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Tamarra’s Travel Diary

Friday, 20 Oct 2006

Location: Banadar Seri Begawan, Brunei

MapWelcome to Brunei! Salamat Datang (welcome)! I have picked up about 20 words of Indonesain/Malaysian. The language between the two countries is almost the same give or take a word here or there. However, I rarely use the language. The journey to Brunei was an adventure, five buses and a one minute boat ride and five hours later we were in the capital of Brunei. The place is very clean but not nearly as lavish as I expected. The great mosque however is more than impressive. 30,000 people live in houses on the water built up on slilts which is interesting. Small motor boats zoom (really zoom) back and forth from the main land to the floating homes. We went on an hour tour today of the area. It has a number of floating schools, mosques, police station, fire department (funny on the water but last year an entire section of homes burned down!), and a gas station (Shell). Pretty interesting. Brunei is much more costly than Malaysia, but it is interesting. They have amazing malls. The people here are VERY religious Muslims and therefore drinking and night clubs are out, but shopping is fair game (are you moving mom?!) The malls are air conditioned and it is a great way to escape the oppressive heat. Really will I ever get use to it?! We are staying at a youth hostel that is more like a YMCA (I have been singing the song non stop since we arrived) It has a pool and gym and dorm rooms. The only bummer is that all the facilities are closed during Ramadan. So here is this olympic size pool , clean and beautiful within arms reach and 100 degrees and humid out and all I want to do is jump in! BOO HOO! So close to relief yet so far! Tomorrow we are going back to Malaysia. Borneo Malaysia is broken into two distinct pieces Sarawak and Sabah. Each have there own government and customs seperate from Peninsula Malaysia. Tomorrow we head to Sabah by boat. It will take about 6 hours! Hope the weather is good! Chat soon. Love, Tamarra