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Brunei Darussalam
One of the first things we noted about Brunei was that it is a very quiet place. The city was almost empty at daytime with just a few modern Japanese cars on the streets. Even the stores seemed to have more staff than customers. Our first thought was that it was like this because it was Sunday, but the following Monday was just as quiet.

35. Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque Call for prayer
Our worry for the missing bag, and the tropical heat, overshadowed the first day in Bandar Seri Begawan. However, we had time for a short walk in the city centre. Our first stop was the Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, built in 1958 and named after the 28th sultan of Brunei. Although it was open for non-muslims for some hours almost every day, we preferred to stay outside. It was certainly an impressive building.

38. Kampung Ayer Boat engines
At the riverbanks around the mosque were plenty of rough-looking stilt-houses. At first, we didn't dare to venture there, but after reading about the Kampung Ayer in our guidebook we took a boat taxi across the river and walked around for about an hour. To our surprise, it was not nearly as rough as it seemed from a distance. Most of the houses had running water, air-con and electricity! The heavily swaying plank walks was the scariest part of our adventure at Kampung Ayer.

49. Taman Peranginan Tasek Park
Having nothing else to do, we bought a pineapple and some crackers and headed for the nearby Taman Peranginan Tasek Park. We followed a small creek until we reached a waterfall were we enjoyed our juicy pineapple and the crackers.
    On our way back, we suddenly met many people jogging or just walking. As it turned out, they were all heading for a different track than the one we came from. We got curious and decided to follow. It was uphill and after twenty minutes we were standing on the top of a small hill overlooking the centre of Bandar Seri Begawan and the Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah mosque.

58. Happy birthday Call for prayer #2
The sultan had just had his 55th birthday and a festival had been going on every night for almost two weeks. For the first time during our visit it got really crowded, especially around the concert scene where a couple of, what we presumed, popular bands were taking their turns.
    It was not difficult to find something to eat and we settled for some skewer and bean milk. The skewer was great but the bean milk tasted more than awful!

68. Bus to Miri. Bus tour
The next morning we started early at the bus station, having read that it could take a whole day to reach Miri, and if we were unlucky we could get stranded in a small oil-pumping village with nowhere to stay. This turned out to be false information.
    The trip was smooth and fast, and after a few bus changes and river crossings, we entered Malaysia. Here, the big river Batang awaited us, but the crossing went just as smooth as the rest of the journey. After that, it was not far to Miri, which we reached early in the afternoon.

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© 2001-2002  Photos Nicklas Nordborg and Dimitria Kallini  Texts and sounds Nicklas Nordborg