2015 has been a year of change for our family. Changing homes and changing countries.
I am not sure what part of these types of process’s are more stressful – the planning and anticipation, or the actual events, none the less, here we are, settling into life in the Middle East – a far cry and distance from Chintsa East on the Southern Coast of South Africa.
The Kingdom of Bahrain – our current spot on The Rock – is an archipelago of 18 islands, many of which are joined to the mainland by causeways or landfill.
Once a central part of the ancient Dulmin Civilization which spread across Southern Iraq and Kuwait, its name refers to ‘two seas’ – although no one seems quite clear which two seas exactly….
With a heritage rich in pearl diving, fishing and trading, the island now offers fabulous Malls and pretty good infrastructure but is sadly lacking in quality beaches or any obvious beach pride – even though the ocean is still used extensively for fishing and recreation.
The sea is beautiful and the patches of green that have survived in between the ongoing and extensive development allude to what was once a garden island, apparently milder in temperature before the bulk of it trees were removed. In fact rumour has it that this may well have been the site or at least the inspiration for the original garden story…way back when…
Now dust and heat prevail through the scorching summers although the winters I am assured, are milder.
From pearls and trade, Bahrain discovered and moved into oil production and a new stage of wealth. Oil transportation pipes run along side many of the highways (see the image above) and with oil came currency which in turn led to banking – now another part of Bahrain’s personality, with the Dinar rated as one of the world’s strongest currencies.
Down the road from our complex lies the 25 km long King Fhad Causeway joining Bahrain to Saudi. Since the start of the oil years Bahrain has become a haven for families of expats working in Saudi, offering what many consider a more liberal lifestyle.
Apparently around half the population currently living in Bahrain are expat, and as of yet I have still to come across anyone who speaks negatively of their experience here. Rather telling…
While Bahrain may not be shiny pearls, palms and peace- all of the time – it has provided us so far with some fascinating experiences, including extreme heat, friendly people, diverse cultures, fabulous food and insight into Arabic and Muslim lifestyles. We also get to spend regular time together as a family which makes for a much needed change 🙂
Last week I sat around a table drinking coffee and chatting with some of the women living around us. Strong, interesting women from Germany, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen, The States, France and Scotland. I came away from that experience feeling exhilarated – who wouldn’t? I anticipate an interesting journey ahead…
For More on the In’s and Out’s of Bahrain read my friend IIka’s blog An Expat in Bahrain – A Guide to Loving Life at: https://ilkaclune.wordpress.com/
Sept / Oct 2015 – Celebrating New Experiences and our move to Bahrain