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!