10 hours in Bahrain.

Al Manamah Travel Blog

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How many times do you see this many "Early" on an airline board. Curse that flight from Beirut ruining things!

Hello all,

Yes I know I have a problem.  I had this nice little trip to Dubai planned, and then I had to make it more complicated by adding on a side trip to Oman to the end of it.  Then I realized how close I was to Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait.  But only really having six days here makes it really tough to visit all of those places.  After looking into things I realized that Kuwait would be right out because of the Israeli stamp in my passport.  None of the other countries here will officially accept the dreaded stamp, but I feel optimistic about the rest.

I managed to book three flights that would allow me to visit both Bahrain and Qatar in a day.  But in order to have sufficient time in both, I had to make some schedule sacrifices.  The flight/price options out of Dubai were not workable, so I looked into nearby Abu Dhabi.

Bahrain first gained prominence as a pearling center. Here's a monument. :)
 The flights I booked on two different airline had me leaving at 3:05am, and arriving into Bahrain at 3:15am due to the time change.

Also, Friday is Islam's holy day, so I thought that that might cause some problems due to things being closed and what have you.  The flight was good, and passport control wasn't a problem.  I hung around drinking a few cafe lattes in the coffee shop before heading into town.  I decided to at least walk out of the airport to try to find a cheaper taxi.  The fog was very thick, and the temperature was brisk but I was enjoying the walk.  I actually fired up the GPS feature on my BlackBerry to make sure I was heading the correct direction, and thank goodness I did.  I was going the opposite way.

After walking for about an hour, a car stopped and offered me a ride into town.

The Bab al-Bahrain in downtown Manama. This building used to accept cargo from the port is now far inland.
 I accepted and met Jazeer (Jazz), a civilian employee at the nearby naval base.  He had a USS Tarawa ball cap on, and spoke English very well.  We talked about the region, his time working in Saudi Arabia, and the sights of Manama before he dropped me off in the downtown area.

Bahrain, like the rest of the Persian Gulf countries is a practitioner of land reclamation from the Gulf.  This leads to strange sights such as port buildings a kilometer inland, and a Corniche (water front walkway) from which you can hardly see the water.  The distances were a lot larger than they looked on my map, and that led to alot of walking.  But I did have time to kill, so what the heck.

The downtown area was pretty much deserted due to the beginning of the Friday weekend, and the only food option I could find was a 24 hour Hardees.

The Friday Mosque in downtown Manama. On Friday... I'm a sucker for a good minaret pic.
 I am doing horribly on eating locally here.  This is my second visit to Hardees, and the Charley's Subs the other night does not win me any points either.  I promise I will try to get better.  Unless I see a Starbucks I guess.

I walked down to the Sheraton to look around, and the fog started to clear along the way.  The building boom is well under way here in Bahrain as well, and there are some great architectural sights to see.  I made it to the Marina Corniche along Tubli Bay, and it was alive with action.  I settled in at a bayside cafe for a Turkish Coffee, and an Apple Shisha.  For those of you not in the know, a shisha is a large water pipe used in the middle east to smoke flavored tobaccos from.  Also known in the states by the turkish name, hookah.

Some of the fog shrouded buildings along the Bahrain Financial Harbor.
 Or in the illegal drug community as a bong.  My smoking technique leaves alot to be desired, and I did more choking then smoking.  It's rather embarassing actually.

I started my search for a taxi to get back to the airport, and it was much more difficult than anticipated.  I was offered another ride by a local, and took it.  The gentleman was a worker from India, and just took me to an area in which I was much more likely to attract a taxi.  the ride was cheap and efficient, and by the time I was checked in for the flight, the tiredness was already starting to catch up with me.  This does not bode well.

The next flight was to Doha, Qatar and left at 1:25pm.

Later, Phil

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How many times do you see this man…
How many times do you see this ma…
Bahrain first gained prominence as…
Bahrain first gained prominence a…
The Bab al-Bahrain in downtown Man…
The Bab al-Bahrain in downtown Ma…
The Friday Mosque in downtown Mana…
The Friday Mosque in downtown Man…
Some of the fog shrouded buildings…
Some of the fog shrouded building…
I have no idea what this building …
I have no idea what this building…
Second picture of the mystery buil…
Second picture of the mystery bui…
Third picture of the mystery build…
Third picture of the mystery buil…
View of Tubli Bay from the shisha …
View of Tubli Bay from the shisha…
Bahrains construction boom in the…
Bahrain's construction boom in th…