Alpert-Shroyer 2010 Bonus World Cruise travel blog

Oil rig & tender on our approach to Port of Maura, Brunei

White sand beach area & the chanel entrance to the Port of...

Brunei naval vessel with artillery canon on foredeck & missile battery astern...

Two children welcoming us to Brunei as we came ashore. Friendly people...

Spires of Grand Mosque (sometimes called Blue mosque or Jame Mosque) the...

One of many water fountains in Grand Mosque (Blue or Jame Mosque)...

Side yard fountains with main entrance & dome (for worshipers) in background

Worshipers & Students shoes in the Grand Mosque in Brunei

Students gathering before entry to main prayer dome (up the stairs-we were...

Outside fountains at entrance of drive in portico's the King uses to...

One of the entry chandeliers from the drive in portico-the one inside...

The center piece of the Jame (Blue or Grand) Mosque portico where...

Speed boat going to the King's residence up the river (King never...

The "White Mosque," a preserved, historical Mosque in town. We could see...

Shopping "mall" in Brunei. The King provides for most everything one could...

Cemetary just inside the gates of points where we loaded (about 30...

Young coconut looking for a home to start a new life with...

Odd monuments along side the Brunei river on our way to tour...

Burned out "water city" house--since cooking is done on the porch w/firewood,...

"Speedboats" racing up the river to a pickup point or near someone's...

Owner & his wife, who allows tourist to come visit a "typical"...

Snacks served to us while in the Water city's guest house-tube like...

"Backdoor" alley way to other houses & boats along the Water city...

Not all boats were found floating. Sunken, solid wood boats are actually...

Satellite reception, even at the Mosque shows the people want to be...

Microwaves are handy tools to have in the kitchen, besides a grill...

Shucking coconut husks takes a lot of time & then what do...

Colorful flowers and speedboats adorn most every house

One of many bridges that cross over to the market area where...

Market area where fruits & vegetables are sold. Trinkets & souvenirs are...

Museum of Brunei--shown are some of the shields of the Sultan's inauguration...

Shields of the Sultan's personal honor guard with ceremonial swords. Black marble...

Processional guard's shields & spears in the Brunei mueseum

One of 2 Ceremonial Canon of the Sultan's Inauguration--the two ladies are...

Massive Sultan's Innauguration Charriot. This manpowered "vehicle" is about 80 ft long...

Honor guard uniforms simulating how they appeared pulling the Sultan's Innauguration Charriot...

Entire museum is dedicated to Sultan's Innauguration & family's history of rule...

Colorful Royal Blue dome of Ministery of Education. Each Minister has his...

Chanel to open ocean in Port of Maura, Brunei with fishing boat...

Sunset as opulent as the nation of Brunei. Sunsets & sunrises in...

Sunrise to wake up even the bleary eyes of any World traveler-beautiful...

Our executive Georg Hessler & his new (soon to replace in Bankok)...


A common occurrence at sea & satellite/telecommunications is the frequent interruption of services. This is what has happened the past few weeks since we approached China & the Asian continent. Some (most)of the journal entry I was working on simply disappeared because I didn't save my work & tried to resend a blank page unknowingly with photos I downloaded to the website.......it's a risky business with keeping a journal at sea! Anyway, my entry for Brunei was short because of the nature of the nation of Brunei. Not that it is only the size of Switzerland but because of the nature of the focus of power & domination for all by the Sultan of Brunei---it is all about him & his subjects are literally his! That is what my dialogue is all about.

Our mid morning entry to the Port of Maura, Brunei was foretelling about the "twin sisters" (heat & humidity) that would be following us all day. This nation is a benevolent dictatorial ruled land that is solely for the benefit of the Sultan. The King gives & takes as he sees fit. The decreed religion is Islam, the wealth is for the King & the King determines who, how & what benefits from it. The history & habits of the Sultan of Brunei can be studied & newspaper accounts of his expenditures are well documented. He does take care of his subjects so there is no uprising or revolution; most all is paid for by the King. Most everyone has a job or can get one, as well as an education to ANY school or university in the world.

Our first stop on our tour of Brunei was to the Jame (or Grand or Blue) Mosque. This Mosque is the largest, most extravagant, most opulent Mosque that is frequented by worshipers local & afar (and for the exclusive use of the Sultan). Photos of the grounds & buildings show just how much is put into it (maintaining it). The main dome is so large 2 tourist buses could fit end to end inside it and the center, gold & crystal chandelier is breathtaking (& must weigh a ton or two). We were not allowed to take photos of this area & other worship areas inside the Mosque itself. There must be millions of dollars in gold, crystal, jewelry, silks, tile and finery in this one dome alone; maybe that is why no photography was allowed by the Sultan.

Our next place to visit was a "water city" or village over the Brunei river that is historical & traditional. To get there, we (about 20-30 of us)took a speedboat ride to the village & visited a family there where they offered us some "snacks" of cake & fishcake items. They were not too impressive but a kind gesture to visitors in their home (the Sultan pays them to have visitors/tourists come in their home). Tea was served as well. Ellie & Debbie did not go into the home but stayed on the porch, dreading the whole adventure because of the heat, steps to get in & out of the boat and up to the home over the river and the general unkempt nature of living over the water. We stayed for about 45 minutes & after a "bathroom" (2 facilities installed for the visitors use) break at the house, we loaded back on the boat to go back to buses and then on to the museum of Brunei.

The Museum was not what we thought it to be because it was mostly about the Sultan, his family's rule & power and the SO extravagant & opulent Inauguration ceremony of the current Sultan that by now all were getting weary of the King's "benevolence" and tales of his brother's exile, many wives escapades and collection of Rolls Royces (and other excesses); so after our guide asked if we wanted to see another "museum," we said we wanted to go back to the ship to cool off and rest.

Our trip to Brunei was a welcomed view into a autocratic, benevolent nation that has derived its wealth & power from oil and how some rulers of nations can be beneficial and selfish at the same time and how they differ from nations that we all are familiar with from history. News accounts are not too complimentary or factual of ANY nation, after seeing first hand how so many things are in cultures & peoples of the World. We are so lucky to experience it (& you are too in the photos & accounts here) somewhat.

"Our World, Our Way, No Regrets!



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