Goodbye, Kagoshima
Manila, Philippines- Death of a Hero

Muara, Brunei- Mosque Walkaround

Brunei is a tiny nation on the island of Borneo. It became independent in 1984 when it ceased being a British Protectorate. Brunei is one of the few remaining absolute monarchies and is known for its oil and gas reserves. Because of its oil wealth, it is the second most prosperous country in Southeast Asia, second after Singapore, and fifth in the world.

Islam is the state religion of the country.  Male and female homosexuality is illegal in Brunei. Sexual relations between men are punishable by death or whipping; sex between women is punishable by caning or imprisonment. The treatment of women is concerning, with the US State Department expressing that discrimination against women is a problem. The sale and public consumption of alcohol is forbidden. 

Concern has been expressed that the oil reserves the country depends on will only last twenty-thirty years. In the meantime, the country's wealth is evident when you visit. For example, the Sultan's palace in Muara is the largest in the world. 

Muara is a port town and the country's primary deep-water port. Our visit corresponded with the second day of Ramadan. Most stores were closed, and the few open restaurants were carry-out only because of Ramadan fasting. Side note: one couple on our ship went to the local KFC in Muara, bought a bucket of chicken, and ate it on the shuttle bus. 

On the road to Muara

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Walking around the Mosque in downtown Muara

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Replica of a 16th century barge named "Mahligai," used as a podium for recitations

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View of the entrance to a <mostly closed> mall

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