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Still in Brunei. The internet here seems…..slow. Perhaps I got spoiled in East Asia. There are two internet cafes I’ve found, both of which take like a minute to pull up Gmail. I don’t foresee uploading photos until I can get a faster connection.
I’ve also developed diarrhea and a rash on the bottom of both of my legs. Nothing really serious, but not pleasant either. The public toilets here don’t have toilet paper, they have a hose on the left hand side you are supposed to use like a bidet. Not the greatest conditions to learn how to use one, but hey, I’m a survivor.
Yesterday I took a tour of the greater Bandar Seri Begawan area, which took all of two hours. I saw the house where the Sultan was born (small), the house where he lives now (BIG), the royal artifacts, and the two primary mosques in the city.
Brunei is a pretty unique place. I think that is putting it lightly. The closest I’ve seen on my trip so far has been Tonga, which has had a somewhat similar recent history to Brunei.
I’m off to take some photos of the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, which is the thing you always see in every promotional photo of Brunei. It is a short walk from my hotel, so I’ll be going there tonight as well for some night shots. They have scaffolding on the mosque so night photos might be better. (I don’t know why, but I’ve had really bad luck running into buildings being restored.)
My current plan is to take a bus tomorrow to to Miri, Malaysia in Sarawak and take a short flight to the Gunung Mulu National Park then go to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah and visit Kinabalu National Park. From there I’ll probably fly to Jakarta and work my way overland through Java to Bali and Komodo National Park (home of the Komodo Dragons). Then back to Bali for a short flight to East Timor where I’ll stay for a few days before heading to Australia.
I read in the paper that the Malaysia border is really busy on New Year’s, so at worst, I might have to wait one day before going to Sarawak.
I’ve learned a helluva lot about the history of Borneo, why a Sultanate exists here but not in Malaysia, and why Malaysia is split into two parts, rather than two countries. That will all have to come later on big post about Borneo.
I have no idea if I will have internet access in Miri or in the National Park, so if you don’t hear from me in the next few days, it is because I’m out in the bush.