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Entries in Bahrain (1)


bahrainsmall.jpgIf you’re like me, you probably have no idea where Bahrain even is. And the “h” is not silent. In fact, it is very aggressively pronounced. The Kingdom of Bahrain is a tiny island connected to Saudi Arabia by a 15 mile causeway which happens to be the world’s most expensive bridge. Let’s just hope Bush can keep it in his pants for a few more days about this region until we’re out of here. Really though, it’s completely safe. Not exactly Western, but not an Al Qaeda training camp either. It’s an interesting mix of traditional dress, values and culture with capitalism, growth, and massive construction.

IMG_3181.JPGThere’s not much to do here. We’ve asked countless people to give us some ideas of ways to fill a few days, but they all just stare back blankly at us with that “why are you here in the first place” sort of look. I managed to let Joy talk me into going to the National Museum (since it’s air conditioned), although there were no exhibits about food so my attention span started to give out a few minutes in. We were going to go see the old Portuguese Fort on the way, but our driver insisted there was no such thing since he didn’t know quite how to get to it. There’s also an oil museum with the feature highlight of the region’s first oil well, but we decided to skip it since there was no gift shop.

Like Dubai, the primary means of entertainment is going to malls. It’s REALLY hot here – the kind of hot where walking even a few blocks is completely out of the question. Which is a real pain because taxis do not use meters here. Each ride is its own unique haggling situation, often heated, until a “reasonable” price is agreed upon around halfway through the ride. Threats from our side of “We will get out of this cab right now” and threats from their side of “I will turn this cab around right now” abound. Luckily English is spoken widely, making this delicate dance more tolerable.

IMG_3201.JPGThe best part about being here though is that I look like I belong. Granted I’m not in the head to toe white sheet thingies that all the other guys are in, but if I were I’d completely blend in. I even went without shaving for two weeks to heighten the effect. It was nice finally being somewhere that I couldn’t immediately be pegged as a tourist. It kind of makes me wonder why I’m not stopped in airports more often.