Day in Bahrain
I just had to write about my day in Bahrain even though I spent it all in the airport it was still very interesting.
To begin with Gulf Air is fab, it’s the main airline for the Kingdom of Bahrain and the reason I chose to fly with them was because they were cheaper than the other big flyers like British Airways and Virgin and similar in price UAE and China Air, I could have had a stopover at Shanghai or Dubai but seeing as I had been to both those places I decided on Bahrain with the intention of spending the day in Manama, only it didn’t work out that way.
The plane was half empty so I got two seats to myself which was a lot more comfortable when trying to sleep, we left Heathrow at 10.20pm and arrived in Bahrain at about 6am their time which in my head was 4am, I didn’t sleep much so was pretty exhausted when I got here.
I met a lovely couple with a new baby who lived in Cardiff, on their way to Oman and I met a guy from Llanelli on his way to work in Dubai for six months.
As soon as I disembarked I enquired about going into town, number one I had to have a visa and number 2 I had to have a hotel address for them to let me in, so Gulf air do a package with all these and food but it was £75, I didn’t really want to spend that money when I could use it better in Cambodia so I decided to stay in the airport watching the planes coming and going which was fab.
It was interesting to see all the people who go through the airport most of them middle Eastern which was obvious from their dress, I really love the long white robes the men wear with the red headdress, they look so handsome and another thing you will notice is how spotlessly clean, crisp and white everyone’s robe is, they look like they never sit down in it, no creases????
The long white robes were not the only common dress for men there were a large group of men in a three quarter dress-like robe which had collar and cuff like a shirt with the same material trousers underneath, in fact I would like to buy the outfit for myself, there were very many colours too, nothing strong, all pale pastel shades but all very smart and very cool looking.
It was hard to watch the sun beat down outside while I sat inside with my scarf and cardigan on because the air conditioning made it so cold.
I spent most of the day on my phone or my laptop writing blogs and chatting on Facebook, while sleeping for short periods when I just couldn’t keep my eyes open, I think it was good for me to start acclimatising to the time difference which will be another 4 hours ahead when I get to Bangkok.
I had food vouchers from Gulf Air because of the long stopover so I didn’t need to spend any money. I went to the money exchange to get Baht instead of my Dinar but they were giving terrible rates so I will wait and change it in Thailand, it can’t possibly be worse. I feel I was ripped off by Travelx at Heathrow they only gave me 37 Baht to the pound when it should have been at least 45, it might not seem much but the transaction cost me 50 quid more than it should have without taking into consideration the Indonesian and Dinar money. I read before I left home about the terrible rates at the airport but I had no choice, because of the rush I forgot to pre-order, so just had to pay up! Very annoying.
The sights and sounds at the airport are well worth sitting in on, at one point a large group of Indian people all sitting behind me started chanting prayers, almost singing, repeating the same thing over and over, it sounded quite nice really but I wasn’t expecting it. Every now and then prayer chanting/singing would come loud over the loud speaker system which I really got to like by the end of the day, it had a very calming feel to it. Also at random moments ladies in the full black burkas would start praying right in the middle of the seating area, they would spend about 10 minutes looking up and saying their prayers.
I heard the same announcements in English and whatever language they speak in Bahrain so many times about leaving your bags unattended, there was hardly ever silence, the announcements were all day long.
The toilets were strange in that they had little shower heads and hose on the wall by the side of the toilet which obviously are used often because every time I went to use the loo I had to wait for the cleaner in the loo to clean out all the water that had been sprayed in there, it must be awkward to spray when they have long clothes on, a lot of the women were in black robes covering everything which I expected and some have full burkas on, all black but some had coloured clothes too, same style but different colours and different material. All in all considering they cover up mostly, there was a very interesting array of different cover ups and most of them were attractive. I just noticed a guy come out of the loo with very wet feet, like they had been sprayed, that’s probably what the shower thing is also used for lol!
Being one of very few Westerners in the airport I was looked at quite a lot so I can understand why they are all covered up and I made a point of wearing clothes that covered me completely, long trousers, long sleeve shirt and cardigan, because it was so cold I had my long scarf wrapped round me all day too.
A lot of people wear head dresses too but it looks like they are not compulsory. A lot of the women are very beautiful and well made up especially the air hostesses, they were all stunning and their uniform was fab too.
All in all I had a good day at Bahrain airport but will be glad to be moving on to Bangkok, scared again now that my adventure is really about to start proper, but also really, really excited!!