August 12, 2005

Boat, Mosque, Museum

Kampung Ayer (means 'water village') edged the shores and also had a cluster of houses in the middle of the river, creating an island. Laura (Italian, living in Holland, also 29) and I proudly bargained down the boat driver from $20 BND for 1 hour down to $10. But this isn't Malaysia anymore and the consequence was a really fast drive-by view in half an hour! Maybe the photos will not be great but it was great to see a whole community of homes, stores and schools for 30,000 (half of the city!) people built on stilts. Plus driving through the natural AC was relieving on this really humid day.

Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque (had to check that name!) is the largest in the country and is expensively beautiful. Intricately carved wooden doors, mosaic tiled fountains, the circular stained glass above... and then we were told we should not enter until after 5pm. Which actually worked out since these two quick glimpses gave us the opportunity to see the museum as well. The Islamic Arts section was full of illuminated Qurans and decorated sabers, ceramics and fabrics. There was the oil gallery and others too but at that point they had already closed and we were told to leave yet again. So that was my whirl-wind tour of Bandar Seri Begawan! P

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