Sunday, May 11, 2008

Friday 9th May - Massage, Malaysia and Market

I left early for my pampering session at the Empire. The session started with my feet being soaked in a bowl of warm water, and I was then taken into the changing room and given a robe, slippers and a very small pair of disposable knickers to change into! The second part of the session consisted of a massage with what felt like sand, but which was actually coconut flakes and salt in oil. I then had a shower - my skin felt lovely and soft. I was looking forward to a lovely gentle massage to end the session. Gentle???!!!!! She must have had thumbs of steel! She dug her thumbs into places I never knew I had! She started with my back, then my left arm and leg, and then right leg and arm. When she dug into my right calf, I nearly shot off the bed! Even though it was a hard massage, and pretty uncomfortable at times, once she'd finished, I felt very relaxed, and I was surprised to find I'd been there over 2 hours - the time had flown by. A very well spent B$230 (about £85)

Steve picked me up and set off to Kuala Lurah to pop over the border to Malaysia. We decided to walk over the border, as there was a lot of traffic. Apparently a lot of Bruneians go across the border on Fridays for a boozing session! The whole experience was very different from the civilised border crossing at Kuala Belait - this was completely mad!! Immediately after the border, there are loads of macan (food) stalls lining the street. There is smoke pouring from their barbecues, which smells lovely, but they all sell the same thing - skewered chicken wing, each skewer holding one very stretched wing, skewered chickens bums(!), fish cakes and very dodgy looking sausages - needless to say, we didn't try any of them!

We stopped for a couple of beers and just sat taking in the atmoshphere, before heading back to Brunei with some more beer.

We decided to go to Bandar for a walk, stopping in the DeRoyalle coffee bar. This is one of two 24 hour coffee bars in Bandar, and is full of character and very friendly. The whole city was very quiet though, bearing in mind it was Friday night.

There was a lot of lightning as we set off back home, and the guy on the radio said it was raining hard in the city - well not where we were, it wasn't!! No sooner had we heard that, than the heavens opened! Suddenly we spotted a big market as we passed Gadong, but couldn't get to it from the road we were on. After much searching in the torrential rain, we finally found a way to get to it - and it seemed half the population of Brunei had the same idea - so that's where they all spent their Friday nights! Most of the stalls were macan stalls and the smell was mouth-wateringly gorgeous. It was still raining, and we got soaked, but it didn't matter. We bought a parcel of rice with sauce and onions on top, wrapped up in a banana leaf - yum! We had a wander round and decided to get some food to take home. We bought 4 large vegetable rolls, 5 banana fritters, 7 prawn balls, and 2 different types of fried noodles, all for $6 - just over £2. There was more than enough for the 2 of us, and it was delicious!

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