Right Time, Right Place...
Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
423Trip End Dec 31, 2018
We caught a cab into the city and for a little more we asked him to drive us around to see the outlying sights for one and a half hours. It worked out so well, as the following day it turned out, we were going to be busy with National Day celebrations. We saw the Sultan's Palace, a couple of Mosques and the very lavish Empire Hotel and Country Club Resort.
At our hotel the receptionist advised the National Day parade would start at 7.00am. That seemed inordinately early but sure enough, by 7am there were a lot of excited voices in the street and we hurried out to see big groups of children in picture perfect colourful uniforms
We became minor celebrities ourselves. We were interviewed for a newspaper about how we were enjoying the National Day Parade and had our photos taken a dozen or so times. As each group marched into arena they were announced to the King. Not understanding a word we presume it went something like, “Your Royal Highness I present the representatives from the BSB 2nd division school of Judo.” It sounded like the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games when the countries are announced and march in
Towards the end a lovely lady, who it transpired, was a Government official invited us into a stand reserved for official guests and we watched the final half hour of the patriotic parade from the comfort of the officials area. What a buzz! We could see the King himself and stretched before us a crowd of possibly 50,000 in their colourful groups. The lady who had kindly invited us in, explained that it was a huge honour to be chosen from your school or sports group to participate. When all the groups had been presented to the King the national anthem was played and then an oath of allegiance was recited by the huge crowd. The biggest surprise came next when to the tune of lively and stirring music the groups held up and waved coloured streamers and from the height of the stadium we were now watching from, you could see it formed the numbers 26 - for the 26th year since independence. Soon after this, it was over and the King left, but we were reluctant to leave and wandered around taking more photos and enjoying the infectious excitement of the locals.
On our second and unfortunately last day, it was again a matter of right time, right place to see the endangered proboscis monkey. We negotiated a price with a small boat owner to take us up the Brunei river to look for the endangered Proboscis Monkey
Finally it was time to find our way to the airport. Brunei's public transport is exceptional and for less than a $A1 each we were delivered by bus right to the airport.