Saturday, 5 July 2014

Boredom in Brunei

Wow... There is nothing in Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB), the capital of Brunei and it a VERY expensive place for a South-East Asian country.

As usual I had a nightmare when I got to the airport. Since it was under renovation there was no ATM available and I had no local currency. Even if I had local currency, the taxis were 30 BND (15 pounds) to get into the city... about 10 minutes away!

Fortunately, the luckiest thing ever happened to me. As usual, there were no westerners around at all, and the Brunei people are very unhelpful! I was tired from my flight, starving and just wanting to be in my hostel but had no money and no way to get there. After sitting there pondering what to do for a while, luck had it this Australian lady walked into the airport with her son looking for a store to buy him a drink before he boarded his flight. I mentioned how nothing was open, and we both agreed its an awful airport. Anyway, we got chatting and I explained my situation. Turns out she was going back to the city after she dropped her son off and would take me to where I wanted to go and find me an ATM! Bless her. My guardian angel.

So, she took me on a more scenic route to the city, passing the government buildings on the way. They were very impressive! One reminded me of a smaller version of the White House. Anyway, when I got there, the place was dead.

The biggest thing I can advise is never to go to a country whose religion is Islam during Ramadan as it means that everything is a crime/ shut. For example, I went and got a Burger King but they didn't allow you to eat in as its frowned against for anyone to eat in public as it tempts them to break their fast.

Also, Sharia law is being introduced which forbids you from wearing leggings and forces you to cover your shoulders, arms and legs. You're not supposed to show any skin other than your face. This meant I was totally melting!

Anyway, I got there at 12, turns out on a Friday everything is shut from 12 till 2pm as they go and pray. Great. I was starving and in an awful mood. I finally found a cheap hostel - Online the cheapest place I could book was 20 pounds a night! And even then, it was a shit hole... So I rocked up to the Youth Hostel in hope there was space.

It was so strange and I had a huge culture shock moment after talking to 3 local 18 year old girls who told me that they agreed with the stoning and whipping of women... I just can't get my head around that! How can anybody think that it is okay?

Anyway, I had an awful day and I was close to crying at one point. I was hungry, so tired, had been waiting for hours and was soaking wet. I just wanted a bed.

I waited at the hostel from 12pm till 9pm when FINALLY the guy that ran it arrived! I did go away for like 30 minutes to explore the city till I realised there was nothing to do there. Ugh.

I can't wait to leave already.

This is the only thing there was to see... A pretty mosque.

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