I never claimed to know much about geography but boy am I in over my head now! There's a big map in the Horizons Lounge (the one where afternoon tea is served) with a
section of our current itinerary on it week by week and I'm going to examine it. This morning we docked at the Port of Muara and our tour took us to the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace, for two centuries the ruler of all Borneo and since the early twentieth century discovery of OIL (lots) one of the world's smallest and richest countries. The Sultan of Brunei (pron. Brun-eye), i the second richest royal in the world, is a very nice man according to our guide. He builds schools and things out of his own pocket, spending two billion of his 36-some billions, and sending his 12 children to "ordinary" schools. Not a word about hs wife, only one, who bore those 12 kids. The guide said she's about 89 now and "still smiles".
There's no tax whatsoever except for the roads. There are 220 thousand people and 1.6 million cars. Gas is 53 cents a litre but water is 80 cents a gallon. (They drink river water.) Lots of perks, also lots of anomalies.
We took a river cruise to see the proboscis monkeys, now an endangered species. One of our fellow travellers with a Zoom lens caught a close-up far more detailed than my human eye could see. They are more noted for their colour than for their noses. Apparently they are born with blue-black fur; later when the fur falls off they become the orange brown of their parents. We stopped at a house on stilts and walked on a wooden walkway into the veranda for a snack. Interesting food: a coconut green custardy thing spiral wrapped in some kind of leaf. I didn't like that much as coconut goes a long way with me, too far, but I liked everything else: a curry pop, a beef curry wrapped in pastry; a deep-fried cookie thing, not sweet but salty; a spicy mixture cunningly wrapped in a banana leaf secured with three "toothpicks" made of twigs; a soft slice that looked lemon-flavoured but was not and not too sweet and quite pleasant. I skipped tea or coffee because I wanted to hang on till I returned to the ship. I din't want to use the facilities because they were inside the house proper. We were allowed to take off our shoes and take a look inside but I felt as I felt when we were allowed into a Masai mud house in Kenya, as if I were invading another person's privacy. I don't mind being a voyeur but I don't like turning another human being into an animal in a zoo on display for impersonal scrutiny.
The river cruise itself was lovely. The air temperature was all above 80 degrees F. and the humidity felt like a wet sponge so it was nice to get a little breeze from the progress of our boat: a vessel with benches on each side and - bless be - a canvas roof.
And my foot is terrific, I'm happy to say. I'm slightly aware of it but there is no pain and I[m not limping. Yea!
We sail tonight at 7 p.m. and have 2 1/2 Sea Days ahead so I'll have time to look at that map.