Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Manama, Bahrain to Bush Camp, Saudi Arabia,  December 5, 2022

There are some interesting sculptures in our hotel lobby.  This is a representation of an employee who spends his life working overtime.  His youth fades, his health crumbles and the money he makes does not stay with him so he does not spend it but saves it for others.  It’s what so many immigrants are doing in the countries we’ve visited.  The housekeeping staff in our hotel here is provided with room and board as well as about $446 per month.  The man I was talking to sends his money home to his family in Bangladesh-

The hotel is also ready for Christmas.  This is what frustrates me.  Here in Bahrain where 99% of people are Muslim, one will still see Christmas trees and decorations, where as in Canada, there have been discussions about wishing people Merry Christmas.  Happy Holidays is more acceptable?  Huh?  Just because I wish you Merry Christmas doesn’t mean you have to be a Christian.  Many cultures celebrate Christmas by family get togethers, sharing food and exchanging gifts.  It’s called Christmas, regardless of your religion-

The border crossing took a couple of hours but was simple enough.  I  wore my abaya but not my headscarf and asked a border guard who was inside the coach having a look for smuggled people I think, if it was okay I wasn’t wearing a headscarf.  Of course he said, and you don’t have to wear an abaya either.  I asked if I could wear shorts and he said yes, no problem.  It’s been like that for 3-4 years!  So, I didn’t have anything to worry about the other night walking along the busy beach.  I think I will still wear my abaya, especially on cooler days but time will tell.

We stopped at a Heritage Village in Damman, Saudi.  OMG.  It cost $7 to get in and it was one of the weirdest places I’ve ever been.  There’s a museum that contains a mishmash of stuff such as displays of teapots and sad irons-

Stuffed animals-

and a little bit of everything, telephones, old radios and stamps-

There are many rooms for visiting and drinking tea but I don’t think it ever was a hotel, nor is it available today-

There were little windows with wooden shutters so I could peek into the rooms-

The walls are brightly painted-

and the doors are cool-

The lobby and restaurant areas are huge so it must be a popular spot-

There is a craft market filled with tacky stuff, a few older cars on display and paper maché people depicting scenes from, as Nico would say “back in the day”.  The place reminded me a bit of the Western Development Museum but it was very tacky and weird but collecting the past and keeping it in one place for others to see what life used to be like is the goal.

I had mixed grill for lunch which was enough to feed two people- 4 skewers of chicken, fries, a small salad and puffy bread-

We carried on towards Kuwait, knowing we wouldn’t make it today.  We pulled off the highway to bushcamp in what we thought was a remote place but in no time three trucks were with us and we learned we were very close to a military base and had to leave.  I think we are lucky to have drivers who speak Arabic because certainly not everyone speaks English.  They wanted us off the coach with our passports…. and then they didn’t.  Finally after what seemed like forever and it was good and dark, they left and we headed back to a gas station we had recently passed to camp there.  The gas stations are different than I am used to.  Of course there are numerous pumps but also a smaller supermarket, a couple restaurants, a cell phone shop, and at this one a bike shop.  The owner has been only open since March and he had a picture on the wall of 350 bikes that were here to celebrate his grand opening.  He had a Harley for sale and a BMW parked outside.  He was working on another bike in the back.  This would be funny to meet on the road-

I’m set up in what will one day be a service bay, sleeping on cement which is fine because my air mattress is good.  Call to prayer is at 4:57 so certainly no need for an alarm!

Off to Kuwait in the morning!

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