On our second day on the island, we got outside of Manama. We are staying in the area known as Riffa, which is one of the southern suburbs of Manama. After a morning of skateboarding on the streets of the Riffa Views gated community, we took the kids to Al Jazayer Beach. The beach is located on the south west coast of the island. We was a decent beach for kids. The water was clear and shallow, perfect for kids. There was plenty of playground equipment and the beach was generally free of litter. There were also shade structures and trees to set up a picnic area.
It was strange to see women on the beach in their full “ninja”, or black robes. The only people swimming were foreigners, besides us there was a British family. The closet the locals came to swimming, were two women getting their feet wet. I also saw a family stop what they were doing, face Mecca and pray into the setting sun. No one bothered us and we had a spirited game of beach soccer followed by rock throwing into the water. It was my first time swimming in the Persian Gulf. The water was cold and salty. It must be refreshing in the Bahrain summer. Yesterday tempertures were in 70’s.
Last night, my brother-in-law and I went for drinks in downtown Manama. We went to the Hard Rock Café and a club known as F1. The Hard Rock was exactly what they are all over the world. There were no women in the place, however, and a couple of Bahrainis in their robes and headdress drinking beer. There was a live band in the F1, playing covers ranging from Metalllica to Lady Gaga. There were close to hundred “professional” girls, mostly from China. Several approached our tables to offer their services, which we politely refused. They were charging anywhere from 100 to 300 dollars per night. It was very sad that they had to do this to make a living.
There certainly a lot of money around here with Cadillac and BMW dealerships galore and spectacular sky scrapers. I’m still trying to understand the traditional clothes of Arabs. I associated the robes with the desert, camels, and tents, not driving Hummers and walking through air-conditioned malls. I also see some Bahrainis dressed “western” and others in traditional gear. I want to know if there are certain days or occasions that they were the robes.