5 August 2007

Funny Bahrain

When you live in this country long enough, you get so immersed in the way of life, and assume that the way we do everything here is the normal way to do things. Whenever someone comes in from outside the country, and starts pointing out things that seem weird is the moment you start to find that our way of living is actually pretty funny. This isn't a nagging or complaining post; just a few things I realized were amusing, having taken them for granted previously.

A friend of mine from the US stopped by in Bahrain for a few hours on Friday night, through a transit flight. I picked him up to show him a few of Bahrains wonders, and somehow managed to reach a bunch of funny conclusions. The first happened about 30 seconds from leaving the airport. My friend casually said, "Oh, so you have elections going on now?"

At first, I had no idea what he meant, but then I saw what he was looking at and couldn't help bursting out in laughter; huge billboard after billboard on the side of the road pledging allegiance and loyalty to our beloved PM, thanking him for his great effors, and congratulating him on his achievements. It did look a bit silly, to tell you the truth, and when I explained it all to him, he didn't get the idea. I told him to just accept it; we already have a long time ago.

Then he saw the way people drive; i'm used to seeing people take-over very dangerously, speed by on the slow lane, skip red lights and so on, but when my friend saw it, he got freaked out: "How do you guys drive here!?!". Even back in New York, where drivers are supposedly very aggressive by US standards, they don't drive like we do here. I considered taking him for a cruise in Saudi, but then figured that would probably be too cruel.

Anyhow, during his few hours here, I took him for a spin in Seef Mall to see the people of Bahrain, a drive around Adliya and Exhibition Rd, had dinner in Juffair, and finally some sheesha in Veranda. His few hours were up, so I took him back to the airport to catch his flight. He did enjoy his time here, and it changed his original perceptive of Bahrain (being an empty little desert island with not much to do). But then I thought, what if he had stayed more than one day?

I had taken him to a shopping mall, the streets we cruise around in, a gahwa (coffee shop) and restaurants. That's almost everything we have to offer! If he had stayed for longer, the second day, third day, fourth day and so on would be the same routine all over again; just different coffee shops and malls and restaurants! We really don't have much to do here! Lol.

Oh, and one more thing; when we were eating dinner, he finished, got up and took his food tray to the bin and threw the rubbish inside, and placed the tray above the bin (as we see restaurant staff do here). The funny thing is, one or two of the customers looked at him wierd, as well as the woman who worked in the restaurant (ie 'what is he doing?!').

I guess I just realized that we, as Bahrainis or Khaleejis in general think we are so much higher than actually having to get up and throw away our own garbage. Lol. I remember I used to do it when I first got back from the US (since it becomes an inset habit when you live there for a while), and people just look at you wierd when you do something like that.

Anyway, it all boils down to our way of life; keep a lookout for our regular habits and way of life, and you just might find a smile or two in your daily routine! Gotta love Bahrain!


Sous said...

Funny but having live in Lebanon for 2 years and Saudi for 8 months I'm not used to removing my tray or anything similar in cafes or fast food places so now that I'm back home in Sweden for holiday I just keep forgetting how things are done here.

i*maginate said...

Coffee shops/malls: there's so much one can do in a desert environment, especially when it's warm. Apart from that, you've got loads of outdoor activities all year round.

I know what you mean about the "picking up your own tray" bit in a restarant, but I have also noticed when people do that in self-serve restaurants in Dubai, including at Starbucks, the staff nearly always grab it from your hand! I suppose it's a difference in culture of the working staff here, and their idea of hospitality, whereas in the West, it's a different matter!

Anonymous said...

What Happened to the Life in Bahrain blog - it was hilarious!