Friday, September 25, 2009

Brunei: Opulant Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB)

BSB was another beautiful relaxed place to visit for a few days. I ate, I took in the sights, made friends, and found the local Wifi at the Coffee Bean. It was a great time!

I also hit the beauty parlour where I was massaged, had my toenails coiffed and painted a bright red, and my underarms were waxed. The beauticians kept calling them 'armpits' having no idea that women in the West think that word is a bit too vulgar sounding, nonetheless, they were very comforting and wayyy cute. They were amazed at how soft and white my 'armpits' were.

Asian women are hilarious and obsessed with whitening products, even deodorants have it. Funny thing is, many men (the whitening product conversation is very common as it is hard to ignored all the products and adverts) always tell me, "We don't get it either, the underarms is the last place we look!" It is also funny to see the Loreal adverts with Beyonce where they have completely lightened her complexion. You only know it is her, because you regconize the ads from the states.

One thing that I missed was the Sultan's Palace, Istana Nurul Iman. The Istana is open to the public only at the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. I was there during Hari Raya (the celebration day when Ramadan finishes). The Sultan and his wife greet their guests, serve celebration food, and hand out presents. Thanks! swine flu!!!!! All this way from Texas, and no Sultan!

Gosh, this mosque gives the Vatican City a run for its $ (or shall I say gold bars)

with my sweet local host, Chan, who showed me around for a day, and I'm very grateful

The best crash pad in BSB: Empire Hotel and Country Club

with its very own human made lagoon & beach

feels pretty natural

Infinity for sure!

ahh, I love it here!

Brunei's own Ambuyat. Sago (a product of Rumbia trees) mixed with water to create this tasteless, glue paste consistency, gooey local eat! Bon Appetit!

with Ambuyat as a local delicacy you are sure to find eats from nearby countries all over BSB. Singapore rice with black pepper chicken

and, Thai Seafood Tom Yum (the best I've tasted so far, even in Thailand) and many Indian restaurants serving biryani & curries. There is even a local KFC, Ayamku Resturant, which is sooo good! Love ayam goreng!

Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque
It stands close to the Sungai Brunei in its own artificial lagoon and is the tallest building in BSB. It can be seen just about from anywhere in BSB. The boat is a stone replica of the royal ceremonial barges used in the 16th century.

Jame'Asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque

6 22kt (pure not plated) Gold domes

22kt Chandalier!

Palatial entrance and an escalator at a Mosque?! Gotta love the Sultan!

Mosque at night

Kampung Ayer (Water Village with houses built on stilts, pop 32,000)

Water Taxi (B$ .50 each way)

You arrive and depart by boat

View of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

Most houses come equipped with satellite tele, A/C, electricity, internet, indoor plumbing, and there is a car park for those who own a car.

Police Station

Zzz's: BSB. Pusat Belia B$ 20 for 2 nights & 2 days gratis

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