Friday, June 27, 2008

Brunei: The Gulf Cooperation Councils’ 7th the state

Only in Brunei will you find this much peace in a country's capital

Happy, friendly people

Most people have hard time pin pointing where Brunei is on the map of the world. Even if you look for it, it’s not easy to find this tiny sultanate. Ironically, it’s famous for prince Jeffery’s wild spending antics, including giving a waiter a tip of over $ 150,000/-.

The main and only theater in down town

The main Down Town Shopping Mall area During the week without a single person around

This rich little state should ideally be in the Arabian Gulf, but somehow, millions of years ago, when continents were moving, it was pushed far away from us. Everything about it, resemble our states, it’s a carbon copy of the GCC, from its small population size( population estimated at 350,000 only), to its economy which is depend on oil and gas, to its judicial system (which is loosely based on Islam), to the amount of power its royal family has, to its tax free economy to even the heavily state subsidies perks its people get.

Water fall in the Capital

Architecture Bernie Style

Brunei is lush green and its capital Bander Seri Bhagwan, is tiny and dies out completely by 8 p.m. The place is so peaceful and safe. You really forget that you are in a county’s capital. The floating village, housing constructed by the government, is a major highlight of the country and I found it amazing how a capital in this day and age exist with most of its population living on water! Adding its calmness is sighting monkeys walking around its capital, without fear of getting harmed. People in Brunei are nice, with a great sense of pride, good natured, and with big smiles.

Brunei style mosque

Down Town

The country’s roads, parks and basic facilities are in immaculate condition. And just like GCC countries, Brunei has is its own white elephants from its free, non-functioning, amusement park, to its Empire Hotel, a dazzling, mind boggling empty hotel. This country is pleasant but unless you have a couple of days to spare and want to do something for the sake of doing it, I would not recommend stopping here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thing that make you say hmmmmmmmmmmmmm in the Philippines

So what’s the name of your resort again?

All this in a one room with one table and no one manning it !!!

Filipino Five “O”

Now this kind of exclusive store is a first for me!!

So who’s store is it?

How do you know that your fork and spoon are clean in the Philippines?

What was the last sentence there !!!!!!!!!!!

Is that saying what I think???

Baywatch Filipino style

No the laundry lady is not naked or hot or has a room !!!!


Skinny dipping anyone

Ferrari Filipino style

Friday, June 06, 2008

Philippines: Great food, abundance of homosexuals and lots of burping!

Manila form the sky

My headline is not meant to offend but to give people my perception of what I thought was unusual about the country. I apologize if I offend people with my perception. Now into the topic.

The city from the sea

My perception of Manila was it will be run down with poor infrastructure. To my surprise Makati, in Manila, boots some world class commercial centers with great, up scale leisure areas. The Filipino food is amazing, and I can have it over and over, even though it is very smelly and I won’t try cooking it at home again. I am surprised that the Filipino cuisine is not famous!
The offical Center Point of the Philippines

The shopping was great, but finding my cloths size was not always easy. In Makati several mall are attached to one another through skywalks making it an endless shopping experience. Funnily, there are police and metal detectors at the entrance of each mall, every skywalk and hotels, but they hardly do anything and you can pass it with a nuclear bomb the size of horse and they would not ask you anything. Interestingly, all of Makati is owned by one family!!
A church in the old city

On the historic side, sadly most monuments or the old city has been destroyed during World War II. However, you can get a glimpse of how great and massive the old city was. Some Spanish and American monuments still stand and testament to this great city. Other attraction include walking around the 0 kilometer post, all distances in the Philippines are measured from this point, is a must as there are lots of attractions around it, like the main parade area, the flag commemorate the independence of the Philippines, status with their founding fathers, their heroes, massive gardens, the lovers lane and the Ocean Park.

The founding fathers.

The eye opener for me was that burping is common and not forbidden in public or at work. So you can be having a massage, eating dinner or in the hotel talking to the staff and suddenly you hear a burp and no one would pay any attention. I was disgusted, although I do burp but not in these kind of situations.

The original hero, Lapu Lapu who killed the Magellan.

As for the homosexuals, the Philippines even tops San Francisco, they are everywhere and I guess its more common to see them because it’s acceptable. I was even told they have their own lingo too. In the Philippines it seemed that there is something wrong if half an hours passes by and you don’t see a gay person! This is not like Thailand, with some transvestites and transsexuals, the Filipinos gays are being them themselves, without the costumes and all the flare. This seemed unusual.

The National hero, in his last moments

Overall, the Philippines is a great place travel and even better for English speakers, since the whole country speaks it, however, if the roads out of Manila were paved between cities and town, it would be worth while spending at least 2 months looking around this beautiful country. Otherwise you would be spending most of your time in a bumpy car rid or a boat instead of sight seeing.