First Impressions of Brunei

Posted: December 29, 2007    Categories: Asia, Brunei

I just arrived in Brunei. No internet at my hotel, but there is an internet cafe in the building. The kids here are like the ones I’ve seen everywhere: playing Warcraft, listening to music and reading celebrity gossip.

Here are my first thoughts:

  • The female flight attendants on my flight didn’t wear a normal chadori. They had what I could only describe as a nuns habit. It looked like what Katherine Hepburn wore in The Lion in Winter. It was actually very elegant. They looked very graceful in it.
  • In addition to the normal GPS position of the flight on a map, they also had peridoic directions to Mecca in reference to the direction of the plane. (Anyone out there know if you face Mecca via the great circle route or via a linear projection on a map? This is a serious question. I’m sure this has been given a great deal of thought)
  • Prior to the take off, they said a prayer in, what I can only guess, was Arabic. The English translation, but for the references to Allah and Mohammad, could have been a Catholic prayer. The length of the prayer was about two minutes.
  • Brunei is very clean. Everything looks very developed. It is also dark so I reserve the right to change my mind.
  • Malay is the official language, but there are a lot of signs in Arabic and English. Everyone has spoke English I’ve met so far.
  • I got the feel I was landing in one of the Pacific Islands at the airport. Brunei is a small country and has a very similar vibe.

I’m going to take a bath for the first time in a month. I’m sure I’ll have more tomorrow. No Internet in my room will probably make me more productive.

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