Monday, June 17, 2024
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Brunei Related Known And Unknown Information- You should Know

Brunei is a land of stark contrasts. The women are fully covered while the men bare everything they want. There are cats everywhere, but I didn’t see a single dog. There is an elaborate mosque next to crumbling houses. The streets are silent, yet filled with luxury cars, almost as if ghosts are driving them. “Dilatant” also seems to be the favorite word here.. Do Not. No drinking, no smoking, no women, no men, no chewing gum…

I literally couldn’t figure out this place. To be honest, the only reason I came was because I can’t imagine the next time I will be two hours from Brunei and have the opportunity to go. It was a mere ferry ride from Kota Kina bale and a nation unlike any other I’ve been to while traveling. For starters, we arrived at the only hostel in the entire country to be told we needed to wait a few hours for the owner to arrive as he needed to pick up his son from school. Apparently this was normal protocol, as we ran into a few others staying at the hostel and they too had waited on previous days for multiple hours. It was time to realize we were playing by Brunei’s rules and not our own.

Brunei’s time schedule later came to haunt us when we realized the whole town shuts down on Fridays from 12-2 for prayer. I’m not talking a few local restaurants, I’m talking the entire city. The markets close, the mall closes, even taxi drivers aren’t allowed to work. Then we realized this was due to the recent implementation of the Sharia Law. It is illegal to be open during this time because that would mean they are not attending prayer at the Mosque.

As we talked to a local we began to realize the true effects the law has on the country. Women are not allowed to wear anything that is above ankle length and must cover their head at all times. Men are also not allowed to be dressed ‘indecently’ but this is left up to interpretation. They also reinstated stoning for adultery, rape, and other related crimes and as our local chicken skewer griller told us, ‘they are trying to emulate Saudi Arabia.’ Basically if you don’t agree with the law, then get out…

While we were able to cover most of the city of Bandar Seri Begawan in about 2 hours by foot. The city is adorned with a gold mosque, floating villages and well lots of malls. Shopping is the national sport here, as most of the population works less than 40 hours a week and makes a substantial living due to the oil fields in the region.

After less than 72 hours here, all I could think about was drinking a nice cold beer and baring my ankles… Good thing my next stop is Australia.


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