Friday, August 8, 2008

Quick Trip to Bahrain

I had my first trip outside of Saudi. Jorge, Khalil, and I drove to Bahrain across a long cause way. Normally it takes 2 1/2 hours. It took 6 hours. There are many stops to get across (in the order I remember and may not be the actual order)"
1. Toll
2. Car ownership
3. Saudi immigration
4. Bahrain immigration
5. Bahrain customs
6. Bahrain car insurance
7. Bahrain visitors bureau (to get hotel reservation)
We left Jubail at noon and arrived at the hotel at 8:30 pm (including lunch in Khobar, KSA).

The hotel didn't have any reservations for us but we could get a deluxe room for 90 dinars instead of the 67 we had already paid. Khalil talked to the manager and told him we were going out for dinner and expected our rooms to be ready at the first agreed to rate.

We ate at an Italian restaurant that Jorge liked because they had good wine (and food). It was good.

We stayed at the The Regency Intercontinental which is a 5 star Holiday Inn brand. It was not as nice as the other Intercontinentals I have stayed at though we did get rooms at the lower rate. It may because it was older. The staff was a mixture of Indians, Chinese, and Lebanese.

The lobby was decorated with beautiful statues.

Looking straight up in the main lobby was like looking ouside.

The next day, Khalil took us on a tour of the city he grew up in. We drove to an island north of Bahrain and I stitched together this view of the city.

We visited the old Gold Souk (market) and drove his Denali down a road where I could reach out and take stuff off of tables. We could not have sped away because too much foot traffic. I saw a mosque and church near each other. The church runs the American Mission Hospital.

I also saw how boats were made in the old days and where the city has expanded by reclamation from the sea (like the Dutch have done). We also drove by the royal palace and parliament building. The city is all new with lots of skyscrapers and glass.

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