I’ve been asked, “Dubai and Abu Dhabi are so close, why Bahrain?” The answer is simple.
I came to Bahrain for the cultural opportunities.
But seriously though, I was impressed in ways I didn’t think I would be. Bahrain and Kuwait are not very far apart at all. The flight is 45 minutes long. It’s cheaper and faster to get here for a weekend away than the UAE or Oman (though I will be headed to both of those places sometime soon).
Culturally, there are a lot of similarities between Kuwait and Bahrain, with two differences. Bahrain is not a dry country. They also serve pork. Margaritas and bacon may not go together, but their existence gives my heart a certain joy.
Now, this was the first opportunity for me to travel outside of Kuwait. I came into this country with my work visa. I couldn’t leave the country until my work visa had processed into a residency visa. If I did, it would have restarted the whole process and I would have had to get my tourist visa, get medicals done all over again, and do another round of paperwork. No thank you. So, I stayed put for over 6 weeks and when I got my residency, my friend and I decided we would head out for a short vacation.
After a slight snafu in which yours truly accidentally booked the correct flight but on the wrong day, Thursday night (the beginning of the weekend in Kuwait), we were off.
Upon arrival, we proceeded to jam pack a few days of action into just 24 hours. The highlights were as follows.
1. Our hotel
We stayed at The Domain Bahrain. When we arrived, they upgraded our room to a suite. Clearly our celeb status had reached faraway lands. Or, we looked like tired zombies because we were checking in around midnight and they knew we needed a place to unpack the bags currently under my eyes. Either way, we got all this.
There was an awesome, Instagram worthy infinity pool.
There was also a club on the roof, which I did not partake in because I was much too
tired sophisticated for that.
There was an excellent brunch with a serving station for just pancakes and toppings, so you know it was high class. It was also high up, with some great views.
2. The Bathtub.
Undoubtedly, this was the highlight for me. It was so great, that I decided to give it credit on the list. It was giant and you could sprawl out and see a great view outside the window. The windows were tinted from the other side, so no exhibitionism here. I think. Hopefully.
3. The Food.
We ate at two main places outside of our hotel while we were there. The first was a very authentic, Bahrain Irish bar called JJ’s where we had a drink and watched a middle-aged man hit on an entire crew of Happy Hour attendees. The second was another authentic local restaurant called Paco’s. In the grand tradition of Mexican food, I was obligated to purchase a giant bowl of guacamole. Not as good as Chipotle, but a solid effort nonetheless.
4. The sidewalks.
Kuwait is great in many ways, but you must wear sensible shoes and always look down because the sidewalks are few and far between. I have taken sidewalks for granted in my life and I didn’t even know I would miss them until they were gone. I have seen both dogs and humans take a sh*t on sidewalks when I lived in NYC, but at least you had an even surface to talk on while dodging feces. Sidewalks were reintroduced into my life in Bahrain and it felt like walking on magic. I stand more appreciative of this often undervalued piece of infrastructure.
5. The Ritz Carlton.
While the Middle East pays well, we are still teachers. We couldn’t afford to stay here just yet, but we went to a lovely bar in which I had pistachios (very popular in the Middle East) and cake. There was lovely music on the piano as well.
The bar looked like a library, and so I was able to simultaneously feel cultured and literate, though I doubt the books on the wall were anything more than props.
Additionally, the bathrooms at the Ritz were super fancy, as you might imagine. Check out this fun little piece of equipment.
Bidet hoses are popular in this region, but this felt like a full service operation. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the heated toilet seat though. All the other buttons scared me.
Additionally, here was a unique building we passed on the cab ride to the Ritz. Don’t know what it is, but it has propellers on it, which makes it cool in my book.
All in all, my experience in Bahrain was delightful. I didn’t really have any expectations going into it, but I was pleasantly surprised. It had some of the comforts of home (sidewalks) and some fun aspects (Margaritas) and a really fun Souk (market) where I bought some of you fine people souvenirs.
But you’ll just have to wait till Christmas to see what I got ya.
See ya soon, Bahrain.