Bandar Seri Begawan is not a very large city but well laid out and easy for the tourist with most of its major attractions based on culture and history laid out by its river waterfront.
After 9 rounds at the rate of two games a day, Friday morning saw the conclusion of the first tournament with Indonesian WGM Irene Sukandar and Indian FIDE Master Ramnath Bhuvanesh emerging winners and earning International norms, the first for Irene and the final for Ramnath! (do see one of the many reports at http://reports.chessdom.com/news-2010/1st-brunei-title-tournament)
While young chessplayers would be chessplayers and moved on to blitz, Facebook, and shopping, I decided to take an afternoon tour of the city.
I call it the Sultan’s Father’s Mosque!
Highlights for me were the stories of 29 Sultans of Brunei, whose rules and lifetimes had simply everything you could imagine, the wonderful extravagance of a Royalty with wealth second to none, and seeing how the people of Brunei live, work, and play with their own identity intact and evolving notwithstanding the obvious influences of its neighbouring countries, the western world, and parallels that can be drawn with some of the Gulf states.
This is at the centre of the waterfront area and although now modernised with water and electricity and internal furnishings that would rival a luxury condominium, it represents a major link to Brunei’s past as is therefore well preserved with the full support of the government.