The Suntan of Brunei.

Trip Start Jul 31, 2009
Trip End Sep 07, 2009

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Where I stayed
HK Soon hotel

Flag of Brunei  ,
Sunday, August 16, 2009

With time running short, we could only choose to do one more thing.  The girls went off to the tropical island they filmed the first series of "Survivor" on and I went to Brunei for the night.  We'd been told there wasn't really much to do there, and thats why the girls didn't join me, but I wanted to go and see for myself and really just to visit another country more than anything else. I've only 4 blank pages left in my passport, so every stamp helps. ;)

Well, what we had been told was true, there really was nothing to do.  There's a great big mosque in the centre of town, and then the Sultans Palace, but thats about it.  The mosque is pretty cool though, the floor and walls made from Italian Marble, the stained glass windows were cafted in the UK, and the carpets were flown in from Saudi Arabia.  Tasteful!

Brunei is one of those random places that everyone's heard of (the sultan was the richest man in the world for a long time until Bill Gates overtook him), but no one knows where it is.  It's one of the smallest countries in the world, and it was about to be completely enveloped by Malaysia, until oil was discovered in 1929, turning this little country into one of the worlds economic powers overnight.  The current Sultans father decided to throw his lot in with the British and remain under their protection instead of becoming part of Malaysia, and this is what helped keep all that oil and money in this little country. 

How one man can have so much money (about $35 billion at last count) is because he shares the wealth.  Brunei has a 94% literacy rate (higher than Portugal), life expectancy is 77 years (higher than Scotland) and there are free pensions for all, free schooling, free health care, free sport & leisure centres, cheap loans and no income tax. As long as the Sultan keeps it real for his homies, they won't have a revolution and hang his ass on live TV.
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