My last few days have been pretty busy in BH between finishing up with some more site seeing, a massive party and heading out to sea for a boat trip. Don’t they say that sometimes you need a holiday after the holiday??
On Wed 9th, after some yoga and treating myself to a body scrub in the local beauticians, I helped Ruth start to preapre for the big party that she was planning to host on Thursday. When Kelly came home from work, she brought me to the Janabiya Royal Camel Farm. The background to this is that the King Sheikh Mohammad’s, uncle collects camels and keeps them in this farm area. He doesn’t use them for racing or meat, kind of just as pets? There’s about 600 in total and they’re seperated in to males, females and calves and then oldies or injured. They’re very friendly (other than the two who were rowing with each other) so we got to rub their noses. Some of them were chained to a peg with their front legs tied together but I didn’t see anyone to ask why this was.
We left for Budaiya beach afterwards which was beautiful. There’s a long promenade, a gorgeous sand beach and parks for people to relax on. This isn’t a swimming beach though and used mainly for walking and chilling out. There are a couple of unfinished high rises that kill the skyline but other than that it is definitely worth a visit.
The sun started to go down to so we stopped outside the Prime Ministers house and took a couple of pictures. The place was huge! He also has a place on a man made island across from the beach.
We followed on in to the busy Budaiya village which I loved. It has local shops, bakeries and restaurants all over. The locals are hanging around chatting, cars are everywhere – very active! Kelly brought me to Al Noorain Bakery where they make local Arabic bread which was delicious. They make it fresh in front of you in a stone oven. You can either get it plain or with a cheese filling. We got about 7 plain slices and 1 cheese for 500 fils (a little over a euro).
For dinner, we went back to the Cappuccino Cafe and picked up some dinner and finished up the evening watching a film.
Ruth held a huge party on Thursday called the four corners. There was an Irish section, Italian section, Ozzie area and Bahraini stand, all with authentic, native dishes. The whole thing went off very well. In the Bahraini area, there was a live Shawarma stand which was cool to see! I got to meet some great people and learned a lot about life in Bahrain. All of the dishes were freshly made and some of the guests contributed with homemade desserts and dinners.
On Friday, myself, Kelly and her parents packed up some lunch and went out on their boat in to the Persian Gulf. Captain Sheet’s brought us to see some playful dolphins who came up pretty close to the boat once or twice. Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough with the camera but did get a shot of them a little bit out.
We said goodbye to the dolphins and went to a tiny island called ‘Tadpole Island’. This is only visable when the tide is out. It was a little too chilly for me to jump straight in but after some encouragement from the others I went in waist deep. We were able to walk around and search for shells through the clear waters. We finished up the trip with some dinner and on the boat and went back to the mainland. On the way back, I got to see some of the dhows going out to sea. Dhows are a type of sail boat invented by either the Arabs or the Indians. They’re used as a carrier vessel or for fishing in the Persian Gulf.
On the way back to Kelly’s we passed some Dilmun Burial Grounds in Saar. These are ancient burial grounds from the Dilmun era which are currently be excavated by archaeologists. Although it looks like mounds of dirt, underneath are stone chambers surrounded by low ring walls.
For dinner, Kelly brought me to a great Thai Restaurant called Hash House in Adaliya. I got the spicy Veg Pad Kee Mao which was devine. I made an attempt at using the chop sticks but it was a clumsy effort. A special shout out to Kelly’s boyfriend Joao (or J as I like to call him!) who came out to meet us. I tried to copy his chop stick skills but it was a bit of a fail!
When we finished our dinner myself and Kelly said goodbye to J and went for a quick walk around Adaliya and saw all of the new restaurants and bars. Adiliya used to be old town houses but over time, has been converted in to new art galleries, cafes and restaurants.
Today is my last day in Bahrain and although I’m sad to say goodbye to Kelly and her family, I’m excited to visit Mary in Dubai. Thank you to all of the Stapleton’s for making me feel so at home in Bahrain, for being excellent tour guides and for answering my 50 million questions about everything. You’ve really helped kick my travels off to a great start – but I may be a little spoilt now for the next couple of months!
Next stop, Dubai!!