Monday, September 20, 2010

From Spain to Bahrain - Two Old Fools and Ramadan

by Expat Focus columnist, Victoria Twead

Was it really less than three weeks ago that Joe and I sat in our kitchen in Spain, wondering what our new life in Bahrain held in store?

We’d agreed to exchange our idyllic, if sometimes crazy, life in a tiny Spanish mountain village - for a year teaching in Bahrain. We were replacing mountains with deserts. Crisp, clean air for city pollution and sandstorms. Exchanging the hourly chimes of our village church bells for mosques and Muslim calls to prayer. What would life be like in Bahrain? What were we letting ourselves in for?

Joe and I arrived in Bahrain at 2.00 am, tired and anxious. We’d almost been refused visas in Madrid, planes were delayed and connections missed. The heat hit us like a punch in the face. However, although exhausted, our eyes drank in the scenes flashing past as our taxi sped us to our apartment. We gaped at the modern skyscrapers of Manama, bright city lights, minarets and domed mosques, Arabs wearing headdresses and white robes. Andalucía already seemed a long way away.

The next few days, before school started, were a whirl of tours. The International School, our employers, took us to see the Grand Mosque, the F1 racetrack, Bahrain at night and sumptuous shopping malls. We were promised a visit to the King’s camels but were told it was too hot. For the camels or us? We weren’t sure.

Of course we knew we had arrived in the middle of Ramadan, but were blissfully unaware how that would affect us. And affect us it did. Ramadan is the 9th month of the Muslim year, a period of strict fasting. Nobody eats, or even sips water, between dawn and sunset...


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you arrived at the best time of year. Ramadh prepares you for stress, the weather for heat , and the food for putting on weight. It will get better and you, Inshallah, will end up loving it