With a few days to spare after saying goodbye to Kat and Nush, I decided to head to the small country of Brunei in Borneo. I caught a flight from KL with Air Asia and made it safe in the end but it was the worst flight of my life! Firstly, straight after take-off, there was a strange clunk sound and the plan stopped ascending. That didn't reassure me a whole lot but the majority of the flight was fine. But as we came over Borneo, was hit a thunder storm causing the worst turbelence I've ever experienced. We finally touched down on the runway in Brnei but just as we made contact, the pilot put the engines back on full thrust and it felt as though we were going to crash into the terminal! Everyone who had previously been meticulously avoiding eye contact was now staring at eachother wondering what was going on. We suddenly rose sharply, straight back into the thunder and instead of any explanation, they played songs from the jungle book into the cabin!! All in all I made it there OK but had the fright of my life on the way there!
So I arrived in Brunei at about 9.30pm and decided to see what was happening in the city centre at night. I soon found out that nothing happens at night in Brunei, everywhere shuts, maybe due to the fact that alcohol is illegal as its an islamic country. I managed to find the only place open, a small cornershop run by an overfriendly man from India called Mohammed, who managed to explain his whole life story to me in the space of 10mins. I now know he has lived there for 30 years, has 2 sons, a failed business and is soon to be selling hard scoop ice cream, as he proclaimed to me over and over "I know how to make ice cream!". I made a run for it with my water and prawn crackers and retired to my extorionately priced hostel that was more like a prison ward.
The following morning, after Mohammed told me of the youth hostel round the corner, I managed to get a bed for a third of the price in a nicer location, although I did have the whole youth hostel to myself as there are no tourist in Brunei! During my whole stay I only saw a couple from Hong Kong in the coffee shop and an english man at the mosque who grunted at me as though I was too inferior to be there. I decided to head to the Royal Museum, but due to islamic prayers, it was shut until the afternoon. Even though it was unbelievably hot, I headed out of town by foot to find a small park with a waterfall. It actually turned out to be a small dense jungle where I caught a monkey rummaging through a builders lunch box. Suddenly there were about 8 of them and I followed them for about half hour. It was awesome to see them so close up but I soon got a little too close and the male turned on me lips drawn back, fangs showing, I swear I saw a drip of blood. He successfully chased me out the park and I hurried back into the centre of town.
The royal museum was awesome, it basically explained the Sultan's life and had a display of all the gifts leaders of the world had given to him. His throne and chariot where also on display and they were massive!! After a bit of culture, I decided to keep up the mood and head out of town to see the largest mosque in Brunei. It was spectacular with its gleaming golden domes, never seen anything like it. As there is nothing happening in Brunei at night, I spent a few hours on the internet before heading back to my own personal youth hostel for the night.
Was definately worth making the trip to Brunei as it's so different to anywhere else in South East Asia that not a lot of travellers get to see. But at the same time it was pretty dull and no other travellers anywhere, making it a difficult first stop after leaving Kat. Was great to see the mosques though as well as the wild monkeys! Pictures to come.