First Impressions of 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.

6 thoughts on “First Impressions of Brunei”

  1. Many years ago I used to have a specialised compass that came with a list of world cities and bearing – set the dial according to the number of beside the city you were in, make the needle line up with the markings and you were facing Mecca. Nowadays there are devices that do much the same thing, but use a GPS to figure out where they are.

    I once sat down and used a globe and atlas to figure out how it worked, and it used great circle.

  2. I welcome you to Brunei too. I’m really hoping you will enjoy your stay here. If you need some guide into what to do in Brunei, you might wanna see this independent Visit Brunei blog written by a bunch of local bloggers. There’s also an extensive Bruneian Blog Directory here if you want to see/read how diverse the Bruneian community is.

  3. I am glad that you are enjoying Brunei. I must say that the country is very laid back and slow moving. It is also kinda sleepy really. I am looking forward to your entries on Brunei. :)

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