And I’m back. Well, I’ve been back in the country of tea and biscuits for nearly a week, but getting thrust back into work and having a slew of TV shows to catch-up are just the perfect excuses I’m using for not having blogged until now. Why I didn’t blog while I was in Bahrain? Well, I have no excuses for that.
I had an excellent time over there. Though, and there seems to be a running theme with this post already, I sadly didn’t take that many photos. At all. Excuses? None. Apologies? LOTS! Eh.. a few.
Bahrain was not at all what I was expecting. Though, to be honest, I hadn’t really formed a picture of what to expect from the tiny place. An island that would fit comfortably within the M25 surrounding London. It’s hot. That’s for sure. The heat hit me as soon as the doors opened at the airport. I had walked into an oven. And it was only 10am. Adjusting to the heat took some getting used to. But hopping from an air-conditioned car to air-conditioned buildings soothed that pain fairly easily.
The first weekend was a blur of shopping and cooking. Hosting a dinner party a couple of days after I landed for the OH’s work colleagues. Here’s just a few of the things we made. Well, I say we. He did most of the work.
The menu consisted of a traditional bruscetta and a caramelised onion and goat’s cheese bruscetta, main course was a tower of breaded aubergine with marinara sauce and mozzarella with an apple, fennel & walnut salad and dessert was a lemon and ginger granita served in frozen lemons. Sadly, didn’t photograph the salad, or bruscetta. Blame the insane cooking schedule.
There was some sight-seeing as well. I learnt that, probably, the most popular activity to do in Bahrain is going to the mall. The many, many malls that they have there. It’s just so hot out, the air-conditioned respite of malls are a good option. Managed to make my way to 3 of Manama’s malls – City Center, Seef Mall and The Bahrain Mall. They are all huge. City Center being the biggest. Were it not for the Arabic writing on some shop signage, there’s no doubt in my mind I’d have thought I was in America or the UK. Seriously. Debenhams, Next, M&S, Cold Stone Creamery, PF Chang’s, Fuddrucker’s, Burger King, McD’s, Subway, Nandos – EVERYTHING. The list is endless.
Sightseeing wasn’t top on my agenda. I just wanted to see what Bahrain was like. Though we did manage to make it to Bahrain Fort. A UNESCO World Heritage site dating from 2300BC and was only just uncovered in the 1950s. Had it not been so hot, we would have explored more. But with the 40 degree sun beating down on us, it was more of a quick walk around, take some photos, then find some air conditioning.
Visiting the fort is free. But there’s also a museum attached to the area that you have to pay to go into. It’s fairly small. And when we were there it was EMPTY. We had the whole museum to ourselves. Not joking. There was no one else there but the security guards. Felt a little strange. But how many people can say they’ve had a museum all to themselves?
Bahrain’s capital city, Manama, just doesn’t seem to sleep. At all. There’s a buzz constantly, at all hours. Which is kind of nice. Going out after the OH’s done with work at 2am was no issue. Went to Amwaj, to a place called Muju. Relaxed, had drinks, watched the sunrise and then went in search for breakfast. Brilliant night.
Sightseeing for me also meant a visit to one of Bahrain’s hospitals. Yes. A hospital. Don’t worry, nothing serious. But of all things for me to develop while I’m there – bronchitis. You could have predicted that. Honestly. My body is useless. Though, happy to say, my experience of the healthcare in Bahrain was pretty amazing. Sure I was paying and went to, arguably, the best hospital in Bahrain and had connections to help me see a doctor fairly quickly, but it all went smoothly. I was in and out with some medication in no more than forty-five minutes. I’d call that a win.
I knew Bahrain has a massive expat community. The majority of the population are expats. I’m talking from India, America, England, the Philipines. So many places. But the place does have a very American feel to it. Okay, I’ve only experienced America once, but with all the American franchises and the US base right there, it’s got the American vibe.
Before I knew it, my time was up in Bahrain and I had to make my way back to England. Time felt like it went entirely too quickly as well as feeling like I’d been there for ages. But I do know I’ll be heading back out there soon.