On my third full day in Bahrain, the theme was decidedly Muharraq – the district connected to Manama by bridge that contained the airport. Brice had to work a few hours in the morning so he met me and we headed out for the day around noon. We decided to plan several Muharraq adventures throughout the day, starting with walking through the old city and visiting several old houses. The first was the Sheikh Isa bin Ali house – build in the early 19th century and home to his family for about 100 years. It was a traditional house with thick walls, inner courtyards, and many many inner rooms for the family, guests, and servants. The decor was simple, and we could imagine where tapestries, mosaics, and artifacts might have been used as adornment in centuries past. That said, much of the detailed stone work and architectural detail had already deteriorated. Of all the rooms, I liked the courtyards the best, and pictured shade trees and flowers to make the space green and comfortable. The other neat thing to see was the wind tower, which we had read about at the Bahrain National Museum as a way to naturally cool….
The theme of my second day in Manama turned out to be Bahrain museums, including La Fontaine and the National Museum, and the Bahrain Fort. After a small breakfast, I actually got a somewhat early start (11AM – ha!). Brice was able to take another day off and we planned out a great day of Bahrain Museums, starting at the La Fontaine – contemporary art museum nearby in Manama. Even though we could have walked it, we decided to Uber because time of was of the essence today if we were going to make it to the Bahrain Fort for sunset. Even though we were told that it was cool and especially was great for lunch, La Fontaine was a colossal disappointment for us. First of all, the Uber driver didn’t even know what it was – that should have been hint #1. Hint #2 was that there was absolutely nobody there (one person working with a laptop at the cafe). Hint #3 was that it was a tiny compound. Hint #4 – the art on exhibit was a Palestinian dystopic work about lack of place called “nowhere”. It was extremely Dissonant and jarring, which I expect as the point,….
A few days back I found myself arriving in Bahrain after an exciting business trip to Toronto and London over the previous 10 days. I arrived in Manama (BAH Airport) Wednesday Jan 25 around 11PM to visit my friend Brice and kick-off a 10 day vacation through the Arabian Peninsula. If you’re interested about my complete itinerary and how I was able to book all the flights for under $500 out of pocket, read my tripchi blog here. Arriving in Bahrain was so easy. After a wonderful 6 hour flight from LHR-BAH on British Airways (where I had a window seat and the whole row free), we touched down around 11PM. Bahrain offers a visa on arrival for many passport holders, including those from the US. So getting the visa was super easy, took about 15 minutes queuing up, and I didn’t even have to withdraw cash in the local currency (the dinar), because the immigration agent allowed me to pay with a credit car. The visa entry fee for a one-time visit was 5 BD – which is about 11 USD. I was in and out in no time, and Brice was even nice enough to pick me up….