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Monday, November 14, 2016

10/27: Challenges of Travel from Luxor to Bahrain

After ten days exploring modern Cairo and the antiquities of ancient Egypt, we departed Luxor for the next leg of our amazing four month long trip. I couldn't believe it when the sole security screener at the Luxor airport told me I needed to put my glasses and my rings through the scanner as I had never heard of anything like that before. It felt like he was on a 'power trip' knowing he absolute power over everyone needing to go through security. I refused to take my rings off and he relented.
We were looking forward to touring most of the Gulf States starting in Bahrain before continuing on to Qatar and Oman. After being on so many flights when we've only been given a bottle of water, we were delighted getting a full meal on our morning flight on Qatar Airways from Luxor to Doha in Qatar, the first leg of our trip to Manama, Bahrain. We were given the choice of ordering a chicken or lamb entree and as much wine or liquor as we wanted to drink, all at no cost!
I was so snookered from our extremely long day yesterday visiting much of southern Egypt and then up until the wee hours this morning working on the blog, that one glass of wine was enough to put me out like a light! 
Huge oil refineries are the source of tiny Qatar's wealth. We would be visiting the country in a few days after seeing the island nation of Bahrain first.
Unfortunately, we only had 40 minutes to race therough the Doha airport, surely the most beautiful airport we've ever seen, before having to catch our onward flight to Bahrain.

We landed in Manama, the capital and only city in Bahrain, in the late afternoon and picked up a rental car. While Steven filled out the paperwork, I scooted over to the DQ and got myself a decadent chocolate blizzard. What a heavenly taste of home.

The sign by the camel said it was part of the 'Caravan of Peace,' a project to promote national unity and the idea of peaceful co-existence among Bahrainis.
The rental car company had initially 'upgraded' us to a medium size car which would be no extra charge. However, we weren't in 'Dodge' any longer so Steven and I agreed we would be much better off in the much smaller car we had reserved. I think trying to get from any airport into a new city after the sun has set is trying under the best of circumstances but add in being in a country where we didn't know the rules of the road and couldn't easily read the street signs because they were signposted in Arabic first was pretty hairy. 

For Steven having to drive in Bahrain for the first time in a couple of months and with my having no GPS to help easily with navigation, certainly made it more challenging but Steven did a great job. Just another adventure was our way of thinking after we finally got to the hotel safe and sound, if a little bit on edge. 
Our hotel was in a fabulous location right by the Gold Souk but we had to change the room twice before getting one with no cockroaches and with AC and wifi that worked. Strangely enough, each of three rooms we saw only had one bath towel and no hand towel or bath mat either. Of course we weren't staying at a swanky hotel where we might have expected such niceties!
Once we got an acceptable room, we then wandered around Manama for a while. It was immediately apparent that the city was full of foreign workers; in fact, there were far more of them than native Bahrainis, something we had never encountered before.
I can't remember the last time, if any, I had seen a Rolls Royce! The streets in this area were often impossibly narrow and very challenging to drive on as Steven could attest to. Because there were so many one way streets, the Manama roads force drivers to drive a good distance going in the wrong direction before finally being able to turn around and then backtrack in the right direction.
Bahrainis and expats must have quite a sweet tooth based on all the sweets' stores we saw. This place must be heaven for dentists!

Seeing the welcoming Pizza Hut sign was a boon to our weary spirits and tired bodies. A deep dish cheese pizza has never tasted so good!
After a challenging couple of hours, we fell into bed pretty exhausted hoping for a more relaxing tomorrow.

Posted from Lalibela, Ethiopia on November 15th, 2016. 


  1. What bravery to rent a car in such an exotic location. YEAH Steven.

  2. Deep Dish Pizza and DQ blizzard.. the tastes of home !
    And kudos to Steven for driving without GPS in Manama... amazing! xo Lina


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