THE MALAY TECHNOLOGY MUSEUM
Outside each bamboo and timber construction, a mannequin pretended to demonstrate the traditional chores of sago palm processing, sugar cane pressing and rice treading, as well as crafts such as weaving, boatbuilding and smithery. Perhaps mercifully, it took all of 2 minutes to sweep round in pursuit of Roberto, quite well done but just not that riveting a subject matter. The laborious work required to reduce the trunk of a sago palm down to something resembling flour was revealed in the use of a large nail toothed saw-like implement resembling a giant wire brush,and sugar cane was pressed using a kind of vertical mangle. Rice was trampled underfoot as if to free it from a husk, though I had singularly failed to find any example of this "in the field", it was the start of the planting season and the rice was immature.
Upon retracing the main road Roberto and I came across an ancient wooden totem outside the museum which must have blessed us with its spell considering our remote location. With a singular absence of buses we resorted to hitching and were soon lucky to score a lift in a shiny new 4 wheel drive monster, the young guy actually worked at the museum and was in the process of developing what had been a forgetable shipwreck exhibition. Having squared away our main priorities for the day it was a passing comment which then found us superbly ahead of expectation out at the Sultanate's main mosque, an excellent example even if we were denied entry and the photo opportunities were limited by swathes of trees. From there our suitor suggested escorting us at a spot known as Gadong, and presuming him to be in the know we were a little perplexed then to be ceremonially dropped off at a shopping mall devoid of any obvious charm or distinction. We plumped for a food court here almost in justification, coming to realise that for young guys in Brunei this was about as exciting as it got. A local bus was fortunately then more amenable here in getting us back to BSB central,