This is a hard post to write, which is annoying because I have a feeling it’s the one people are waiting for. What are my first impressions of Bahrain? It’s hard because I can’t think of the right way to explain it so I’m having trouble figuring out how to write…
(Side note… I’m in Bahrain for a week, then moving to Dubai. Where I’ll be living.)
I can say, Bahrain is not what I expected…
Not in a bad way by any means, just not what I had in my head. I think because it’s different. There’s no way I could have imagined this place in my head because I’ve never seen anything like it, so how would my brain be able to draw it up?
Also, I should make it very clear, it’s really different visually, like when you look out the window. However, it doesn’t feel really different as far as the language, stores, and even people and dress really. For example, the mall has Caribou Coffee. Minnesota has Caribou Coffee, but even Texas doesn’t have it. They literally have everything.
The mall even surprised me with an Arab snowman and Christmas tree :).
The malls have every store you can imagine, including grocery stores… Just 3x the price of America 🙂
Because I was having trouble with what to write, I spoke with my dear friend Google and asked what to do when I can’t think of the words to describe a place. He suggested going after the five senses, so I’m going to give that a try.
Sound: Bahrain sounds like any other city really, with the usual car horns, music, and people conversing. You can hear some people speaking in Arabic but you also hear a lot of English, so really it sounds the same to me as it did in Texas. People speaking English… and people speaking a language I don’t understand. Usually Spanish in that case.
I guess the other sound that’s kind of cool and different is the sound of the Mosque. I’m staying in Wafiq’s family’s house which happens to be right across the street from a Mosque so we hear it whenever it’s time for prayer. Hopefully I can record it sometime to post..
This picture is me standing in the street outside Wafiq’s house. You can see the tall Mosque on the left hand side of the picture and Wafiq’s house is on the right side…
Smell: I don’t know how but it smells like an island. It smells the same way the Dominican Republic did when I lived in the Santo Domingo. Like an island with some pollution mixed with sea salt. I actually really appreciate the smell, because I fell in love with the DR and the smell reminds me of being there…
Taste: Ok, if my homeboy Google is suggesting I describe the taste of Bahrain as far as it’s food… OMG. I’m going to be fat. Real soon. I’m obsessed with the powerful spices in meals filled to the rims with flavor flav. There’s chicken, beef, lamb, tabbouleh, hummus, lemons, rice, everything all mixed together, MMMMMMMMmmmmMMMM. I don’t know how someone could have anything bad to say about the food options here. Delish. Obviously, there’s a Chili’s, McDonalds, P.F. Changs, and Burger King too, if I’m ever in dire need of some good ol American food…
Touch: What does this mean when describing a place Google?!
Sight: This is the tough part for me, because it’s so different. I’m going to sound all over the place with this one. There’s a skyline, with super huge random buildings everywhere. Each one is built differently. Each with their own unique looking feature. One has fans, the other is built looking slightly twisted, while two others standing together match perfectly.
I think I expected the sky to look more blue, but it kind of has a brown haze. I guess some days are worse than others. The first day I was here it looked really hazy to me, but the second day it looked a lot more blue and clear. I’m thinking it’s the sand from the desert, sometimes gets up in the sky…?
There’s palm trees on the sides of roads, but date palms I think they’re called? They look smaller, and don’t have bananas or coconuts.. But hey, a palm tree is a palm tree in my eyes.
I think because it’s almost Bahrains independence day, there is Bahrain swag EVERYWHERE. Red and white power! Everywhere, on everything, every light, everything. Red and White. Everywhere.
The roads look the same as America, but the neighborhoods are different. I expected to be driving down the neighborhood roads and see big houses on big houses on big houses. I got the big houses right (at least in my opinion), but you don’t really see anything but the top of them. This is because they ALL have big gates around their houses. So when you’re driving down the road all you see is walls. And tops of homes poking out. This is weird for me. Really weird. Makes sense though… Then you enter and see these big, beautiful houses. All cozy and protected by the big pretty gates…
Here’s a picture of me!… In the street.. Wafiq’s street, where I was staying.. As you can see, you don’t really notice the houses like you would driving around in the States
This is the outside of Wafiqs house…
And then when you open the gate..
Big house.. Lots of really nice houses here. You just can’t see them like you could driving around the states because of the gates.. That was different than I imagined I guess.
There you go! For not knowing what the heck to say about this place, I think I did a decent job.. Good warm up for my first impression of Dubai post!