Trip Start Jul 31, 2005
118Trip End Feb 18, 2007
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Now, we had been warned, but we didn't expect it to be this bad:- As soon as we stepped off the ferry, we were hassled by dozens of men wanting to be our guide. This time, our usual trick of "we don't speak any English!", didn't get rid of one of the more persistent ones and he followed us around everywhere. Well actually, when we saw how narrow, confusing and dirty the streets were in this town, the tables were turned and we actually ended up following him.
We are quite used to being stared at now, especially after China, but this placed topped it all
Overall, it was a good, but slightly unnerving experience, being the centre of attention in such a busy, dirty, poor place which sees hardly any westerners and where almost nobody speaks any English. We couldn't even rest and take refuge in a cafe, bar or restaurant as there weren't any. We followed our guide and looked around the smelly market place and the wooden waterside part of town which is built up on stilts. After this, we decided to head back to the port and take the early boat back to civilisation.
Before getting on the boat, Marc bought an innocent souvenir, a bottle of beer, to take back to Singapore. This was still enough to upset the strict Singapore customs. As they x-ray all your baggage on the way in to the country, the security officer found this whole bottle of beer in Marc's bag and told him that he had to go to see customs to pay tax on it.
At the customs office, Marc opened his bag and pulled out the small bottle of beer, to the amusement of the officers who are used to people being caught with far more substantial hauls
Next we leave the rule obsessed country of Singapore and head over to another rule obsessed country, Brunei.