Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ahhhhhhh!!

That, ladies and the few gentlemen who frequent this blog, is how one breathes in the air of openness, of freedom and of relief.

Hubby was deputed to help out a fellow project manager in Bahrain, and sonny and I have tagged along. I shall bore you with my observations of this place for the next couple of weeks.

We drove from Riyadh to Manama (which is the capital of the Kingdom of Bahrain). It’s a 4 hour drive, cutting through the desert and finally reaching the port city of Dammam and then onto the magnificent twin bridges that link Saudi Arabia to this island state.

While we have made many, many drives across the US, the drive here was – well different. For one, we had a driver, who knew the routes. A far cry, from me trying to interpret hubby’s GPS and ‘trying’ to navigate while hubby yelled and drove at the same time. I am directionally challenged and instructions such as ‘after 100 feet turn sharply right’ make no sense to me – for I have look down at my hands to know that the one with the mole is the right hand – and so oh!! we have to turn this way – and by the time I know what to do – the turn has passed. So this time – we drove in peace.

The roads surprisingly were in excellent shape – 3 lanes each way – there was ample space to let the lunatics race away while we kept a steady 140kmph. The official speed limit for the highways is 120kmph, though it was not hard to spot the ones who did 180 or even 200. Not surprisingly, as usual, one saw a lot of accidents. And a lot of deserted vehicles.

The roads cut through the desert and the beauty of the surroundings would be far greater if the sides were not littered with worn out tires. Speed and heat had caused an untimely death for literally thousands of tires scattered all through the length of the highway. And yet, the sand dunes, the harshness of the environs, the lack of trees the relentless sun beating down all created a strangely romantic ambience.

And if you thought sand was well – after all – sand, you couldn’t have been more wrong. I saw alteast 6 shades of sand. From the ivory white sand, to the ash blond, the dirty blond, muddy brown, the maroonish red to the grey-ish sand – the landscape just kept changing colors – and yet nothing changed beyond that. I have yet to see the famed blue sands of the Farakka Desert in Egypt (where the song Suraj Hua Madham from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was shot).

My visions of seeing camels stroll past us leisurely - were all put to rest, since most of them were taking their siesta then. I barely saw a dozen camels and they too were merrily munching on the few available leaves. And I definitely didnt see any Bedouins. So much for my romantic illusions. We were hit momentarily by a bank of sand - but no sand storms - thank God!

It took an hour to clear customs at Bahrain. I later found out that while hubby and sonny had been issued a 2 week visa, me being poor Indian was issued only a 7 day visa. And while their visa cost us 5 Dinars each, mine cost 12. WTF!!!!

That aside, Bahrain seems to be nice place. No abaya – so I’m quite glad. I routinely see abaya clad women drive around and its such a welcome change to see female receptionists and waitresses. Lots of Indians and Sri Lankans here – so Indian stuff seems to be readily available.

The only minus – is that – inspite of being born and brought up in humid Mumbai – now whenever I reach a place with high humidity my hair just frizzes out. While the image of Monica from Friends keeps looming before my eyes (in the episode where they all go to this resort where Ross and Charlie have a conference and Mike proposes to Phoebe) - I hope keeping it tied down till it gets used to the place will be a better alternative than getting Monica-like braids :)

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9 Comments:

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Usha said...

6 shades of sand - hm sounds beautiful. Pictures please!

 
At 9:58 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Oh Yes. Please don't get the Monica braids.

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger Kodi's Mom said...

wow, road trip thru the desert, sounds lovely! and the shades of sand are fantastic - do you have any pictures?

 
At 2:06 AM, Blogger Just Like That said...

Wowed at the various shades of sand- was reminded of the story of Kanyakumari...
laughed at the Monica image- that bad, huh?

 
At 2:26 AM, Blogger Poppins said...

OMG You are some adventuress ! Keep writing. Six Shades of Sand reminds me of Mojave Desert in California (Have you ever been there? it's gorgeous!)

Awesome post. Have fun in Bahrain !

 
At 8:13 AM, Blogger Hip Grandma said...

have fun and report back

 
At 4:00 AM, Blogger Ekta said...

wow..am visualising the place and sounds wonderful!

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger Fuzzylogic said...

You are on a Arabian adventure:)Post some pics please!the trip sounds lovely but I'm sure the heat and humidity and frizzy hair are no fun:)

 
At 12:35 AM, Blogger Tharini said...

ahhhhh...good old beautiful bahrain. Home of my heart. 12 years of my life. Pls. let me know if you post more on bahrain....wud love to read your views.

 

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