Very bloody hot mate

Trip Start Aug 13, 2009
1
59
81
Trip End Sep 01, 2010


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Flag of Bahrain  ,
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I arrived in Bahrain ok, didn't know about the 5 Dirians I had to pay at the airport. Lucky I got some local currency before I left.

Julie was there, god bless here, its always nice to see someone at the other end when you arrive somewhere.  She looked really well.  We stepped out into the heat and it reminded me of home.  Like a sticky hot evening in the summer, heaven after the cold weather in Scotland. 

Bahrain, sort of west meets east but west seems to have won.  High rises dominate the sky line and new development is everywhere.  Apparently Bahrain use to be a very green place, the Saudi’s coming across for the relief from the desert.  Now its to drink alcohol!  There use to be off shore springs that supplied Bahrain with water, with all the reclaiming of land from the sea they have managed to damage this supply and thus everything is now just sand.

Julie lives in a new apartment building in the middle of a sandpit.  The roads just end and you have to traverse across the sand to her place!  No landscape, no nothing.  She has a lovely red beetle which I adore and petrol  I worked out to be about 10p a litre.  Maybe I’ll get one when I get home.  Her apartment is open plan dining, kitchen and lounge with two MASSIVE bedrooms! Lovely and cool when we arrived.  It was 39 degrees outside at about 7.30pm

We had dinner at a local restaurant, its good knowing a local, the best places to eat, the best places to go, and somewhere to stay.  The good prices were pretty similar to those in Australia.  $7 for a Cesaer salad.   Bahrain is totally different to Egypt,  for one thing you can freely walk around by yourself as a woman without being hassled if you dress modestly, ie cover shoulders and knees.  You still get some looks but I feel way more comfortable in Bahrain.  Its a lot cleaner as well.  Perhaps Egypt should employ the Bangladeshies as well they literally do all the manual work in Bahrain and Dubai for pittance!

13/05/10

The next day headed to the local shopping centre to see if I could get my camera battery charged.  Camera won’t charge my batteries.. and Kodak want me to send it away for 3 weeks!! When am I going to have time to give up my camera for 3 weeks?  I thought I’d make it no worries a wee walk in the heat, just like being at home.  Well I made it just.. had to spend 10 minutes standing still in the mall while I recovered.  I had sweat just dripping off me.. I looked a bit of a sight I’d say.  I discovered that the way to travel is by car, not many people walk!

The shopping centre was modest in size when I compare them to the ones in Dubai, about 300 shops in this one.  The ones I was going to see in Dubai numbered about 1200! HUGE! I saw some Aussie shops, Jeans West and Freedom so looks like some of our companies are moving overseas.

Met up with Julie in the afternoon and we headed off to the Ritz for a couple of drinks with her teacher friends.  Apparently a weekly jaunt, their weekend is Friday, Saturday and back to work on Sunday. 

Later on in the evening we caught up with Rachel, one of the teachers and headed off to an English pub Warblers, full of men with their ladies of the night!  (Pilipino escorts..) There was a singing group performing singing pop songs.. the poor guy at the back looked so bored, checking out the talent in the room while he was singing. Then we headed off to JJs a local for the British navy men stationed in Bahrain.  It was a good night talked to a lot of guys from Britain, had a few drinks, and apparently I danced with the captain on one ship... while Julie chatted up the doctor.  Very large bouncers on the door apparently they navy guys get a little carried away sometimes!

14/05/10

Julie took me out and about today around Bahrain.  We went down to the Bahrain race track where they were having some races on. The local boys were testing out their motors against each other. There were some Ford Fiesta’s racing as well.  Maybe I should have brought Pete over with me and showed them a thing or two!

Off to the middle of the desert in Bahrain to see the Tree of Life, so called as it’s the only native remaining tree in Bahrain.  A very old tree and they can’t understand how it survives, as there is nothing else around it, just desert and lots of wind! When I touched the branches, (which were covered in graffiti I might add, they really look after their natural resources these people!) it felt like an old man’s arm, warm, wrinkly and I’d say if it could talk would have much to say.

Visited the place where oil was first discovered in the Middle East in the 1930’s.  There was a museum but apparently it is only open in business hours!  Good thinking on that one!  So this is where it all started, I wonder how different things would be if oil hadn’t been discovered in the Middle East?

Julie let me drive her car around for a little while I was visiting!  Right hand drive, my first go, thought I should see how I go as I’m planning to drive in America.  I was ok and it didn’t seem too bad, it was only when I went to park that I nearly took out the passenger side, I forgot there was a part of the car on my right! Lol

That evening we went to see the Michael Jackson tribute concert. Apparently it hasn’t gone down too well with the locals as Michael lived in Bahrain for a little while and owes the royal family a lot of money.. somehow I don’t think they’ll see any of it.  Before we went in, we went across to Fiddlers a pub linked to the hotel.  We ran into some friends of Julie’s.. they had been on brunch.  A tradition amongst the ex pats.  They start with lunch and drink all afternoon, ending up at Fiddlers and going home about 8pm.  It was like walking into a night club about 1am in the morning and you’re the only sober one!

When we walked into the concert we thought we were in the wrong place, it looked like a conference, with white projection screens and seats all covered in white in rows!  It took a little while to warm up to the impersonator, he did sound quite good!  The dancers were awesome, I found out later that the dance moves were all worked out by Michael himself for his songs.  Julie, Lee and myself were up dancing the whole time, I think the rest of the crowd stayed in their seats until the very end, no way to enjoy a concert!

15/05/10

Today Julie showed me a bit more of Bahrain, we met up with Rachel and Kate, twins currently working in this part of the world as teachers.  They had previously worked around France and Italy at the ski resorts as waitresses then as ski instructors.  They said if I was interested in working then Italy was the better place to be, you’re more immersed in the culture, where in France you are a bit more separated from it all.  We met up at the Old Palace where the sheik and all his family lived.  It was pretty cool, because they didn’t have air conditioners back then, they had these huge cooling towers that would direct the wind down into their rooms and could e blocked off in the winter.  There weren’t many windows as you could imagine and the decorative work on the doors and shutters was very intricate.

Julie then took us to this lovely cafe nearby, it was tucked away, you had to go down some really windy streets and back passages to get to it.  But it was definitely worth it.  Like an oasis in the desert, air conditioned, huge ceilings, contemporary design with water cascading down the glass ceiling and wall. 

My last visit was the Qal’ at al Bahrain Fort, on the edge of town, a 4000 year old fort.  So as old as the pyramids I saw in Egypt.  Of course it’s been built on and upgraded over the years. Now it’s a tourist attraction with a museum and apparently a great cafe right on the water edge.

In the evening I went and saw Robin Hood at the cinema within the shopping centre.  A massive complex I think about 10 cinema’s and Robin Hood was on every hour!  He looked like he trimmed down very nicely, his accent was a little dodgy, one minute English, then Irish and apparently Australian.  I thought it was a nice movie but didn’t move me like Gladiator!
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