Friday, 15 July 2011

Happy Birthday to the Sultan of Brunei!

Today is the Sultan of Brunei's 65th birthday.  It would be tricky to forget this date as there are signs and banners all over the country to remind us - plus it's a public holiday in celebration!

I have to say, I'm a big fan of the Sultan.  He seems like a genuinely nice chap - and I say that having met him a couple of times over the last year.  Brunei is a small country, and he's often 'out and about' meeting and greeting the locals (who adore him).  And of course, he often attends military events, such as the Hari Raya Open House at the Officers' Mess.

I also like the way that there are so many photos of him smiling, as well as more formal ones.  I think he's a very handsome man.

This morning we were up super-early as Rob had had an invitation to the birthday parade in the centre of Bandar.  Unfortunately it was only an invitation for him, so he dressed up smartly in his uniform and got a comfortable and shaded seat in the stands, while I was looking distinctly scruffy and had to watch the parade over the fence.  However, I still had a great time and really enjoyed wandering around taking photos of the spectacle.

Local TV cameras out in force.

So many important-looking people in their finery.  I think this headgear is wonderful.

The mosque was a stunning backdrop to the proceedings.

The Crown Prince arrives.

Huge motorcade, lots of cheering and flag-waving...

It's the Sultan!

What could these be for?
BOOM!!!!  Oh yes, the 21-gun salute!  Wow, that was LOUD.

The Sultan walks out to inspect the troops.

And returns in his fabulous gold landrover!

 The flypast, which included 2 of my neighbours (1 in a helicopter, the other in a plane).

The Sultan gives me a wave as he leaves..!

The Sultan's brother leaves in an amazing purple Rolls Royce.

Who doesn't love a man in uniform?  Rob looking very dashing.

I really enjoy events such as this in Brunei; after all it's what living here is all about in my mind, appreciating the history and culture of a different country.  I'll never get this experience again, so am trying so hard to make the most of it.  Next excitement - the Sultan's birthday 'White Ball' at the Istana (Palace) on Sunday night!

But until then, Happy Birthday Your Majesty!


At Anna's kitchen table said...

Great photos Kate!
Indeed, Happy Birthday to his Majesty!

Elisabeth said...

I loved seeing the whole goegoeus spectacle. Also, as my birthday is next month, I am going to start looking around for someone to walk behind me carrying a lovely yellow umbrella! Great idea!

Foodiva said...

Wow, what brilliant photos, Kate! You had a really good vantage point, dare I say better than your husband in the stands. Makes me wish a little that I made the effort to be there, but I've seen this spectacle too many times in my life that the novelty just isn't there anymore (as much as we love No. 1!).

I think the best photo, and the best caption too is the flypast with your two neighbours inside the planes. That's just a scream, so exciting! The only thing MY neighbours fly seem to be their Brunei flags...haha. Great post!

Norm said...

Thanks all, it was a fun morning! Maya, I'm with you on the novelty wearing off with these things (it was a long morning, and SO hot as I wasn't in the shade) but I like to go and experience them once! My plane-flying neighbour was apparently ill on Friday, so wasn't flying, but my other neighbour was definitely in the helicopter - the right hand one with the red smoke!

Venie said...

wow! Thank u for sharing this. I am in Brunei and is very proud of our Sultan too :) Happy belated birthday to his majesty. Oh yes, FYI, we're going to have a celebration of fire works, the Sultan's visit his ppl in all 4 district and many more.

more in


Norm said...

Nice to 'meet' you Venie! Thanks for the link to the website. There's certainly a lot going on here as part of the birthday celebrations.

Vanessa said...

Hi there! I just stumbled across your blog. As a Bruneian who has been living in Australia for nearly 10 years, I always LOVE hearing a visitor's perspective on Brunei. And I love that you sound so nice and have all these good things to share from your experience! THANK YOU so much for blogging about Brunei! Made me felt really nostalgic, especially as its been years since I am able to go back and enjoy the festivities of His Majesty's birthday! :(

Norm said...

Hi Vanessa! Lovely to see you. We're only here in Brunei for 2 or 3 years, so we're trying to do and see as much as we can while we're here. It's such a great experience to live abroad for a while.

I hope you get back to visit Brunei sometimes - I'm sure you miss it, although Australia sounds great too (I've never been but would love to).

Best wishes,