Saturday, May 10, 2008

Thursday 8th May - Bits and Pieces

I went into work with Steve today, stopping for a coffee on the way. 10 minutes later (!) we were on our way to Serasa beach for Steve to try a bit of fishing. After losing 3 weights and hooks, getting them stuck in the rocks, we headed off for further adventures.

We decided to go back via the route through Kota Batu that we took when I arrived on Sunday, as most of it had been a bit of a jet-lagged haze. We stopped by the Sultan's tomb, which is hidden away from the road in a beautiful setting. He lived from 1473 to 1521 and was the 5th Sultan of Brunei. Just as we were leaving, the heavens opened. When it rains in Brunei, it really rains - even windscreen wipers at full speed are of little use - and everything starts steaming. Also, because it's so cool inside the car, the outside of the windows have condensation on the outside!

As we'd seen the Empire Hotel and Country Club from a distance yesterday, we decided to pay a proper visit today for a drink - non-alcoholic of course. It is a beautiful hotel, which cost US$1.1bn to build. It has a main atrium which is at least 8 storeys high, and the grounds and pools are stunning. Steve very kindly said he would treat me to a spa treatment, so I booked a Tropical Body Rub for the next day - what luxury!

We returned to Bandar for another look around the shops in the early evening, and were just walking past the main mosque (Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque) when the call for evening prayer started. You could hear the call from 3 or 4 other nearby mosques and it sounded great. At prayer times, all radio stations broadcast the call to prayer - its quite a relaxing sound!

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