January 22, 2007 GMT
Brunei

Where is the bike? Wheeeereee is it?
Being restless to the point of watching TV, I decided to spend my waiting time by visiting one of the smallest and most atypical nations in the world, the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam. It is a strictly Islamic country more or less run by Shell. They have no taxes, no alcohol, and a free trip to Mecca for all citizens. In effect that means there are plenty of cash, but no parties, and many of its adventurous are abroad. Indeed, Brunei (which fittingly means Abode of Peace) might just be the most boring place on earth, if not in the entire universe.


brunmosk.jpg
The stunning Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is the next best thing to Taj Mahal


Oh well, I’m not being completely fair with my characteristics. Brunei will entertain you for a day or two, but after that you’ll have to entertain yourself. If you can’t, you’re in trouble. The tourist office in will not help you – I was met with a distinct “oh no, another foreigner”, handed a leaflet, and kicked out before I could bother them with questions. Therefore, when strolling on the roadside with sweet inner images of places far away, I was thrilled to be hijacked by perhaps the most hardcore criminal in the country. For his own protection let’s call him “Danny”. Here is the case: Danny is the lead guitarist in Soul Decay, a Muslim metal band (!). The problem is that metal music is illegal in Brunei. See the dilemma? Anyway, we had a fulfilling conversation about Satan, and he was particularly fascinated by me being a genuine descendant of the Vikings.


brundish.jpg
Danny, his girlfriend Noodle, and I are enjoying Ambuyat, the national dish – hot slime and fish fried to death. It tasted… well, don’t ask.


Before Microsoft became macro the sultan was the richest man in the world, but now he’s on an embarrassing third place (æda bæda). His Majesty’s 1788 room castle is half a kilometre long, and he has 2000 cars in the garage. Most interesting is his royal chariot, a spitting image of Il Tempo Gigante, which is displayed at the Royal Regalia Museum. Other rewarding doings include a walk in Kampor Ayer, a village on stilts in the Brunei River, where half of the population in the capital Bandar Seri Begawan lives. And I have to mention Steven and Chris, a lovely British couple that - despite living there for five years - was not mentioned in the tourist brochure. They kindly invited me for chicken sandwiches and tea in their new house in the suburb which I imagine is far more practical than the Sultans castle (the toilet is in walking distance, etc…).


brunvill1.jpg
The water village is hot and humid. It has the feel and smell of a badly ventilated kitchen where someone is boiling a large pot of macaroni.


After a week I was more afraid of losing my Bryson book than my passport, and there had been plenty of reading hours and coffees at Brunei’s perhaps nicest outdoor facility, De Royalle Café. The last day they gave me a "regular customer discount card" (could be a bad sign depending how you look at it), and the owner came and shook my hand in the usual Brunei way – a touch so light that no sweat would be exchanged.
“Where are you from”, he asked.
“I’m from Norway.”
“Nowhere?”
I corrected him, but he didn’t seem to grasp it. When I left, he said to his employees, loud enough for me to hear it:
“There goes a man from nowhere, and he’s going somewhere.”
I liked that idea.
Then I got the SMS - my bike has finally arrived at Port Klang.


bruncastle.jpg
“Honey, I’m going to the toilet.”
“OK, see you in the evening. By the way, have you seen the keys to the car?”
“Which car?”

Posted by Erik Saue at 07:19 AM GMT
 


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!