Sunday, January 18, 2015

SSEAYP Diaries: Clear waters, and carpark bbqs

Day two started off early, with a huge spread for breakfast of course. Our “ayah”, and “ibu”, our foster mother’s brother and his wife brought us out with their daughter and our nephew to visit the water village – Kampung Ayer.

The sky was this ridiculous bright blue, and although the sun was burning down upon my face, every picture I took that day turned out amazing because of the lighting and the colour contrast of sky to water. I was so pleased.

The amount of fluffy clouds, really, is bordering on obnoxious, LOL.

We had the option of taking the larger ferry, or taking a speedboat. Of course, our ayah wanted to give us the full experience and the ride of our life, so we paid a dollar to take the speedboat. I loved every single minute we flew over the waves and got splashed by river water occasionally. I could not, for the life of me, stop laughing.

The wind felt so good as it whipped through my hair. Despite how unruly my hair was, I still managed to get my selfie game on. Of course.

You can totally see the Sultan’s mosque in the distance. The boat actually took us to the back gardens of the mosque as well as to the farther end of the actual village. The scenery did change over time; from just dense greenery to slight deforestation. We even saw a family of wild boars on the way back just hiding it out in the trees, and a huge crocodile just slipping of the riverbank into the water. All of that up close and personal~

What our dad told us was, they usually capture the adult crocodiles because they tend to eat the villagers babies. I’m not sure if that’s a true fact, but seemingly gross all the same….

Brunei is famous for the Proboscis monkey; a monkey with a really long nose. It’s not a very good looking monkey from the pictures, but oh well, you get used to it. It’s favourite hideout was in the trees close to the mangroves, and the boatman took us into a small alcove to wait, watch and try our luck at spotting them.

We didn’t really get to see any monkeys up close, but there were a few dancing from tree to tree in the distance. I saw alot of mudskippers though, which was pretty cool.

This bridge leads to the makam, or burial ground of the old sultan.

And then of course, the deforestation grounds.

We passed by this awkward shaped rock, and apparently there’s a legend to it. It looks like a shipwreck on the rocks, which is basically what the legend is based on. It’s called the Jong Batu, and apparently, when viewed from the top, it looks like a sinking ship with the bow sticking out of the water.

You can read about the legend here:

From the rock, we ventured into the actual village itself; powering through the houses on stilts and watching everyone’s lives unfold before us. Surprisingly, it’s really similar to a normal city with a petrol station on stilts, mosques, schools and even a hospital.

What I know is that part of the village actually burnt down years back, and the government has been trying to relocate the locals to proper housing facilities. They even provided houses for them to move to, but the process is taking awhile.

There was a huge part of the village that was actually being reconstructed; and most of the damage came from a huge fire. Apparently there've been quite a few fires there hence the reason behind the relocation movement to another part of the water.

The boatman took us all the way out to the border, before turning back to the dock. More open sea and sky greeted me~

It took awhile for me to get my land legs back after my sea legs, but it was one enjoyable experience.
We headed out to the nearby marketplace, and bought a few snacks. It was relatively quiet because it was quite late in the morning anyway.

Was tempted to get something for dessert when we had lunch at this cafe, but I didn’t. :/

We went of to the Royal Regalia Museum next. It houses amazing artifacts – from huge thrones and life-sized carriages to jewel encrusted crowns. Anything and everything signifying the 1992 Silver Jubilee of his Majesty’s ascension to the throne. Unfortunately, pictures or recording were not allowed inside, so I didn’t get to document any of the interior.

That huge thing behind this very awkward picture is the carriage which was pulled by hundreds of soldiers during the actual Jubilee. It’s seriously huge; long and tall. Still wondering how people go about pulling that thing across the country.

We headed home for a late tea after going for a short grocery stop, and had our family’s famous mee soto. Apparently they run a mee soto business at the back of their house, and quite a popular one as well. We sat down to indulge ourselves in more food, and I actually tried tongue for the first time. It was surprisingly not a bad experience! And trust me, I’m not one for weird meats, but the tongue was really tender and it wasn’t grainy or anything. Our family even bought freshly shocked oysters from the grocer, and we slurped those down with just a squeeze of lemon juice.

Our final stop of the day before the huge family gathering which was happening at night, was the Tungku Beach. We switched cars (yes, I forgot to mention they have eight cars?) to a Range Rover, and we drove to the beach.
I honestly thought we would stop and get off when we reached the entrance of the beach, but we drove right in! All the way to the beach! That, I thought, was amazing.

The windows were wound down, and we drove over the soft sand passing families by.

We had to drive through some greenery to get to the other side of the beach, and all the bouncing up and down in the car left me completely mad. I was laughing so hard.

The pictures don’t do any justice to how beautiful the beach was, but the vlog will ! We reached the peak of the beach (yes, now beaches have peaks, because I say so) and we caught the sunset just in time. We danced over the rocks, and took pictures while enjoying the sea breeze.

Our dad told us that they usually go there alot as a family during the holidays to camp out for days. Their old house was a part of the beach as well; some Robinson Crusoe shack lookalike that we passed on the way up to the peak.

We finally got back home, and the house was basically bustling with people. I felt like the family had grown twice as large as it already was. 

All the cars were gone from the carpark area, and it had been turned into a whole BBQ/karaoke area. The glorious smells of steak, breaded oysters and god knows what else smothered the entire compound.

The beach always makes you really hungry, so we changed into our baju kurung (yes both Azu and I), despite the burning heat from the bbq pit and we went to mingle with the family. All sorts of questions were thrown at us then and there, pictures taken everywhere. Oldies attempting to belt out modern songs from the 21st century, and the cousins singing oldies from the 60s. It was ridiculous. 

And I enjoyed every single minute of it. 

Stayed up late into the night just lounging around the family room and just catching up. The last night, and it would be back on board Nippon Maru. 

Basically had an early morning; packed and went down to learn how to make a traditional Brunei snack - penyaram. Made two huge boxes to bring back to the ship to share with my cabin mates. Oh, and I had the most amazing laksa for breakfast. Sigh :') 

Kakak Fee drove us to get souvenirs (which is really hard to find in Brunei). There was only one shop that sold anything remotely souvenir-ish. Then she literally sped at 140mph to the ship docks to send us off. Oh my goodness I bawled.

It's really obvious how much eyeliner I cried off. Cause at this point it's all gone.

HAHA my friend went "Omg fie, your skirt so tight already!" Woops. After effects of Brunei food everyone.

I bawled even more after I had to leave. I think I soaked Rina's shirt. LOL. Emotionally attached right now.

Brunei, oh Brunei. May I come back soon. Cause my heart is still stuck with you.

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