On Friday, my husband and I were headed to Dammam to visit some people we know there. I was in a mood and wasn’t feeling up to it. My husband however, was overly excited. He had asked me to go with him the night before and I had finally agreed. Once in Dammam, we ended up paying a toll and I had mentioned that it was strange because I had never remembered paying a toll the other times we had gone up there. Then about two more minutes of driving I notice that we are now driving in a completely new area that I have never seen. We were on the causeway headed across the Persian Gulf. My husband now tells me that we are not visiting friends, but instead we are going to Bahrain for the weekend. I love how he was able to keep the secret and surprise me. I didn’t have my passport or resident card in my possession yet, but he had gone and picked them up the night before, he had packed a bag, had told me to wear comfortable shoes, and had even avoided my confusion the night before when I couldn’t find a pair of pants that I had wanted to wear the night before. Turns out they were missing, because he had packed them.
I was excited now, to get out of Saudi for a weekend and see a new country. When we arrived at the point of customs, my husband informed me that I would probably need to go to the ladies room at one point, since it would take a few hours to get through. So I got out of the truck and crossed about eight lanes of traffic, then back over to find him further up in line. He was right though, it took us two and a half hours to get through all the check points. That is a lot of people crossing the border! Once, we got through four of the five points, the abaya was taken off! I had worn a sweater and it was approaching 90 degrees (F) that day. And the sun was hitting my side of the car the whole time. The sweater was needed though once the sun went down, as its chilly here at night this time of year.
We made our first stop at McDonald’s for a quick lunch. There is something quite delicious about McDonald’s French fries when you are overseas. 🙂 Our second stop was at a place called Trader Vic’s. In order to get there, the streets leading up to it were quite filled with military, tanks, and guns. We went through a vehicle x-ray machine and the car was inspected. They were definitely protecting some important people in the area! Trader Vic’s was a welcomed stop for me, the place was heavily decorated for Christmas, and the outdoor seating area with ocean view was awesome. There we enjoyed our first beer on the island for about 15 US dollars each. It was worth it.
Saw a few familiar faces of some people we knew from our home city in Saudi, so we joined up with them for some drinks at an Irish bar. Even ran into some new faces (for me, friends of my husband that I had not met yet). We also enjoyed a plate of bacon! Bacon in Bahrain runs about ten dollars a pound!
The architecture in Bahrain is amazing, the art museums will call me back, and the freedom was a nice respite. I think after almost two months here in the desert, the trip was well worth it. Since we only were in Bahrain for a short time, and there wasn’t much exploring done, I am looking forward to more trips. Looks like the place is just booming with things to see and do.
On Saturday we enjoyed a nice breakfast with more bacon and then headed out of Bahrain only to realize some of the main roads was shut off from traffic. Come to find out, Challenge Bahrain Triathlon was going on, which caused quite a bit of traffic issues on the Island. Thankful my husband had been here numerous times, so we were able to get out with his navigation skills! It may have included him driving over a sidewalk to get out of the bumper to bumper traffic at one time! To get back to Saudi the border crossing only took about 18 minutes vs. the 2.5 it get out. And even though it’s nice to get away, it was also nice to come back home.
Xxo – wifeabroad