Tuesday, 21 May 2013

In Brunei and a slight change of plans

I think we ended up spending three days in Labuan. We visited the Labuan museum for a history lesson and also the marine museum, although our general marine knowledge is higher than the average, so we didn't really learn much new. We also had one last fun night with kiwi Sarah and Dave and not least Russel the dog (a Jack Russel) who lives in the Labuan's marina (which unfortunately is falling apart, but may be fixed some day). They treated us to yummy kiwi wine and we went out for a late dinner.
How cute is Russel the boat dog?!
It meant next morning was a bit slow, but we eventually got out act together and went off to Brunei. Luckily it was only a couple of hours of sailing (or motoring, there was no wind) away. We first anchored off the ferry terminal so we only had a short dinghy ride in to see customs, immiration and port control. It sure was a nice and easy way to do it, and fun walking into an empty ferry terminal the backwards way.

We then went to anchor by the Royal Brunei Yacht Club. It's a really nice club with friendly people and for NZ$5 a day we get: dinghy dock, free use of facilities including: swimming pool, showers, wifi and washing machine. The only downside is the location in the middle of nowhere. Brunei has SE Asia's richest average income per person thanks to all the oil. I guess this means a lot of cars and spread out places. There are however some busses and we did manage to catch one into the city. 

The down town was quite different from any capitals we have ever been in. It's very organised and clean, similar to Singapore, but, there are hardly any people walking around and not that many cars either. Admittedly, it's a small country and hence a small capital. But it made for a very casual and relaxed non-stress feel and we liked it. We saw the impressive Omar Ali Saifuddien mosque with the concrete 'boat' parked in the 'mote' around it but otherwise just wandered around with occasional trips into small malls mostly for the air con!
Behind us is Kampung Ayer, a water village build on stilts, aparently app 30,000 people live there!
As for the change of plans, only few people actually knew those plans, so it's mostly just a change of our mindset. Phil's parents are coming to Singapore on the 31st May on their world cuise(ship) and we have for a long time figured we'd try and get there by then and it did also fit quite nicely into our overall plans. But we spent a bit longer in Philippines than originally anticipated, then we were hanging out in first Kudat, then KK, and now we're still pretty far away from Singapore. We could sail straight to there from here, it's about 700 miles or 6-7 days, all depending, but we don't really feel like such a relatively long passage, but most importantly we just don't feel like we have seen enough of Borneo yet. Instead we now going to fly to Singapore from Miri.

We're looking forward to seeing Phil's parents and of course they are also boat part mules like all visitors to Sophia... We're going to be staying with one of my oldest best friends Theresa and her family and we will also go see Jenny, the Norwegians we spend xmas with in Palau. Now we just have to try and figure out where to leave Sophia when we go to Denmark in July and what to do before then, so many options!

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