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Middle East » Bahrain » Manama
November 24th 2009
Published: November 24th 2009
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Howdy Folks

-and let us get in early and say MERRY CHRISTMAS to one and all!!

Boy has time flown - only about 30 sleeps til Christmas now, unless you’re a P addict, then its only 3!

Life is trucking along great here in Bahrain - the weather is cooling off now we’re well into winter - it was a chilling 23°C here today! - actually the temps have been quite pleasant - and it’s far more attractive to go for a walk, venturing to outside venues such as the beautiful coast side ancient Bahrain Fort, the Souq (traditional market) etc, without the need to stay so close to the AC. Last week we even had a few spits of rain - it didn’t come to anything, but had tongues wagging!

Jude has been busy with ‘Industry Visits’ - organising venues and taking her Students out to meet local businesses, - which went very well, - so although busy as a little Bee, all is going well, and Jude is well settled in with 3 months clocked up already.

We have both been enjoying keeping an eye on Kiwi sport, - we were stoked that we beat Bahrain in the soccer (and convenient it happened offshore!), have been barracking for the All Blacks and in fact we even represented NZ in a Cricket International held on local wasteland versus Australia recently!

Evidently it’s a regular fixture, and a passionate battle as is always the case against Aussie - so the scene was set - and with a good bracing of supporters, the Kiwi’s fielded first, and with a concrete strip as a pitch it was all on. Much banter in the field (apparently you don’t take the chilly bin with you while fielding, but I found it helps) and everyone had a go at bowling, yours truly included.

While the first 2 or 3 bowls (just getting my eye in) weren’t exactly threatening, I did manage to ‘sucker ball’ a couple of batting attempts which resulted in 2 caught out! I was later horrified to hear my name called out for a turn at bat - that was never meant to happen - surely by now they knew I was a bowling specialist? Oh well, I suppose that happens at the Top Level, - and I did have a Black Cap on….

Six
Beautifully preserved fort...Beautifully preserved fort...Beautifully preserved fort...

...considering it dates from as early as the 16th Century AD!
or so runs later and it was someone else’s turn - which was just as well, cos my beer was getting warm.
The Aussies pipped us at the post this time (NZ won the prev match), so with much joshing and one liners, we retired to the 15th floor rooftop pool and BBQ area of the Hosts apartment building for a few coldies and a BBQ tea we had all contributed to, - a great afternoon out had by all.

Taking advantage of the cooler weather, Jude and I recently ventured into the Souq for a good look around - usually it’s too sweltering, so timing was good. After finding a primo parking spot (and taking the precaution of slipping the GPS into Jude’s bag) we ventured forth. There is a huge array of treasures to be found in the market - souvenirs, DVD players, cameras, watches, suitcases, kitchen stuff - including cooking pots the size of a wringer washing machine bowl, traditional and western clothes - you name it!

Stall holders/shop keepers vie for your attention, desperately urging you inside, and passionately showing you their goods. Haggling is expected, and all in good spirit, the key being to keep a big smile on your face! Walking away usually brings the price right down too of course.

A tip for young players is to take a note of which shops you’ve been in to (harder than it sounds) - we very nearly went back in to a shop we’d “walked away from” not realising it was the same shop. As I said to Jude, “He’s just finished say FFF, and we (mistakenly)reappear!

The Souq roads are often as wide as a NZ footpath, yet you still see a steady stream of cars, Landcruisers, vans and the like edging down them.
If the driver doesn’t have a mobile phone to their ear - or texting, - they’ve dropped it!

We had a laugh, finding most of what we were looking for, experiencing the colour and carnival of it all, and despite doing some back-tracking, we managed to navigate our way out - just as the GPS was being fired up! Back to the car to find our primo car-park was actually a taxi stand LOL - oh well!

Oh by the way - we bought a car! Over half of the Expats take a long term rental car - others buy. We did the sums and bought an ’06 Nissan Tiida - a real minter and the culmination of much tyre kicking and some hilarious test drives. About 1982 my first car was a Datsun 1600 - boy have I moved ahead LOL. Mechanical repairs over here are very cheap because of the low cost of labour - about $NZ40 for a days’ work + parts.

One Toyota I test drove with a mate looked dodgy right from the start - the speedo clearly tampered with, signs of a prang, etc etc, - but took it for a drive with the Arab owner anyway, - into traffic, cough cough splutter, still doing 60 km/hr but no motor, - oh well - into the nearest driveway and “See ya later Bro” lol

Along with a new Mate, Wayne, from Whangarei, (another house hubby at the mo) I’ve recently found myself volunteered to build props for the stage show Oliver - to be performed by a new kids theatre group. All good, what’s required?
“2 tables, 4 bench seats, a platform to be suspended between 2 sets of stairs, a coffin and 2 lids”!

They must have heard of my letterbox efforts in Matiere!

We’ve certainly had some laughs - a major challenge being finding tools, finding timber and all within a modest budget. They haven’t heard of square drive screws here yet, and handsaws are pretty rough, but it all came together in the end - despite Wayne disappearing offshore at a convenient time (to him!).

We became great mates with the 100 or so Indian blokes at a nearby timber-yard we seemed to visit daily. Some days it seemed more time was spent on organising lunch - and then of course there was the lunchtime swim to cool off! So if you need a coffin, and are in no hurry at all, give me a call!

So far we have hosted one monthly Book Club evening at our apartment, - all very casual, - beer/wine and pizza supplied at cost, and a chance to catch up and return/choose books from the collection we provide a home for. We had about 20 people visit, a good bunch of expats.
We ended up watching a movie as well, a good time had by all with plenty of bottles to be recycled the next day!

Myrtle the pushbike has continued to impress, and has been fair hurtling about the place. Jude carpools with Roger our neighbour, so every second day she has the car - it works well. So with mail from NZ now coming thru (finally) to our PO Box, (75397, Bahrain) there’s a regular fang over to Juffair to collect mail, down to the Brit Club to work on props, - or socialise, and collection of paint, errands etc.

Just yesterday I collected 5 litres of paint, + roller trays and hurtled home no worries. I do need to get one pedal adjusted where a power take-off* seemed to bend it a bit. (* its amazing how much strength you can find when a bus is bearing down on ya!) .

Being the only Honky on an Indian Hero model still gets plenty of looks - a well dressed local businessman stopped me the other day while I was hurtling thru a local street called ‘Carpet Alley’. He said “Can I ask you one question? Do you enjoy riding it?” LOL, He beamed with my positive answer and wished me a happy day.

With the evenings drawing in much earlier now - sun’s down by 5.15pm - I had occasion recently to activate, for the first time, Myrtles onboard lighting system, - on the way home from the British Club as it so happens.WOW - what a beam! With hardly any resistance (Powered by Heinie of course) the light cut a conduit thru the Adliya darkness, while up the rear, the red tail light was aglow - I was well impressed, and completed the Club > Home journey in 2.5 minutes.

We have a looong weekend this weekend because of EID - a religious holiday - so we have SIX days off! That’s what I call a decent weekend. Then, 2 weeks later, we’re off to Chiang Mai, Thailand for Christmas hols. We headed inland to avoid stupid high season pricing - and so we can hire some bikes to go riding - and it comes well recommended by Mates.

There’ll be another blog episode very shortly - this side of Christmas, but in the meantime all the best in surviving the ‘silly season’!!

Pete and Jude



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24th November 2009

Hello
Hello and thank you so much for the lovely newsy letter and piks to bring us up to date with your adventures! I loved it all, but didnt like seeing my best frined standing up in that coffin - I dont like that at all! Lots of love and keep having fun. xxxx
28th November 2009

Merry Christmas to the both of you as well.
Hi Guys, So good to catch up with what you have been up to. It all looks and sounds like fun to me. Derek and I have just today got home from a two week stint around the Sth Island on the bikes. One and a half hours rain in the whole two weeks - not too bad ah!! The wind on the other hand was hellish in places!! We are off to Egypt in June and then onto England and Scotland. Had thought about Dubai as well but might have to leave it for the next time. Take care and Love to you both. Chrissi and Derek.
1st December 2009

Fanastic......
Hi there guys........this sounds fanastic and what a great writer you are Pete - most amusing! Sorry haven't been in touch, not a lot of spare time when you're retired....you'd understand that! All good here.....will write a long one later..... Enjoy - keep smiling! Jx
4th December 2009

Hi from Pippa
You seem to be settling into life very happily. With his cricket expertise, Vettori could be looking for him! It has been nice to have a look at the Blog.

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