Saturday, July 16, 2011


Things have been going so well these last few weeks i'm afraid i dont have much of a story to tell. I hired a river taxi with some friends to see the waterfront of Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. We saw some proboscis monkeys and also a glimpse of the Sultan's palace. The palace, with over 2 million square feet, 1,788 rooms and 257 bathrooms, was impressive to look at even from a distance. From Brunei it was easy to take a ferry back to Malaysia and Borneo. I stopped by Beaufort, Malaysia, about 2 hours south of Kota Kinabalu. It is even smaller than Beaufort, SC but was nice nonetheless. As I was wondering about with my big bag a local offered to help me find my way. When I told him I just wanted to see the town because I was from a place called "Beaufort" in America he kindly offered to show me around. We saw the Beaufort Waterfront and crossed the bridge to the south side of town. Had an amazing bowl of laksa for lunch. Laksa is Malaysian deliciousness. It is a coconut milk based soup with noodles, chicken, egg, shrimp and calamari- although it might not sound good, i promise it is amazing! After lunch I caught a minivan to Kota Kinabalu and then the overnight bus to Semporna.

Semporna is the take off point to some of the best diving in the world. I was able to stay on a small island and dive three times a day for three days!! Although I didn't get to see any sharks or manta rays or anything like that, I still had an amazing time. I saw a school of thousands of jack fish and also a grouper that must have weighed over 200 pounds! My new favorite fish is the crocodile fish. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of it, but it looks so much like a crocodile I can't help but love it. Other recent favorites are the lion fish, box fish, peacock mantis shrimp and eels. The water temperature was perfect and the diving was great.

I am now in Kota Kinabalu and spent the day lounging on a small island just a 15 minute boat ride from Kota Kinabalu. Tomorrow morning early I fly to Kunming, China and will make my way to Lijiang China to trek through Tiger Leaping Gorge. Malaysia has been great and now I'm looking forward to a change of scenery to the mountains!

Friday, July 8, 2011


I wasnt sure what to expect here in Brunei, but I can't say I am disappointed. I arrived yesterday around noon and promptly took the public bus to the Empire Hotel.....the one the crown price built and it cost roughly $1.1 billion, note the Petronas towers in kuala lumpur cost just $1.6 billion. I am embarrassed to say it wasn't quite as spectacular as I expected. That being said, I did take a picture of the crystal camel with solid gold adornments that was displayed in the lobby- valued at $500,000. However, it was a beautiful building and I enjoyed most of the afternoon relaxing near the water and waiting for the air show to start. The Brunie international defense exhibition is holding demonstrations from the 6th to the 10th with airshows, parades and other exhibits. Although I wasnt able to see the airshow, I did enjoy the afternoon. I visited the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque and marveled at the replica of the 16th century mahligai (royal) barge in the middle of the lagoon in front of the mosque before watching the sunset over the water village.

This morning started early at the parade grounds to watch another part of the Brunei international defense exhibit. although it wasn't the same as our 4th if july parades, it wasnt bad. Thirteen different countries participated in the parade, including members of the US navy. Following t the parade I took a boat up the river to a small town to see what life was like out of the city. After a45 minute fast boat ride up the river through the mangroves I found a small quiet town with friendly people,and if course, good food. From here I will return to malaysia and hopefully experience some good diving!