Monday, April 25, 2011

From Spain to Bahrain - Two Old Fools Stay Put

by Victoria Twead

Nobody is allowed to talk about what is happening here in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The news channels and internet have fallen silent, and I, too, will say little. Joe and I only have 10 weeks to complete of our contract teaching in an International School in the city of Manama, and then we hop aboard that plane back to Spain and our crazy, beloved village in the AndalucĂ­an mountains. How we long for the fresh mountain breezes and tasting food without a dusting of sand...

Last month, the troubles here in Bahrain escalated to the point where the British Embassy advised us to evacuate. They even laid on a special flight for British expats, although the fare cost more than a regular flight... (And they wondered why it returned to Britain empty?) But we’ve never felt personally threatened here, in spite of distant gunfire, numerous checkpoints, tanks parked along the roads and constant helicopter activity above. So we stayed. Nearly all the American and Canadian teachers left, and the Lebanese male teachers were deported. We felt we should stay and help keep the school open because the school has been very good to us and we owed the owners that.

Things are easier now; we are no longer under house arrest, and the curfew hours have been reduced. We choose not to travel much around the island, but we could if we wanted. The British Embassy has given us very little guidance, but our American friends pass on their (very good) Embassy advice so we know what to do at checkpoints:

“We no longer advise U.S. citizens to limit movements to areas around their residence, but we encourage everyone to follow the guidelines listed below, especiall...

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