Date Night on Bahrain's National Day

Last night was date night! Casey took me to Senor Paco's and it was fantastic! We pulled up to a plain looking white-washed building with a dirt lot and a small sign that said "Senor Paco's". I was excited and a bit amused, I mean how authentic could Mexican food be in Bahrain? As soon as we entered the arch with the hand-made wrought iron gates I could tell Casey knew what he was talking about. There was a fountain with an aztec mosaic, flagstone courtyard, the windows were all hand-painted with scenes of moutains, burros, and aztec warriors, the walls were made of beautiful stacked stone. There were lights dancing in the trees, the air was cool, and a light breeze kept the leaves whispering in the night. It didn't look or feel like Bahrainat all. The only reminder of where we really were came once we were inside, the waiters were all Indian instead of Mexican. My first suprise came when I saw beer, liquor, and wine on the menu, I haven't been to a restaurant yet that served alcohol so of course I had to order a margarita. The waiter started to list flavors ranging from the delicious to the slightly bazaar...Casey chose peach and I chose strawberry. I was not disappointed, it was perhaps the best margarita of my life, made with fresh strawberry puree and rimmed with sugar instead of salt. Casey's was just as awesome, made with peach and a lot more tequila! He said that is pretty common in places that serve mixed to drinks to make the womans' weaker. It was fine with me, I didn't want to be drunk, I just wanted a bit of a drink! Our waiter brought fresh salsa and warm tortilla chips and it was so good! It reminded me of La Nap the way they brought it but the salsa tasted different, it was chunkier and a good deal spicier than la naps! For my meal I had Fajitas De Grande.......it was a bit of heaven on a plate. Beef, chicken, shrimp with bbq glaze, and 3 small pork spare ribs! I had to get the ribs, this is a country that doesn't eat pork so finding it on a menu meant I HAD to get it! It sounds like a ton of food but they don't serve ridiculous American portions here so I got just a sampling of each meat. The sour cream is very thick and not quite as tangy as ours, I like it a lot though, and the quacamole is amazing as well. We had a lovely meal peppered by great conversation and colored with the sounds of karaoke drifting in from the bar. We had quite a few laughs with that one, tons of badly sung 80's songs came our way amid lots of cheers and laughter! It was quite the party and I would have been happy to go hang out at the bar after dinner but Casey wanted to drive around and just enjoy our time alone.

I had read that it was Bahrain's National Day (like our July 4th) but I wasn't prepared for the length's they go to to celebrate it. Every building in downtown Manama was lit red and white, the colors of the flag. The water in the fountains was lit red and white as were all the man sculptures. There were people walking all over, going to concerts and just hanging out in the streets. Traffic was a nightmare but we didn't mind at all because it was so festive, the energy was contagious. People painted their cars too look like the Bahraini flag, they were hanging out of windows and sunroofs waving flags, yelling, and spraying silly string in all directions. The people were loud, the music was loud, I just wanted to get out and join them. Their pride for their country is un-matched, it amazed me to see that not only do the citizens celebrate but the corporations and businesses as well, the entire downtown area was one big street party....minus the drinking! They have 5 nights of celebrations so tonight we are going to take the girls our driving so they can see the lights, I will also bring my camera this time so I can get some pictures and video of the festivities! We got home after midnight and heard the car horns and voices until well after 1 am, these people really do it up!

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