Greetings from Bahrain
Here I am in the Middle East! I never thought I would go overseas, let along travel to the Middle East but here I am and I have to say I love it here so far. We've been here a little over a week now and all that I've done and seen has amazed me. Our conceptions of what the Middle East is like is persuaded by what we see on tv and read in the news. And while I'm sure that some Middle Eastern people would not be welcoming, I've found the people here to be either friendly or simply indifferent. We've experienced no animosity at all and most people we run into comment about how cute Skye is, they all want to touch her hair or chubby little hands. Bahrain is beautiful as well, I was afraid I would yearn for the lush greenery of Florida and that I would be homesick without it. Again my preconeived notions of a desert were wrong, this isn't the Gobi desert after all. It is dusty near where we live but they have been building this area up a lot. The archiecture is quite lovely with a mix of amazing contemporary and traditional buildings. I rather like the traditional architecture, they have wind towers which were towers that were higher than the house and open on all 4 sides, when the wind blew in it was directed down and into all rooms of the house in the days before electricity and air conditioning. We took a drive out into the desert yesterday and I was surprised to see a lot of plants, there are many species of date palms here and the palm trees remind me of Florida so that makes me smile. There are also many varieties of ground cover and scrubby little trees. I thought the entire island was flat but as we drove out of Manamaw yesterday I was surpised to see that we were going over gentle hills, we saw an oil field and could see the huge flame buring off the excess, I thought it was neat. The food here is excellent. So far I have experieced turkish, persian, iraian, and local bahraini meals and I have been quite adventerous in what I will try. The only think I had that wasn't awesome was some eggplant rice with this yellow sauce, it was earthy in a way that made it taste like dirt!! But my favorite by far is a local Bahraini favorite, kind of like their fast food I suppose, called shawai'ma's........pronounced shwarma.........you can get either chicken or beef in a fresh flat bread with some veggies and a pickle and cucumber sauce. They are fantastic! The markets here are amazing with all manner of fresh spices, vegetables, fish, lamb, poultry.........no pork though! I find it funny to see "beef bacon" listed on the menus at fudruckers! All in all I find this kingdom to be interesting, beautiful, mysterious in ways, and simply awesome, I am going to have a wonderful year here and at this point I wouldn't mind if we had to extend it for another year as long as I get to go back to Florida for vacation!