Saturday, November 12, 2005

They Cancelled Christmas???

So, we went to Bahrain. I don't know WHO gave me the hot eye, but apparently it was successfully accomplished.

We started off on Gulf Air – primarily because they serve wine (we didn't get any). The plane was delayed. There were 2 obnoxious girls sitting behind us; one with a nose ring (I haven't seen too many Kuwaiti girls with them). They kept spraying dayn al oud throughout the entire flight and arguing with the flight attendants. I wanted to haul off and smack one.

When we got to Bahrain, they stopped my friend in customs because the customs dude didn't know how to process her passport – as she is divorced from her Kuwaiti husband, has children, and doesn't need a sponsor. We sat there for half an hour until Tweedle Dumb could figure it out.

We got out and our hotel transfer wasn't waiting. I was going to rent a car and I forgot my drivers license in Kuwait. It just got worse from there. The bartender at our hotel made every drink on the menu with orange juice and gin – regardless of what we ordered. The hotel was new and pretty, but the service sucked in a big, bad way.

From what we were told, it was the first time in history that the Bahraini government had decided to fine and close bars and nightclubs during Eid because of code violations (serving alcohol even once during Ramadan). Shutting down discos in Bahrain during Eid is like cancelling Christmas: It just isn't done. All the good ones were closed. My girlfriends couldn't believe it and thought that we must be wrong (we weren't). It just doesn't feel like the same Bahrain to me anymore. The whole environment felt different. So anyhoooo, we ended up at a cheap sleezy nightclub that reminded me more of a jkhoor. Ick. We actually left Bahrain a day early and came back to Kuwait to have fun. How pathetic is THAT?

There was a 2 hour delay on the way back thanks to Gulf Air. Luckily, there is a bar with good wine at their airport, so we had something to do. Romanian met a Qatari guy sitting close by and they exchanged numbers (he later called to say that he was "open-minded" and to ask, "How close are you and your girlfriend?" Yuk!) The departure was almost okay – until Gulf Air lost the luggage of about 1/2 of the passengers on the flight, including ours. Tres sucky.

Well, I am back here where things (Mashallah, Mashallah, Mashallah) are very happy at the moment. The weather is beautiful. Life is good. Viva Kuwait!

10 comments:

U.E. said...

Oye, that bites. :-( What more can be said? Welcome back!

Mahmood Al-Yousif said...

By rights, the Minister of DISinformation SHOULD be in deep shit (the tourism dept being under his bailywick) because of these shenanigans which are just created specifically to please a few Islamist MPs, and had the businessmen/hoteliers had any balls, they would chop HIS off for his interference and helping turn the erstwhile beautiful Bahrain into a Taliban-like state... alas, the Islamists AGAIN win.

No one has balls any more to tell them that enough is enough...

As a Bahraini, I am EXTREMELY sorry for your bad experience and I totally understand it if you opt to go to Dubai or even better Muscat for your next break.

Desert Girl said...

Mahmood, it just didn't feel like the same happy-go-lucky place I knew. I used to be there almost every other weekend and loved it. There were some fundamentalist undercurrents on this visit. I was surprised how few westerners we saw overall. You're right - somebody should grow some balls. Tourism is THE economy in Bahrain. Banking is secondary really. Seems these ministry guys are cutting off their own arms. Unfortunately for Bahrain's economy, people like me will most likely turn to Dubai or Oman on the next trip - and I love the Bahraini people/hospitality. What a shame. Thanks for leaving your comments and coming back to see what I'm up to. :)

Evil Knievel said...

Sorry for your bad trip!
I was planning on going there in Jan ... well ... guess the trip will get rerouted ...
Welcome back!

TariqKhonji said...

What I believe happened, although its impossible to say with complete accuracy, is that parliament threatened to remove certain government officials from their positions if they did not enforce an alcohol ban.

I reported on the issue for the Gulf Daily News here:

http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/arc_Articles.asp?Article=126587&Sn=BNEW&IssueID=28235


Please come back to Bahrain, I don't think it will be like this next year. The impression that I got from attending this meeting is that the Information Minister realised that the government had made a grave mistake. The businessmen really hammered him and he had nothing to substantial to say in reply.

Also, please read my take on what is going on in Bahrain here. This was published as an opinion column in the GDN. I call it the Politicians Who Stole Eid.

http://www.tariqkhonji.com/main/societies.html

Qatar Cat said...

Ha, that's Qatari to you! VERY open minded! And you are right, Bahrain totally sucks lately...

=^..^=

William said...

You made me glad I didn't get my passport in time to take a mini vacation there.

Sorry the vacation sucked hardcore style.

Desert Girl said...

William, I wish the travel agent had had the cojones to tell me all this stuff before I went there. He HIGHLY recommended the hotel and yet, when I told him about all the problems, he wasn't surprised. Go to Dubai, but book in advance. Personally, I used to love Bahrain way more than Dubai, but alas... I have changed my mind.

nazif ali said...

wel come back after eid desert girl hwo are u love ?

me said...

Hey Lady..

youre trip remind me when i was trying to smogle drinks to my house with out leting know the huge family in Kuwaitthat i bring haram drinks in the house , whats wrong with our country? why and when we ganna have our own bars im sure they happy with high prices the dealers controling it.anyways i just wanna share my feelings to all wine lover and make sure when ever your in Paris,,let me know to take you for the best wine ever,
Khaled