Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
I was fortunate to spend the last few days in Bahrain. I was very pleased to return after enjoying my last visit. Once more I found myself immersed in the fusion of Arab and western culture that defines Bahrain. It’s capital city Manama is rapidly changing with reclaimed land and massive buildings. It’s a bustling city where most people prefer to drive rather than walk leading to traffic and some impatience among drivers. In general Arab drivers drive very fast and one Saudi that I spoke to said that he’s reduced his number of speeding infringements per month to only 2. I’m learning Arabic at night school and I relished the opportunity to listen to, speak and read Arabic everywhere I went.
I enjoyed watching men in thobes (traditional white Arab dress) and women in abayas (traditional black Arab dress). Each Arab country has distinctive differences in the thobe, keffiyeh (male headdress) and abaya and hijab. The abayas are the most interesting because of the fashion to add many adornments such as embroidery, beading, swarovski crystals, colored panels and the different head scarves. There’s even a fashion to the way that a woman wears her hair under her head scarf to achieve very different shapes. I’m not into shoes but even I could appreciate the wonderful shoes peeking out from under the abayas!
One of the highlights of the trip was an evening spent with a colleague at the beautiful Japanese restaurant Bushido. The approach to the restaurant is via a bridge over a moat. The restaurant is furnished in shades of red with gorgeous suits of armour on the walls. The restaurant is huge but laid out in such a way to create nooks. There’s a large indoor shisha smoking area with closed doors to keep the smoke out of the main section. We relaxed on lounges on the deck with shisha pipes while listening to the soothing sounds of fountains.
On my first full day in Bahrain I escaped from colleagues to wander aimlessly through the Manama (capital city) souk (market). Even though I remembered the souk from my previous visit I enjoyed losing myself in the twists and turns. I discretely watched everyone and everyone watched me in return. Here are a few photos from the souk.