Today started with another early morning in Bahrain. The benefits of getting up early is that we beat the morning crowd AND we get a FULL day in!!! We were up, pictures taken with the hotel camel, breakfast, shopping, and at the pool all before most people were even starting breakfast!
So, thanks kids for helping us get the most out of our last day in Bahrain!! : )
Our day started out good.... especially for Addyson who is our pork lover.... we found REAL American bacon!! You know, the kind we fry up in a pan on Sunday morning and get it really crispy to go with our eggs! Yep, we finally found that kind!
And it was good!!!! See, most of the bacon we found in Bahrain was more like Canadian bacon, so big pieces of back bacon, and it looked like they attempted to fry it like our skinny American bacon.... it was okay but wasn't fulfilling our need for bacon. Then, we heard about this place called Ric's and how THIS was the place for a good American breakfast and rumors were true!!! Now, when Owen heard Ric's, he thought of his favorite pastry place back home, Rick's, so we had to do lots of prepping before so he wasn't disappointed when he couldn't pick out his doughnut of choice!
And let me say, no one left hungry or disappointed!!! It was a nice, relaxing (as relaxing as it can be with 3 kids) breakfast that was the perfect way to end our visit to Bahrain! And don't you just love the delivery bike?!?! Most places have a bike like this, even McDonald's, to deliver to people! This allows the bike to get through the horrible traffic and to their destination before the food is cold.... or ice cream is melted! Yes, McDonald's will deliver you a ice cream cone using a bike like this!
After breakfast, we headed out to the souqs to do a bit of shopping. We went back to the same place we did shopping 3.5 year ago.... and not much has changed.... besides our family!! : )
Last time we were here I was new to the Middle East and really paranoid. I hadn't come fully prepared with items to wear but was told I didn't really need to, Bahrain is more liberal and woman can wear what they want. This is true.... however.... know that wearing what you want also means getting looked at by men and woman and it is a completely different feeling to be the minority, the one being looked at/ judged. So last time I wore a scarf to cover my arms and shorts. This time, Bahrain felt SO freeing to the "dress" I wear when out shopping in Saudi. Again, I didn't come prepared and I wore what I wanted.... I thought I would be comfortable in my decision.... however, I forgot that I am still a minority and would still be looked at..... it isn't the easiest feeling in the world especially for me who likes to try to blend in as best as possible and not draw attention to myself....
which was not the case today.... me in a skirt with my "blonde" hair showing and bare arms walking around with 3 fair skinned kids and an attentive husband doesn't lend itself well to blending in. I'm trying to get better at walking with my head high and not worrying about what others think.... however, know you are being stared at isn't a settling feeling for me.
Luckily, there is a lot to get lost in thought as you meander through tight spaces filled with "stuff" and people trying to sell you things left and right.... at this point, once you get into full shopping mode, you forget about what you are wearing and go into trying to find the best deal!
You also have to watch the kids because for one, people LOVE to touch kids. I'm not sure if it is all kids but I do know that fair skinned kids draw a lot of attention from strangers because we are so different. Also, shop owners are SO desperate to sell items that when our backs are turned, the kids have something in their hands that was given to them by a shop owner and the kids think it is free and theirs for the taking. So what happens, I take away the watch that was given to Owen who now thinks he is the rightful owner of the new watch (and he has been wanting a watch which makes this even worse) and I make Owen upset OR I cough up the money and pay for the watch to keep Owen happy. Of course, we gave the watch back but I just hate that we were put in that position to begin with. SO.... while shopping, you have to keep a close eye on the kids!
Thankfully, our main goal for this shopping trip was to get the kids soccer jerseys and that mission was accomplished and all the kids were happy! It ended up being a great morning walking the streets lined with vendors selling anything and everything you might ever want... and things you'd never have a need for but a shop vendor gave it to your 2 year old and your best option was to pay and walk away!!! : )
As we were walking away we looked down a little alley way and saw a group of men eating breakfast. It was a sight to see. There was a guy walking up and down taking the orders of the men who were enjoying their morning Arabic coffee and breakfast. I am in awe of these men only gatherings and wanted to take it all in..... however, I didn't want to be rude so I quickly walked away and sent Brad back to take a picture!! : ) They are less likely to call him out!
After our great morning out, we went back to the pool for a quick swim before doing a bit of grocery shopping to buy items we can't find in Saudi..... think meat items... and Tostitos chips...... and then made the 2 hour drive back home to Saudi! Once being back to our "home" after being gone for 3 days... it really felt like home. I think we are starting to settle into this place.... and mini trips away make home that much sweeter!!!