Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fat and Sassy in Brunei

The couple of day stop in Brunei was a very interesting experience. We wee treated like the Sultan himself by the good people at Good Miles tours. Girlclumsy had talked them at 4BC when they came to promote Brunei a few weeks ago and they gave us the 'inspection tour'. This meant they pretended we were travel agents coming from overseas to check out their operation. In short this meant we went on tours to a water village, saw iguana and proboscus monkeys and are entirely for free! We felt like class traitors! GC and I see ourselves as rather daring backpackers poking our noses into the world's nook and crannies. In Brunei we became fat and sassy overlords being carted around in airconditioned comfort... and yes I could become use to it ;).

Brunei relies 95% on it's oil production and sales. It is a very rich nation. The sultan is one of the richest people in the world but unlike most rich rulers he does give a lot back to his people. Free education, health care, electricity, water, low interest loans for houses.. the list goes on. This guy is what i could call a Benevolent Dictator. Look, it isn't all bells and whistles but it is pretty good for the people in this country. Crime is incredibly low here.. and it isn't because of draconian laws and punishments.. as if that works anyway. It is because the people do not have to worry about whether they have a place to sleep and food to eat. If you have the basics for survival you don't need to rob some pasty white tourist. Something for our 'Screw-you-Jack-I'm-alright' mentality to think about.

The most amazing sight was the '29th' Mosque. Built by the current sultan (The 29th sultan of the one family since the 1300's) it is the second biggest mosque in the world.

Unlike Morocco, we were allowed to entire this mosque. It was a beautiful testament to the architectural cleverness of human beings. (heh.. if that isn't a comment from an atheist i don't know what is).

I can really really recommend Brunei as a day (or two day) stop when travelling from Australia. It reminds of Dubai before it went uber western. It is safe and moderately muslim. They don't care who you worship. In fact, while i was here I was offered alcohol by our hosts because 'Australians are big drinkers'... I was also offered 'other services' but I will say no more as this is a family rated site.

If you want to see other photos and videos of Brunei have a squiz at GirlClumsy's Blog.

The trip to London was easy. You sit, you watch movies, you eat, you sleep, you eat, you watch movies.. rinse and repeat.

We meet my sister and her husband today. Tomorrow it is off to Croatia!

Before I go I do have some sad news. Cassandra Puddleduck is no longer with us. Cassie was the family Irish Wolfhound who faithfully served our family for over a decade. She was gentle, kind and loving. A true lady. Her nick name was "Eileen' because she loved to lean against you.. and when a 60 kg Irish Wolfhound decides to lean on your leg you know about it. She was diagnosed with liver cancer 15 months ago and was given 1-3 months to live. She beat the odds for so long and was happy and healthy until a few days before she died. If you knew her then you know what a wonderful hound she was. I wish I had a picture I could put up here but I don't have any on the laptop. There is a movie called "The Truth about Cats and Dogs". I have no idea what the movie is about but someone once told me the truth about cats and dogs is that they die. I don't agree. I think the truth about cats and dogs is that they lived.


Here is a picture of the lovely Cassie. More human than most humans I know. I will be forever a part of her pack


Anonymous said...

Hey Wah.
Fat and sassy in Brunei? Good stuff.
Sorry to hear about Cassie.

Sleepydumpling said...

Sorry to hear about Cassie. Not what you wanted to hear while on your trip I am quite sure.

Anonymous said...

You made me cry with your lovely comments..from your everloving Mumx