of the mosque.
Photo: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. The Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque at night.
My life has always been about freedom and I shall continue to walk this path.
Safe travels ! ........... Stan
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