This weekend my friend and I took the 1.5 hour flight over to the island kingdom of Bahrain because you only inhabit the earth for one lifetime. (Or yoitefol, as the kids are saying these days.) Being a racist American, I sort of just expect that all Gulf countries are the same, but they really aren’t. They’re similar, don’t get me wrong. Bahrain looks like I imagine Dubai looked twenty years ago. Things are mid-construction, it’s not super crowded, the building styles are similar, the roads are similar.
Bahrainis are super nice and laid back though. For example, living in a land of opulent, showy wealth, it was refreshing to find that the taxi drivers aren’t all imported people of significantly lower classes. The taxi drivers were actually Bahrainis. The chance you would ever see an Emirati (or Saudi or Qatari, from what I understand) taxi driver is none.
Taxis were ridiculously expensive though. As was food and drink. Which surprised us. One would think that the more wealthy country (i.e. UAE) would have higher living costs, but that was not the case. It was definitely a drain on my wallet.
To be honest, I could never live there and I don’t particularly think it’s worth the cost to return, but I did genuinely enjoy the people I met there. We met a group of naive British army men who assumed we were also in the army because what other jobs are there? We met a Saudi man who was fantastically liberal and talked politics with me (which is one of my favorite pasttimes with people from other countries.) We met a philosopher professor from Tunisia who assumed that as an American, I would obviously love Derrida. We met an over-the-top gentlemanly Canadian who attempted to speak Arabic to everyone. And we met many, many Bahraini taxi drivers.