Sea Peebles


joylani 130pxYou probably can’t tell from this picture, but this mosque is covered in sea “peebles.” That’s right, sea pebbles. According to the caretaker, sea peebles are difficult to get these days because the place where they come from has put a curb on exports. But Brunei is trying to secure a load of sea peebles to refinish the outside of the mosque during the current renovation process. At least that’s what the caretaker told us. It is a beautiful mosque, with very clean and simple lines. And, I must say, that up close the sea peeble exterior is far more beautiful than ordinary paint. In addition to the mosque, the only other thing that we went to go see that we somewhat enjoyed was the Brunei Museum. Highlights were all on the first floor where there’s a little wing of Islamic art, an oil gallery (which would have been informative if I had had the patience to read through everything), and a natural history section. This part consisted of exhibits on different types of wildlife in Brunei. There were a lot of taxidermied specimens including a proboscis monkey and mouse deer (it’s a really small deer, rat-sized, but still with hooves and deerish features) which were interesting to see, especially since we didn’t do any trekking in Borneo. Many of the animals that have been collected have been killed in traffic and brought in by locals for preservation and study. So there was a section about this, but I found having a road kill section was a bit strange. It reminded me of the Red Asphalt video they make you watch in drivers education. More surprising than the road kill section, however, was a temporary exhibit of photos by Edward Curtis. He spent many years doing ethnographic work with various Native American tribes, including taking some beautiful photographs. After having a string a bad luck in terms of timing and visiting museums/exhibits that have been closed or moved, it was fun to catch this one during the beginning of its two-week showing in Brunei. It’s been in the news both on the radio and in the paper, the later of which the US Ambassador was quoted as saying something about the “shadows” that had tragically disappeared into the sunset. I thought that was quite euphemistic of him.

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