We finally managed to visit the country of Bahrain with a few friends. Tim orchestrated the ‘escape to Bahrain’, which included Renee and I, Rob, Hidaya, and Tom.
There’s an app that reports the traffic and subsequent waiting time to cross the Bahrain causeway. I’ve heard stories of sitting on the causeway for 2+ hours. For us, the check point staff was friendly and the wait times were reasonable on both our entry and departure.
Our first stop was at Ric’s Country Kitchen, a local breakfast hangout for expatriates. It was just like any other small-town diner in the States. Even the music was 1980s western music, which is one of my favorites genres. I initially ordered huevos rancheros, but it came loaded with onions, so I returned the dish and ordered; eggs, sausage, and tortillas. The entrée did not disappoint.
A few blocks away was Anne’s Massage. Anne’s is one of the upper-scale locations to get a legitimate Thai massage. Renee and I opted for the couple’s Swedish oil and aroma massage. The therapist was amazing. Not only did she perform deep tissue massage, she was able to work on various Range of Motion stretches and pressure-points. Afterwards, the group gathered downstairs and joked about our different experiences while sipping hot tea and eating cookies. It is hard to imagine another visit to Bahrain without stopping by Anne’s.
Next, we made our way to downtown Manama and stopped by the City Center Mall. We perused a few shops, but we were primarily there to visit the Zain store and try to activate my phone service in Bahrain. I failed to ensure international phone service before crossing the causeway, and consequently, I had no phone service. We spent an hour trying to activate roaming services, but all attempts were unsuccessful. Most of the people in our group had phone service, so we conceded to the defeat.
On our way to the souq, we stopped for coffee. This very well might have been the best caramel macchiato I’ve ever been served. My favorite experience of the entire trip were the sights and sounds of the peddlers in the Souq. It would take days to explore the entire outdoor and indoor souq. We weren’t there to shop, rather, Tim was giving me an introduction to the area. In the very near future, I plan to go back and purchase a Turkish lamp and a rug for my home office. I also want to explore the nearby Gold City.
Next, we strolled into Diggers, an eclectic little dive bar. While relishing in comedic conversation I enjoyed a rum & coke, something I haven’t had in several months. Alcohol is expensive in Bahrain, but this is allegedly one of the less expensive establishments. However, I still found it to be pricey. I spent 250 SAR on two rum/coke, and 3 beers for Renee. That’s roughly $66 USD.
The evening culminated in dinner at the breath-taking Bushido Japanese Cuisine restaurant. The restaurant was beautiful, leaving no detail overlooked. I exceptionally liked the Japanese samurai warrior armor that was found throughout the restaurant.
After three months in Kingdom, I’m finally comfortable with the currency exchange rate. The Bahrain Dinar left me confused most of our visit. What I finally learned was to just add a zero (0) to the BD, and that is the SAR rate. Then I just divide by 3.75 to get the USD value. Sounds complicated, but it’s not too bad.
The only down side to the trip was the long drive. By the time we got home, I had been a wake for 23 hours. Approximately 10 kilometers from Abqaiq, there’s a turn towards Udhailiyah which is unlit highway. Those final miles were tortuous for my weary eyes. If it were not for Sparky, I would have stayed the night in a hotel and enjoyed Bahrain longer.
Next trip… Egypt.