Posted by: Leap of Faith | August 4, 2006

Bahrain Equals Freedom!

Yesterday my friends, Frank and Josie, and I decided to go to Bahrain.  Since I arrived in KSA last March this is my first time to go to another country in the Gulf. 

Bahrain is a small island in the Gulf Sea, which is connected to KSA through the King Fahd Causeway.  The causeway is several kilometers long and it is just amazing to think how they were able to do it.  I don\’t know how true, but Frank mentioned that this small island (a long time ago) used to be frequented by the Saudis because of their beaches and extensive coastline.  I think the name Bahrain orignally came from the Saudi word Bahra, which means beach. 

Now, the Saudis go to Bahrain not only to enjoy the beaches but moreso to enjoy the temporary \”freedom\” that they have, which otherwise will not be available in their Kingdom due to the numerous restrictions.

We left early for Bahrain to avoid the weekend traffic.  From Dammam, it takes around one to two hours depending on the traffic. Frank and I decided to just rent a car for around SR80 per day – although given the other numerous documents that you had to comply with and the fees that you had to pay (i.e. authrization letter to use car) you may have been better off driving your own car.

First stop was the divorsia looking downtown area of Manama, the capital.  The streets were crowded and small.  It actually reminded me of Kowloon, Hong Kong because of the small stores lined along the street.  We went there because there is this one famous Filipino Restaurant called Swan Lake (weird no?), which a lot of Pinoys in Saudi go to because of the yummy Crispy Pata, Bicol Express and Sinigang na Yobab, as Rindu would say.  As you all know, Yobabs are not allowed in KSA.  After strolling around, we ate brunch in the restaurant and ordered Bicol Express and Sinigang.  I loved the bicol delicacy but it was soooo spicy!!!  I had to dial 911 this morning due to almo…  ooops! please disreagard that.

After we ate I decided to relieve Frank from his driving since he seemed to be getting lost most of the time (considering that this is his second time in Bahrain, while it was a first for me).  We decided to catch a movie in the very nice Seef Mall.  The mall is very nice and modern but the highlight there is the movie houses (Rockwell style).  I was so excited.  I guess not being able to go to movies here in Saudi makes you so excited and looking forward to all these things.  By the way, cinemas are banned here in KSA.  We decided to watch MI:3, which was very much entertaining.

We had to go home shortly after the movie since Frank had other previous engagements while I had to arrange to look for a \”lipat bahay\” to move my stuff from my old flat in Al Mazorieah to my new family flat in Al Ammamrah, both in Dammam.  I was planning on meeting my cousin\’s boyfriend who is based in Bahrain but couldn\’t since we hade to leave early.  Too bad.

I know it may have sounded like a very ordinary day for Philippine standards but it was such a relief to me. The monotony and lack of anything to entertain you here in Saudi makes you look forward to these simple pleasures, which you use to take forgranted. 

Bahrain has much more to offer … good restaurants and bars, belly dancers, F1 racing, beaches, etc.  The landmark buildings (forgot the names) also serve as a nice change to the plain skyline of the Eastern Province. 

I look forward to enjoying this place more when my family arrives. Until next time.        



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