First Day in Bahrain

Bahrain's flag
Middle East » Bahrain » Manama
March 5th 2011
Published: March 6th 2011
Edit Blog Post

This content requires Flash
To view this content, JavaScript must be enabled, and you need the latest version of the Adobe Flash Player.
Download the free Flash Player now!
 Video Playlist:

1: Shaikh Salman Highway 25 secs
Jason's HouseJason's HouseJason's House

This is typical of the area. These are individual family homes but very tightly packed.
I left Minnesota at 8:00pm Thursday on a direct flight to Amsterdam which arrived there at 11:00am Friday. That's about eight hours travel and a seven hour time difference. I passed part of the three hour layover there by visiting a branch of the Riks Museum and just wandering around checking out the shops and people. A seven hour flight with two more hours of time change got me to Bahrain at 10:00pm Friday night. Bahrain is a relatively small airport but very busy. Customs and immigration went very smoothly and Jason met me in the lobby. He is only about 15 min from the airport so we were at his place by 11:00. Needless to say, spending 20 hours in travel is not pleasant but all went well considering!

Slept thru the night with the help of a "magic" pill and I think I am past any jet lag. We had a leisurely morning and then headed out for some sight seeing. More about that later because the real excitement happened on the way home as our route took us on a major road near the Pearl Roundabout. We found ourselves in the middle of a protest involving several
Small ParadeSmall ParadeSmall Parade

This group appeared just as we were approaching the Pearl Roundabout area.
thousand people!

It was peaceful and I don't think we were ever in any danger. But, there was some definite excitement in the air. There were not many people at the Roundabout itself. The strategy seemed to be to line the road for 4-5 miles waving flags and signs and chanting. There were also people in cars, trucks and buses (some people on top) honking in a distinctive rhythm. This was along a major and busy thoroughfare and traffic was backed up and often not moving. I wish I had been better prepared as a photographer but I hope the accompanying photos and video will give you some feel for what it was like. Again, things were very peaceful with little sign of police or military. Everyone seemed to be in a celebratory mood. Also, as we got closer to the Grand Mosque, it became difficult to determine if the demonstrators were pro-government or anti! We saw several hand made signs calling for unity of Shia and Sunni in support of change in government instead of thinking of this as a Shia against Sunni issue.

All in all it took us nearly an hour to travel what normally
Pearl RoundaboutPearl RoundaboutPearl Roundabout

You can see that this area has been well settled now. People are living there in tents. And, of course, a small industry has also moved in to sell everything from food to souvenirs.
would have been ten minutes, but it was well worth it. Some of the shots are a bit blurry but it was the best I could do. The pictures really don't do the scene justice because you can't grasp the scope. I suppose if you imagined University Ave from the Capital to the U of M lined with cheering, chanting, flag-waving people with cars and buses honking as they passed you might get the idea.

So I think this is enough for the first day!

Additional photos below
Photos: 9, Displayed: 9


Royal Family in BackgroundRoyal Family in Background
Royal Family in Background

Ironically, you can see a large billboard with faces of the Royal Family which overlooks the Roundabout!
Protesters Line the RoadProtesters Line the Road
Protesters Line the Road

This is the road heading away from the roundabout toward the main part of town.
Protest VanProtest Van
Protest Van

This van was particularly active. We saw many people displaying the Bahrain Dinar like the guy on the right. But, we have yet to find out what it signifies! I think it has a picture of the King on it.
Protest BusProtest Bus
Protest Bus

These large buses were everywhere and it seems that they delivered people to the march and then followed along.

Tot: 0.429s; Tpl: 0.012s; cc: 8; qc: 54; dbt: 0.0131s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb