Archive for the ‘Bahrain’ Category

Manama during Ramadan…

September 8, 2010

Manama has been very quiet the last day that I have been here.  At sundown life starts coming back to the city, and restaurants (and internet cafes) start to open.  I was out pretty late last night wandering around.  The souqs are pretty standard, but always nice to walk through.  I feel really invisible here.  The population must be either really used to seeing foreigners, or they just truly don’t care.  The city is very modern and friendly.  The food has been great, but most places are abstaining from kebab due to Ramadan unfortunately.  One thing to note, it has a dangerous currency conversion.  At 2.6 dollars to dinar, you can lose your wallet and not even notice.  Everything seems so cheap :).  For being the debaucherous nightlife city of the peninsula, it is surprisingly relaxing right now.  From everything I’ve read online about the noise, and annoying aspects of being in a “party city” I would definitely suggest coming to visit during Ramadan.  It’s been quite a nice time so far.  Tomorrow I catch my flight to Iraq, so I will go visit some of the tourist sites of Bahrain this evening…

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On my way to Bahrain and Iraq!

September 5, 2010

Sitting in the airport lounge. About to visit a friend in D.C. On my way to Iraq. This being the first international trip since March, I’m super excited. Unfortunately the trip is very short due to time constraints, but a trip is a trip.

I have three days in Manama, Bahrain, and from there I fly to Erbil, Iraq (the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq) for four days. In preparation for the heat of the desert, I spent a week working down in Arizona. It was a pleasant 108 degrees in Phoenix and Tucson. During the drive to Tucson, I did see one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while: Pinal Air Field. It is a desert graveyard for airplanes. Big airplanes! There are probably 100 747’s sitting out in the desert sunbathing. I pulled off at the exit and drove a few miles to the west off of the freeway, and arrived at the gate. Nobody is allowed to enter apparently. I quickly googles this strange place and read up on the history of the airfield. Apparently they park the planes here due to the dry climate in hopes that the dry air will keep the planes preserved, in the event that they bring them into service. According to the Internet, several cargo companies based at this airport were CIA front companies over the past few decades dating back to Vietnam era operations. We all know, if it is on the internet, it has to be true!

One really great thing about Arizona is the speed limit. Most of the freeways outside of major cities are 75 MPH. This is fantastic, because you can set your cruise control at 80 and relax. Fantastic. But I suppose the worst thing you are going to hit is a cactus anyways…

I’ll have the ability to give a quick rundown of my day in D.C. Tomorrow before my flight over to Bahrain. An annoying thing that I have learned over and over (although I never seem to remember this) is the fact that “direct flight” and “nonstop flight” are NOT the same! I just learned that I will get an hour and a half courtesy stop in the Kuwait airport. That brings a total transit time from Dulles to Bahrain to 14 hours. I can fly (not that I ever want to do this again) straight from San Francisco to Dubai (which is geographically further) in 16 1/2 hours. I think it seems like a long time due the excitement that is waiting on the other side…