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!