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Published: March 12th 2011
Bahrain Air Base
This is a somewhat secretive US air base which is used to support the action in Iraq and Afghanistan. People stationed there can't leave the base.
I returned to Bahrain from Dubai Thursday evening and just hung out with Dan and Jason. Turns out that Dan is an excellent cook and he made a wonderful chicken curry. He says that when he is back in California with his wife that he does all of the cooking! Jason really knows how to pick a roommate.
We had a leisurely start Friday morning which is the first day of the weekend here. Then Jason and I headed south into the desert in search of adventure. Our main objective was the Bahrain Oil Museum. Along the way we stopped at a major landmark called "The Tree of Life". This is a large old tree (no one seems to know how old). Which is growing right out of the desert sand! As is typical in Bahrain, we had to really search to find it since there are no road signs or any indication that this tree is anything special. Once outside the developed area around Manama, things really get desolate. Think west Texas. Nothing for miles but sand and oil wells! We found the museum without too much trouble but it was closed despite advertising that it was open Fridays
and Saturdays. The museum is built on the site of the very first oil well in Bahrain which went into production in 1932. In fact, it is the first oil well in the entire middle east. The well head still stands but no longer produces oil.
On the return home, we stopped at the Bahrain International Circuit which is a world class Formula One race track. The race scheduled for a couple of weeks ago was canceled due to the protests. It is used for other races during the winter season. We happened to arrive when they were allowing anyone with a race car or motorcycle to use the track. Jay and I had a great time watching some very fast vehicles (yes, this is a real guy thing!).
Friday afternoon the guys hosted a barbecue attended by several people from his unit including the Captain and his wife and children. Lots of good food (prepared by Dan and grilled by Jason) and it was interesting to meet some of his friends. Unfortunately, the goods spirits were dampened by the tragedy in Japan. Jason's unit works closely with people there and several of the guys have served there
(including Jason). They were on the phone quite often getting updates. The good news is that there was little direct impact on the Naval base at Yokosuka. But, I'm sure they will have their hands full with helping their Japanese hosts.
Today Jason and I headed over to Abdul's rug shop to finalize the purchase of a couple of rugs. We shared some tea and good conversation and I ended up with two beautiful specimens. On the way home Jason took me on a quick tour of his base. He couldn't show me much but it was good to see his place of work.
So, the time has come to pack the bags and head for home. It has been a wonderful time and Jason has been a really good host. Even in my short stay here I think I have come to better understand and appreciate a culture of which I knew
so little about only a week ago.
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