16 October 2007
Everybody was looking forward to the weekend anyway because Hari Raya would start. For those who are not so familiar with the Muslim culture, Hari Raya literally means day of celebration or feast of the breaking of the fast, and it marks the end of the Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. Finally on Friday night they announced that the first day of Hari Raya will be on Saturday, which meant for me that I would be of Saturday, Sunday and Monday, because Hari Raya lasts three whole days and they are all public holidays.
My first day of Hari Raya was quite busy since we got invited to go to three open houses that day. Open house means that people open their house to family and friends to celebrate with them and it always involves a lot of food Hari Raya is a bit similar to our Christmas. People also decorate their house with lights and things like that and small children get a small gift (money) and everybody gets together to eat and talk. So at 10a.m in the morning the “adventure” started. Shinta, (she is the wife of the American golf pro teaching at the Empire) who lives across the street picked Heidi and me up and we went to our first house. This was an Indonesian family. Our second stop was at HJ’s place, he also works at the Empire. This place was so different compared to the first place. There was a lot of gold everywhere and the food over there was Bruneian food, which is quite different to the Indonesian food we had at the first place. Our final stop for that day was at an African family. You could really see how every place is different from the other. Every nationality celebrates Hari Raya a bit different but they all have one thing in common: food!! When we got home around 4p.m I was so full I couldn’t see food anymore So the rest of the day I was just lazy and prepared myself for the next day of “eating”!
Sunday, the second day of Hari Raya, Heidi and I were invited to an open house again. This time it was just across the street at Shinta’s place. So we went there around noon and the whole eating started again Every open house is somehow the same, you meet new people from all different kind of countries and you always have to answer the same question. What are you doing in Brunei, why did you choose Brunei etc. When we were just about to leave, some familiar faces entered the house. It was Rolf (the German pilot who helped me to get my new placement at the Empire) and together with him more German pilots with their families. The Sultan has in total three planes and for those three planes he always has 9 German pilots from Lufthansa working for him. It was nice to talk German for a while and when they left, Heidi and me took advantage to also go home and relax for a bit till it was time for dinner. So after a nice nap we got ready to go over again for dinner. We had a nice evening talking to all different kind of people again. One family even offered us to take as to the rainforest!! I definitely look forward to that, because I was supposed to go on a trip to the national park with Sunshine (my old placement company) but well I quitted before I got the chance to go.
Today my annoying roommate Rainbow woke me up quite rude. Rainbow (stupid name isn’t it?!) who had her whole Chinese family over at our place at 8 am to pick her up. And Chinese people are so loud and don’t have any respect. At around one it was time to meet with Shinta again because she offered us to take us to the palace. That was quite an experience because the palace of the Sultan is only open those three days every year. After we arrived there somebody handed us a golden plate and we first had a nice lunch before the waiting started. I was actually surprised how fast it went. I expected to wait way longer to get to the Queen and shake her hand. Females are only allowed to shake the hand of the Queen and the wife of the Crown prince and the male are allowed to meet with the Sultan and the Crown prince. In total we had to wait for about 2 hours and then everything was over in one minute. You just walk in shake her hand and wish her “Selamat Hari Raya”, which more or less means “Happy Hari Raya” and that’s it. On your way out you get a goody box with something to drink and eat and a card with the picture of the Sultan, stating your visitor number. Mine was 48077 and that’s it. Small boys get in addition 5B$ each. So you can imagine that the Sultan gives away quite some money on those three day, but for him it’s nothing I guess!!
I must say I really enjoy this Hari Raya weekend. I met a lot of nice new people. Unfortunately tomorrow will be a regular working day again. And after three days off it’s always hard to go back to “normal”.
Talk to you next week again.
Bye x Sabine
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16 October 2007
Voll interessant das alles zu lesen Ich hab das damals leider alles gar nicht mitbekommen, da ich Anfang Oktober schon wieder zurück nach Deutschland geflogen bin - was natürlich auch schön war *grins*
16 October 2007
Sounds really nice ur Hari Raya weekend. A lot of people u met there. No time to be bored I think so.. I'm allready looking for work here in Holland, aaah serious life begins!
16 October 2007
Hi Sabine, it sound really nice the Hari Raya weekend, I went twice to Brunei and till now I still missed this every time! Enjoy your time! Love, Arielle
United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi
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