Brunei it was. So after spending a night in the Akinabalu Youth Hostel with a sick Dutch guy in my dorm, I headed to the ferry port and got my £12 ticket to Brunei. Might as well tick another country off while I'm here.
I got the first ferry to Labaun where I had a 2 hour wait for my ferry to Brunei. I found a hideous version of KFC called Marrybrown but it was quick and cheap and changed up some money to Brunei dollars. On the second ferry I got talking to Ritchie, a Malaysian who lives in Brunei with his family. He even use to play for the Malaysian national cricket club and once played England at Lordes, as well as having sprinted for Malaysia. He and his family very kindly offered me a lift into the city as the ferry port was 25 kilometers away.
They dropped me off at the hostel I wanted to stay at and they promptly told me they were shut until the end of the year. I knew that everywhere else in Brunei was expensive and so I had to take the £35 hit (instead of £10 at the hostel) for two nights at K&C Hotel...pretty crap and doesn't have wifi (my biggest issue with it). But it's in the centre and it is a wealthy country. I had been warned not to visit Brunei as it is boring. The woman who drove me to the city even told me all there is to do is eat. So after killing time in a coffee shop (for the wifi) and a small walk to the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, which was very pretty in the sunset with the light shining off the gold domed roof. A walk along the waterfront allowed me to see over to the floating village where the lower income people live.
I, fortunately, met Sophia from Hong Kong and Subhadra from Netherlands outside the mall, who were on my ferries and we went for a nice cheap meal along the waterfront. After that, it was only 8.30 and there was nothing left to do, so I went and hit up a coffee shop and got a hot chocolate and watched the Liverpool match. Pretty much like the teenagers of Brunei. Ideal in 30 degree heat and humidity. Glad, and maybe rude, to say at least I'm only staying two nights.
For my full day in Brunei I went to explore the 'attractions' of Bandar Seri Begawan which started at the fruit, veg and fish market - Tamu Kianggeh which was small but pleasant. Then I went to see how the other half lives (the Sultan here) at the Royal Regalia and you can certainly tell that he has so much power. Very elaborate! Then it was a brisk walk around the Tasek Recreational Ground before a longer walk over to the Jame 'Asri Hassanal Bolkiah mosque which was a bloody impressive building. Sadly coz of the sun's position, the photos I took do not do it justice. About a quick shower and pit stop back at the hotel it was off for dinner on the waterfront again. And that pretty much covers Bandar Seri Begawan. But I did manage to make myself paranoid about bed bugs for most of the day, as I had the usual scattering of bites (mainly on my feet from bloody ants) but found a small cluster of bites on my waist and started believing all the bites were from bed bugs and suddenly found this was making my whole body itch and I was inspecting every little bump/bite that came up. Grrr...bloody critters, I'll assume it's 50:50. (Making me itchy writing that!)
And back to the coffee shop for another hot chocolate and watch whatever they had put on MTV.
Next stop (if I can find the bus) Miri in Sarawak, Borneo.