Our last day in Bahrain. Most mornings we have used the home gym and cooled off a little in the pool; the pool is not heated but quite warm - a little warm for us! I guess close to 30 degrees! The air temperature mid-mornings has been close to 30; we have been lucky as the adjoining countries have been up to 45.
Yesterday we visited the souk, especially the gold souk which specialises in the natural pearls set in yellow gold - doesn't appeal to me. The first part of the souk was being repaved but further in it was the usual labyrinth of little alleyways all selling the same thing - most of it junk!! We walked from there to Frank's building, crossing a 6 lane highway onto a dirt pile in front of this most prestigious building - nothing is ever finished properly! We went to the 52 Floor to the Capital Club for a drink - a very impressive area with 2 dining rooms, a bar, lounge and a library. Quite the place to meet and do business.
Last night we went out to a traditional Persian restaurant and sat in a private cubicle and had avery good meal somewhat like Lebanese meal. No grog available.
Today we went into the city's new shopping complex like a huge Westfield built over three levels. The spaces were larger than at home and the shops more spacious and all the International names are there - the girls loved it. There was a large supermaket on the ground level, food looked good including NZ lamb, Aus mutton, local fish and local fare, was also quite cheap many items 1/2 Aus prices. Frances' driver picked us up after shopping and we went to a local gallery and framer. Framed prints very good and cheap with many old prints from scenes around the Middle East by David Roberts on his travels in the 1850's. We could not carry framed works so bought some mounted prints to add to our other unframed works.
Life in Bahrain is fairly quiet, locals don't generally work certainly physically. They move from air conditioned car to malls, clubs, restaurants etc and may spend summer on the continent. The only people on the streets are Bangledeshies and some Pakastanies. They all cycle as there are no cars for them and no public transport. These people run the country as labourers, shop assistants, drivers, petty public servants etc and they get $180 Aus per month in a country where a flat cost more than that. They survive by sleeping at work or six to a room. Our driver, from Sri Lanka was talking to a chap while we were in the gallery, who had been working for nearly 3 years on a building site opposite the gallery and in all that time had never been in an airconditioned room. Teachers, more senior police, doctors are from India or Sri Lanka. Locals all have inherited income streams which are not taxed and they receive sponsorship for all foreign enterprises. A new Bank may pay 10% of its capital to a sponser to set up. The King owns all non-private land and the Prime Minister all the business and the land under water so they receive a minimum of 10% up to 30% on all transactions. Recently much of the land underwater and adjoining the CBD was sold to developers who have created huge development sites on reclaimed land in these very shallow waterways.