Bahrain Travel Blog› entry 4 of 11 › view all entries
It was still raining today, and coolish, so we decided to go to Al Areen. This is a wildlife park that was Considerably Better Signposted than the Tree of Life, which you can imagine was something of a relief.
I'll write a review with all the entrance price information for you at some point. Al Areen is mostly dedicated, reasonably enough, to animals that live in the desert, and, for some reason that I do not fully understand, ducks. There is a slightly bored looking camel, not a patch on the herd yesterday, some giraffes, and a great many gazelles, ibexes, and goats, and everything in between. The gazelles, Arabian wild sheep, and ibexes are part of a conservation effort. According to the Guide Bloke, who was very friendlyand spoke pretty much perfect English, the animals spend half their lives in pens being looked at by tourists and the other half in the desert breeding and conserving the species, as part of one of the Royal Family members' efforts to manage the nations heritage whilst building many, many hotels.
There were also, as mentioned, many ducks. i do not know if ducks are native to the region, although I think that the flamingos might be. The Crowned Cranes (or those big birds with the hairdos, as I like to think about them) were also pretty impressive.
We spent a long time cooing over some babies on the bus; this seems like a popular place for Bahraini mums to take very small children to look at animals and run about, which is possibly because children everywhere seem to love zoos, and this one seemed very reasonably priced (1BD, or about £2, as opposed to the £10 or £15 you could pay for a similar place in the UK).
On the way home, we got lost in some road works. This was a common occurence this trip, as the signs seem to only make sense if you know what you are doing already. I did wonder if this was some sort of cultural legacy from the British - we are stunning at designing signage that only makes sense in hindsight after you are lost and on your way back from a U-Turn in a construction yard. But apparently this is a universal human being thing, at least wherever there are cars.
That evening, we went to dinner in a very nice turkish restaurant called Anatolia, where I encountered my new favourite drink in the world, lemon juice with mint in it. The juices in Bahrain are much more interesting than the usual british choice of orange juice, water, coke or lemonade, and I'm going to try to make this at home. Richard's friend Ahmed came to dinner, adn very kindly offered to ask his friend from the museum to show us around one of the archeological sites in Bahrain. Then we drove out to the Bahrain Fort, which is on the site of the ancient capital of Dilmun. Dilmun was an ancient, pre old Testament civilisation and the Fort is late mediaval. the fort looked incredibly impressive lit up in the dark, and Lorna and I were very keen to go back.