A United attack fare lead to a trip to Bahrain, the UAE, and Kuwait. Definitely not a “normal” place for more Americans to vacation, but who ever said that I was normal? Luckily I have other friends that are into weird trips, so Aaron and I set off on this one…
As this is a TBT post, here are my [mostly unedited] thoughts from the trip about a year and a half later… yeah, yeah, I need to work on that! I’ll add – this was my first more ‘out there’ destination. Previously, I had only traveled to Europe, Central America, and the Caribbean, and I find it interesting to look back on my thought process during this trip. [Any added comments are in brackets.]
Saturday/Sunday: Travel Days (Nov 2, 3)
Amtrak: LNS to CHI, Blue line to ORD
Met up with Aaron at ORD, went to Delta Lounge and AA Lounge, because… lounges.
ORD – IAD: B757 – Window Seat. Aaron and I had a few good laughs over “…you will be earning valuable miles on this trip…” [Note: This is right after United announced their devaluation on the redemption side.]
IAD: Tried to go to BA and US Air Lounges. Couldn’t get into BA lounge and US Air lounge wasn’t there even though website said there was one.
IAD-KWI: B777 – Middle Seat. Pretty decent flight. Aaron and I both slept for most of it, me a little more on-and-off, Aaron even though it was in E-. We flew over Iraq on the way here, pretty close to Baghdad actually. We circled out over the water before we landed, Aaron and I think it was to avoid flying lower over Iraq. The landing was really smooth, and there isn’t very much green here. A lot of sand. Aaron and I figured out a general game plan for our day in Bahrain, but I am sure we will discuss it more tonight too.
KWI: Deplaned even though we were continuing on the same plane to BAH and sat in the waiting area because we didn’t have a ton of time. Aaron went to explore a little bit, but he had to come back through security to get to the waiting area.
It’s really dark and dreary outside even though it is only 5pm. Apparently there had been rain forecasted, but our pilot said it had cleared up before we landed… so either it hasn’t, or it gets dark a lot earlier here… because it looks pretty miserable. After sitting here for a few more minutes, I definitely think that it gets darker here earlier. Overheard comment from people near me: Daylight hours here are approximately 4am to 5:30pm. Do people regularly walk around the airport wearing only socks on their feet? [Lol that was a quick topic change.]
KWI-BAH: B777, Window Seat. Aaron and I have our seats in different rows (which I think is my fault because I kept screwing around with our seats and United made it harder when they split the itinerary), but I think that both of us are the only person in our row, so that will be kind of nice. He is just one row behind me, so if that proves not to be the case then maybe we will trade, or the flight is only about an hour, so it doesn’t really matter. We saw a really cool lightening storm… it was literally amazing! The coolest lightning storm I have ever seen, for sure.
Bahrain: We picked up our rental car and headed off towards our hotel. We had a little bit of trouble getting there, but not too much. Our room is really nice – we are staying at the Residence Inn. Parking the car was really funny because the parking structure is super tight, and we don’t even have that big of a car! We went to an Indian restaurant down the road for dinner. It was really good.
Monday: Bahrain (Nov 4)
We got up pretty early today, partially because of the time change and partially because it makes sense to do things earlier in the day here. [Even in November during our visit, temperatures were generally over 90F.] We had breakfast at the hotel and then took our car on an adventure to see the Tree of Life. It was definitely a worthwhile drive to see it! It’s interesting to note that there were signs along the “highway” saying where it was and was not ok to camp… I don’t really know why anyone would want to camp out that way though. On the way back, we saw the A’ Ali Burial Mounds (from the highway that we were driving on). We then went downtown Manama and browsed around one of the Souqs and had lunch. I went to the bathroom that was in the mall where lunch was, and I flushed the toilet after, and the bathroom attendant asked me if I was American… so maybe people don’t flush their own toilets here? After lunch we had to come back to the hotel to pack up our things so we could check out.
Aaron took a power nap while I did some things online. We then headed out to the nearby mosque. We went inside to do the tour… I wore an abaya and headscarf, so that was kind of weird. The lady who gave us the tour was very nice but kind of preachy. After the tour we just drove around and looked at the buildings. We went inside one of the malls, it was an expensive one, and just walked around before heading to the airport. At the airport we went to the Delmon Lounge — it was quite a nice lounge.
BAH-DXB: B737. Slept through most of the flight. Tampon girl. Rough landing. [Tampon girl was a girl with a gigantic box of tampons as her carry-on on the plane. I assume it was either way less expensive or way easier to get them in Bahrain than Dubai or where ever it was she was headed. Nonetheless, not a carry-on I have ever seen before.]
The Sheraton is nice, got upgraded to an Executive Suite — excited to explore tomorrow!