Manama Travel Blog› entry 6 of 11 › view all entries
Unfortunately, Ahmed's friend from the museum wasn't free today. Ahmed offered to show us around himself, which is very, very kind considering he was working afternoon shifts and had just come off nights. Lorna, Ahmed and I all went off to the National Museum, leaving Lucy to enjoy the sunshine.
The National Museum is in a modern looking building next to the sea on the edge of Manama, close to the bridges. On teh way in was a row of modern sculptures, including the one of the fish on the bicycle here. I was pretty much stunned by the arch with teh purple flowers, too. The museum itself is lovely - I will write a review, but I can't help you with admission charges etc as they don't seem to apply to Ahmed, who walked right by the booth after a brief chat with the ticket people.
The museum has modern art and things in a side gallery, but we didn't have time to look at that. We went straight to the room with artefacts from Ancient Dilmun. There were some astonishingly well preserved objects, including a bull's head that was from 2,500 BC. Give or take a century. I didn't want to take pictures as it might damage things, but I think it's on the museum's publicity and website. There were also some seals adn some jewelry that looked exactly like bead necklaces I might wear today - people are people.
The other interesting part of the museum was the ethnographical displays, which had lots of manakins and models of traditional Bahraini crafts and occupations, and a wedding. Normally, I would rush by this sort of display without paying it much mind, on my way to more old pots or an art gallery.
I should really make a note about pearl diving at this point. Bahrain has the perfect waters for natural pearls, and before oil was discovered, this was their major industry.
Ahemd dropped us in the Bahrain mall, and we decided to have lunch there. We had wonderful kebab at a nice Persian restaurant, and I had more lemon-and-mint juice. It sort of proves that there is no need for food court food to be gorss, as it often is in teh UK.
After that, feeling brave, we decided to go back to Bahrain Fort. We went in the way we had gone the night before, which may actually be the wrong way, through a little village with bright wall paintings. The sun had finally beaten the North wind, adn the weather was glorious.
That evening, we went to Isa town souk for a walk. I was fascinated - cliche as it might sound, the smell of spices and second hand carpets and things was unique, and I desparately wished there was someone around who could tell me what you made out of the enormous spice mountains (a sort of pilaf-curry-rice thing called Machboos, it turns out, which is totally delicious and I NEED THE RECIPE, readers, help!). Souks are more like shopping streets, and a little like basildon market in that they have permanent shops and lock ups, than the markets my Disney-addled brain had been expecting, but totally wonderful.