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Middle East » Bahrain » Manama
March 24th 2018
Published: September 22nd 2018
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Bahrain


A few days after returning from Baku I headed to the Duran Duran concert down at Dubai Internet City meeting some friends at the Radisson pre-concert before heading on to the concert amphitheatre. It was an excellent venue and although the booze was way to expensive, the lightshow and the atmosphere was top notch.

Duran Duran kicked off quite late on a warm evening and the performance was first rate almost all the old hits were performed as well as a few decent new songs.

A week later Ruth arrived in Dubai I met her at the airport on the Thursday evening and took her to my apartment and helped her settle in she seemed to like the view over The Creek. Next day we set off for the Marina taking a taxi because it was Friday and the trains don’t start running till midday. We all met at Chris’ house first and consumed his beer stocks before taking the short walk to the Marina itself and the yacht that we would be celebrating my birthday on. I think all eight of us (Chis, Rina, Sana, Anthony, Al and Mike) were impressed by the size of the boat it
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Al Khamis Mosque
was huge. There were a couple of bars running and a buffet and burger bar, so we settled in for the food and the booze as the ship headed out to sea.

We circled the Palm Jumeirah and headed north up the coast towards the Burj Al Arab looping out towards the World Island before returning to the Marina. The food was ok the booze plentiful the weather great for Dubai and the company excellent. After the trip we returned to Chris’s for a time then five of us went in search of Karaoke Bar in Bur Dubai, my poor Ruth was pretty tired from the flight, so we headed off home.

Next morning, we decided to go to the Mall, big mistake that, she kept me walking around there for hours and hours and hours LOL, I didn’t mind we visited the aquarium as well which wasn’t to bad given some of the idiots in that were in there. We then headed to the Burj Khalifa but there were so many people that we decided to come back another time. I was going to take Ruth to a restaurant I favour in the Souq Medinat but it
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Al Khamis Mosque
was closed so we headed to an Italian place near mine, excellent food. Next morning was my birthday and we rose at 4am and walked a few streets away to a nearby hotel to meet a representative of a local hot air ballooning company, today we would tick a box and go hot air ballooning over the desert for the first time.

It took about thirty minutes driving up the Al Ain road before we turned off into the desert arriving at the start point as the darkness began to fade with the early light of dawn. About half a dozen balloons were being inflated with the burning gas providing most of the light, it took about twenty minutes to inflate the balloons and soon we were scampering into a large basket with about 20 other people. On the next hour or two we floated over the desert enjoying the peace of the morning and watching the on-board bird of prey circling over the desert. We were also luck enough to see some local wildlife including a Goitered Gazelle and what looks like a Houbara Bustard from the air.

The whole trip was exciting, and the landing was cool as well after we were driven back to my place where we chilled till the evening when we visited the very good Thai place down the road. The next day I took Ruth out to the new billion-dollar Dubai Zoo which was pretty impressive from a distance but not so impressive inside. It is a zoo where you get bussed around everywhere, we had a bust up with some arrogant Arab bastard who thought it was fine to close the curtains on the bus. We had a good day and Ruth got to see me drive on the crazy UAE roads. On the final full day, we visited Bidi Bondi out on the Palm before heading to the Burj Khalifa and going up on the 146th floor to enjoy the views over the city and the desert, Dubai is basically a low-level city with a clump or two of high-rises and a string more following running the length of Sheikh Zayed road I could see my home and office clearly. The next day my wife was heading home so we spent our last day together visiting the Thai Restaurant again before I took her to the airport to see her off I was disappointed that we couldn’t have a coffee or something before she went but business class didn’t have a café or anything, so we said our farewells who knows when we will meet again.

A couple of weeks later I was boarding a flight to Bahrain one of the few countries in the region I have not visited. I arrived in the early evening and was surprised that my cab driver was a Bahraini this would never be the case in the UAE, it seems that all cab drivers are Bahraini which I believe gives the traveller better introduction to the country. My aged hotel is in the area near where the Shaikh Isa Bin Salman Causeway connects to the city proper and has several bars and clubs within its walls. My room as unavailable so they gave me an apartment at the end of a long dark corridor all very unexpected.

After a poor breakfast I headed off down the street looking for a cash machine, I didn’t get very far when a cab pulled over next to me, I decided to negotiate a journey to the sights I was keen to visit around Manama. First however I need money then we were off to Al Khamis Mosque the oldest in Bahrain and its small but interesting museum, we arrived early in the day and as a result we had the place to ourselves and took the opportunity to read about the country’s history.

Next was the Barbar Temple complex dedicated to Enki the god of Wisdom in the third century BC it is reasonably well preserved considering its great age. Next came the burial mounds near the village of A’Ali dating from the Dilmun era they number in the thousands and were an interesting sight surrounded by people’s homes.

Next the driver took me to Bahrain’s impressive fort complex and its equally impressive museum, this UNESCO Heritage listed fort was built by the Portuguese in the 16th Century on top of other buildings dating back as long as 5000 years. The moated fort is in great condition and I enjoyed walking the complex for a considerable period. After wandering around the museum, I asked the driver to take me to the British built Bab Al Bahrain or the Gateway to Bahrain the entrance to Manama’s Souq. I wandered the streets for many hours stopping at a small Nepalese restaurant to eat veggie momo before navigating my way through the maze of streets finally popping out near a skyscraper with a wind farm on it.

A kilometre or two down the road was the Bahrain National Museum I little underwhelming compared to many other museums in the region but good for a walk around, by time I emerged it was getting extremely hot so I looked for a cab, unlike the UAE cabs are a rarity here but eventually I got one back to my hotel.

Horrific night, the clubs raged till 3am closing and then the Saudi bastards brought the party back to their rooms so even after several complaints they went on till dawn and I had no sleep. I left the hotel around nine meeting the taxi driver from yesterday outside the hotel, today we would go further afield visiting the beautifully renovated fort at Riffa before continuing to Bahrain’s F1 track although security there was heavy, and I couldn’t get in. The final destination of the day was the Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve which was disappointing to say the least, yes there were a few species I had not seen much off before but for the most part it was just another zoo with forlorn looking animals.

It was time to head back to Manama and the airport I was pretty exhausted which made me easy picking for a dirt bag Arab scammer I won’t go into details but even now when I think of it I get angry.

Bahrain probably isn’t worth the effort to travel to, just about everything there can be found in other more pleasant Gulf destinations still it is one more country struck off the list.


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