Saturday, 24 December 2011

Switched from Blogger to Wordpress

Hello everyone.. So I've switched over from Blogger to Wordpress. My new blog can be found at: www.menamuse.wordpress.com. Please pop by!!!

I look forward to seeing you all there.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Things to do in Bahrain: Top Eleven


The top things to do in Bahrain really depend on who you ask. I tried to keep it to a nice round amount of ten but I just couldn’t. So here they are, my top eleven things to do in Bahrain:

Bahrain’s National Museum
I’m a bit of a museum fan to be honest so believe me when I tell you this one is pretty cool. It covers 6,000 years of Bahrain’s fascinating history. Wander through a hall of archaeology in which there is an actual burial mound and on to an area which tells you all about the ancient civilisation on the Dilmun. Another hall depicts Bahrain’s recent pre-industrial past with models of traders, fishermen, craftsmen. Dotted throughout the museum are glass cases exhibiting old Quranic manuscripts, historical documents such as the Perpetual Treaty of Peace and Friendship signed by Bahrain and Britain.

You will also find a wonderful art gallery here where exhibitions of local and international artists are held periodically.

It is located by the sea and a walk around the building leaves you feeling very relaxed.

Bahrain National
Museum
Photo by justDONQUE.images on Flickr

Manama Souq
The souq in Manama never gets old. If you want anything, guaranteed you’re going to find it here (unless it’s a genuine, well, anything). Get lost in the narrow labyrinthine alleyways, dodging salesmen who try to lure you into buying anything from wailing mosque alarm clocks to Saddam Hussein playing cards. Wander through the spice section where mounds of cumin, coriander, saffron, and chilli pepper – anything you want – emit pungent aromas and tempt you to buy much more than you need. Next up is the gold souq – every woman’s dream. Yellow gold, white gold, sterling silver and precious stones sparkle from hundreds of shop windows and the best bit? It’s affordable!

Seriously it’s one of my favourite things to do to get lost in the souq (I say get lost but you just keep walking and you’ll find a way out eventually). Anything from watches and creepy talking dolls to electronics and musical instruments, from Bahrain football kits to yards and yards of material.

Photo of the souq. Image is my own.

Art Gallery Hopping
Bahrain’s art scene is very up and coming. There are so many great artists - both local and expatriate - and it’s great when you’re out there to see it practically blossoming right before your eyes. Which art galleries to go to would be a whole new post entirely and I promise I’ll do it for you. For now I say check out Al Riwaq Art Space and Al Bareh Art Gallery.


 Bahrain International Circuit
The Bahrain Grand Prix made its debut in 2004 and has been pretty successful almost every year since (2011’s was cancelled). It’s worth taking a trip down to the circuit, where the great F1 drivers have sped around and where there are often other motoring events going on at any time. You also have the option of booking a Hummer of caterham ride and there is a great go-karting track in the shape of the actual F1 track to play around on.

Bahrain International
Circuit map
Photo by Fred Hsu on Flickr


Al Dar Island
This is a great day out. For just BD10 you can hop on a little boat which will take you over to Al Dar Island where there is a small stretch of sandy white beach you can relax on all morning before getting a snack and a cocktail at the little beach hut café. There are water sports you can join in on such as jet skiing and banana boating and you can even book a pearl diving session. Recently too, the organisers have built a few chalets so you can spend the night on the island very comfortably.

Al Dar Island Summer
Getaway 2011
Photo by justDONQUE.images on Flickr


Eating
Next to shopping, eating is literally the island’s favourite pastime. I debated whether to put eating as one or start naming separate places to eat but again that would be a whole new post which I’m also surely going to do for you. Basically, whatever may tickle your fancy you can get – from Bahraini to British, Lebanese to Filipino, Italian to Mediterranean. Because Bahrain’s population consists of so many different nationalities there is pretty much a restaurant for everyone and to suit a whole range of budgets.

The best areas to go? The local villages for some of the best tikka, shawarmas and juices or Adliya’s Block 338 where there are a whole host of restaurants and bars to choose from. Depends what you’re looking for! If you’re a junk food junkie you could always visit Juffair’s Little America or as I prefer to call it, Cholesterol Alley.


 Drinking
I’m not going to lie and say Bahrain’s pub and club scene is very good. It’s very much a matter of who you’re with. But then again there are some great themed nights every so often and JJ’s Irish Bar and Restaurant is pretty good at getting awesome tribute bands out which always makes for a fun night out. If you’ve been reading my blog much you’ll notice me mention Trader Vic’s which is a Polynesian themed restaurant and as you may be able to guess it is one of my favourite places in Bahrain. The tasty cocktails are reasonable and the tropical atmosphere is relaxing. You can sit inside and listen to the South American band that plays great Latin-style music which is sure to get you up dancing. Or you could head outside to Mai Tai and sit back on a very comfortable chair and look out at the ocean or manmade lake where flamingos frolic (oh yes I alliterated). What’s not to like!?

Management of Trader Vic’s if you’re reading this – I expect my commission in the post thanks!

A Trader Vic's cocktail. Image is my own.

Lost Paradise of Dilmun Water Park (LPOD)
It’s just one of those things you’ve got to do when you go to a country isn’t it? Go to a water park. To be honest I’m not a fan of the water parks but I know most people are so I popped this one on in the interest of my reader ;).

I’m not going to go into too much detail on this one... just provide you with a link and let you do your research.


Beit Al Quran
This is a fascinating place to visit. It is a complex that comprises of a museum consisting 10 exhibition halls, a mosque, a library, an auditorium and a school.

In particular you must visit the museum where ancient documents and Quranic manuscripts are housed and where calligraphic traditions are displayed. There also a range of Islamic artefacts, jewellery and ornaments as well as art pieces. If memory serves me correctly you will also find a whole verse of the Quran written on a single grain of rice.

Beit
al-Quran
Photo by Omar Chatriwala on Flickr


Tree of Life
At the risk of there being a number of you that get angry at me for suggesting this site, I had to put the Tree of Life here. You just can’t go to Bahrain without checking it out at least once… and never again.

I’m not sure if I’ve already told you but many scholars believe that Bahrain might be the original Garden of Eden. Well, some people believe that the Tree of Life actually marks the location of the Garden.

Basically it’s a giant, lonely tree which lies smack bang in the middle of a very arid desert. A bit of a miracle in other words. Unfortunately over the years some ignorants have spray painted graffiti over the tree’s branches. As I said, still worth a look though.

Tree of Life
Photo by Rick’s Images on Flickr


Desert Camping
I have such great childhood memories of doing this and I think everyone should create some of their own. Go with someone who knows their way around and make sure you’re not stepping on to any forbidden territory but when you find the perfect spot of sand and set up camp and light your fire you’ll have such a magical night partying under the stars.

This post was written by Katy Gillett. You can contact her on kgillett@uclan.ac.uk

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Bahrain's Nightlife

So I've created a little multimedia slideshow to illustrate to you all what Bahrain's nightlife looks like (and to give other expats a trip down memory lane).

You'll see little plus signs or 'hot spots' during the show so click on them and check out what else I have to show you or say!

Just a quick word about the music - it was created by some friends of mine who formed a band called the Crimson Sofa Project around 7 or 8 years ago. I thought it would be perfect to highlight the music/social scene in Bahrain while providing a lovely bit of nostalgia for those of you who were there and remember them.

For now, enjoy, and if you fancy a night out then let me know!



All images and videos are my own.

This post was written by Katy Gillett. You can contact her on kgillett@uclan.ac.uk


Monday, 5 December 2011

Bahrain: An Historical Timeline


Look through my interactive timeline as I briefly take you through Bahrain's fascinating history:




References:
Bahrain and the Gulf: Past Perspectives and Alternative Futures

This post was written by Katy Gillett. You can contact her on kgillett@uclan.ac.uk

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Football: A Global Language

A Bahrain national football team match. Good turn out
Football in Bahrain is just a big a deal as it is in the UK. There are plenty of budding Ronaldos and Rooneys, they're just hiding at the moment.

A national team leaflet
Now I’ve seen a few matches and done a bit of filming. Below is a video mash up of those matches. I must warn you however that the filming is appalling as it was done on a rubbish camera. You get the idea though.

Going to watch a Bahrain national football team match is always great (unless you go when it’s hot… just don’t). The crowd is buzzing and it is one of those experiences that allow you to see the real side of a country, and make you feel a part of it. If, as in my case, you’re a blonde white girl, you do stick out like a sore thumb but luckily no one really cares because they’re too busy singing, eating and screaming. It is still a good idea to either be with some male friends or some Bahrainis though.


Guys and gals enjoy the match together



Now Bahrain is definitely not known for its exquisite football skills and when you’re watching it can be rather frustrating even if you are a football dunce like me. They’re not bad at intercepting and keeping the ball but when it comes to finishing… ARGH! They do manage to pop a few in though, and when they do everyone starts chanting OLE OLE OLE OLE (you can hear this at one point near the end of the video). It’s a pretty catchy tune actually (if you listen very carefully you can hear me singing along).I have to say the best bit has to be the food (shawarmas!) and awesome souvenirs (flags etc).


Friends of mine getting in the spirit
So I watched them play Oman, Thailand, Japan and Australia in the lead up to the 2010 World Cup. They were doing really well and managed to get to the last match in their group, which was against Australia in Aus but they fell at the last hurdle (watched this one on TV unfortunately). If they had have won that match though, they would have gotten into the World Cup and been in the same group as England!

This was the second time they got that close.

Third time lucky guys??







                                                  


This post was written by Katy Gillett. Images and video are her own. You can contact Katy at kgillett@uclan.ac.uk

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Nobel Peace Prize Winners from the Middle East

There have so far been 10 Middle Eastern Nobel Peace Prize winners from the Middle East. Here I'm going to give you a brief break down of who they were and why they were awarded. But first I'd like to say that I want to update this list in a few years to include a Bahraini. I know there are plenty of deserving people there so come on Bahrain!


1978 
Mohamed Anwar Al Sadat and Menachem Begin

A Matter of Opinion
Image by Assaf Shtilman on Flickr

Mohammed Anwar Al Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving for 11 years until 1981 when he was assassinated during an annual victory parade in Cairo which celebrates Egypt’s crossing of the Suez Canal.

Menachem Begin was the head of the Likud party and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel, serving for six years until 1983. He died of a heart attack at age 78 in 1992.

Both men were celebrated and hated for many reasons but in 1978 they were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize because they signed the Camp David Agreement which brought about a negotiated peace between Egypt and Israel.


1994
Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres

Yasser Arafat
Image by Deede Kharisma on Flickr

Controversial figure Yasser Arafat was the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), leader of the Fatah political party and president of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) for eight years until 2004 when he died at age 75.

Yitzhak Rabin was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office until his assassination by right-wing Israeli radical Yigal Amir in 1995.

Shimon Peres is the ninth President of the State of Israel, having served twice before as Prime Minister and Interim Prime Minister.

These three men were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for peace talks that produced the Oslo Accords which was an attempt to resolve the Palestine-Israel conflict. A statement released by the Norwegian Nobel Committee said the prize was awarded
“to honour a political act which called for great courage on both sides, and which has opened up opportunities for a new development towards fraternity in the Middle East.”
 

2003 
Shirin Ebadi

SHirin Ebadi
Image by Olivier Pacteau on Flickr

Shirin Ebadi was the first ever Iranian and Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She is an Iranian lawyer, writer, former judge, lecturer, human rights activist and founder of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre in Iran. She is currently living in exile in the UK.

2003’s Prize was awarded to her
“for her efforts for democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children.” Moreover, the Norwegian Nobel Committee stated:
“She has stood up as a sound professional, a courageous person, and has never heeded the threats to her own safety… She favours enlightenment and dialogue as the best path to changing attitudes and resolving conflict.”



2005 
Mohamed El Baradei and the IAEA

Mohamed El Baradei painted portrait P1040891
A portrait of Mohamed El Baradei. Image by Abode of Chaos on Flickr

Mohamed El Baradei is an Egyptian law scholar and diplomat who has played a rather pivotal role in the recent 2011 Egyptian revolution which has ousted President Hosni Mubarak. He was the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – an international organisation which promotes the peaceful use of nuclear energy - for 12 years until 2009.

He and the IAEA were jointly awarded the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize
“for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way.”


2011
Tawakkul Karman, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee 

Also known as the “Mother of the Revolution”, Tawakkul Karman is a Yemeni journalist, politician, human rights activist and co-founder of the group Women Journalists Without Chains, who also became a prominent figure in the 2011 Yemeni uprising. She is the first Yemeni, Arab woman and second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Prize.

Yemen Protester
Image of a female Yemeni protester by ssoosay on Flickr

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the 24th President of Liberia and is the first and currently only elected female head of state in Africa.

Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist who was responsible for leading a women’s peace movement which brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003 and led to the election of Ellen Sirleaf.

These three astonishing ladies were jointly awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize “For their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”.

In a press release published last month it was said:
“It is the Norwegian Nobel Committee's hope that the prize... will help to bring an end to the suppression of women that still occurs in many countries, and to realise the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent."



This post was written by Katy Gillett. You can contact Katy at kgillett@uclan.ac.uk

Monday, 21 November 2011

In Bahrain's Image



Click on the 'hot spots' for more information on Bahrain.

Images are my own. Music by Nazihyat.


This post was written by Katy Gillett. You can contact Katy at kgillett@uclan.ac.uk

Friday, 18 November 2011

Mornings in Jenin: The Film Adaptation

One of my favourite books of all time, Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa, is to be made into a movie by Filmworks Dubai who picked up the rights just yesterday according to literary and film agency Pontas.

Freedom Theatre in Jenin 003 - Aug 2011
Freedom Theatre in Jenin, Palestine. By Guillaume Paumier (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

To give you a very brief summary:

The story starts off in 1948 Palestine when the Abulheja family are forced to leave their ancestral home in Ein Hod and move into a refugee camp in Jenin. We mainly follow Amal Abulheja, who was born in the camp, and experiences more love and loss than we could imagine in her lifetime. Told through six decades of Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the story is set in Palestine, Israel, Lebanon and America. We are told the story of her brothers: one, kidnapped when young and brought up to be an Israeli soldier, and the other, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation who is willing to die for his peoples' freedom. We also learn of her mother, father, grandparents, friends and finally, her daughter.

Susan Abulhawa is an American-based author and human rights activist of Palestinian descent. She lives with her daughter in Pennsylvania and is the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine, a children's organisation which is "dedicated to upholding the Right to Play for Palestinian children living under Israeli military occupation in Palestine and in refugee camps elsewhere" according the her website.

Her debut novel, Mornings in Jenin, was originally published in America in English as The Scar of David by Bloomsbury but has since been translated into many other languages. Now it is set to go into production at the end of 2013!

This excites me for two reasons:

Firstly, this is a deeply moving book which highlights atrocities in Palestine while still managing to remain sympathetic to Israelis. It is heartbreaking, enlightening, beautifully written and real. I would honestly bet that if anybody read this book their eyes and heart would open to a pain and strength that many, many of us have never even had to imagine.

Secondly, Filmworks Dubai have been pretty awesome at film production so far. They produced an excellent movie called City of Life which was directed, written and produced by the pioneering Emirati film maker (and rather good looking Dunhill ambassador) Ali F Mostafa who I've had the very good fortune to actually meet (I had to put that out there!). They also produced Tobe Hooper's thriller Djinn which I have not seen, but after reading about it (it's a slasher flick set in Abu Dhabi) I'm certainly going to!

And if that's not enough to convince you - which I'm pretty sure it's not as I'm not sure how many people will have heard of these movies - Filmworks Dubai were also production partners on top Hollywood projects such as Syriana, The Kingdom and Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol.

In a nutshell, they know what they're doing and I, for one, cannot wait to see the film adaptation of a story that is going to change a lot of lives.


This post was written by Katy Gillett. You can contact Katy at kgillett@uclan.ac.uk

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Bahrain vs England: 10 differences

Today I was in the ladies toilets at the university and a man was also in there cleaning.

It got me thinking, as I often do, about the differences between living in Bahrain and England. A man would never be cleaning the ladies’ in Bahrain. Haram!

I’ve lived in the Middle East since I was three months old. As you would expect I’ve gotten quite used to their way of doing things.

I am fully British and hail from the northwest of England but when I used to come for the summer holidays and the couple of years in between that I’ve actually lived here, it’s been quite strange to realise I’m not very British at all. I’m certainly not very northern (and people often like to point this out).

So, when I do come back, I notice things that people take for granted, just as they would notice what I wouldn’t in Bahrain. There are plenty of differences so I’m going to share a few of the less obvious ones with you.

1. Hair salons
One time I hadn’t been back to the UK in 3 years and one of the first things I noticed when I came back was the fact that you can see inside the hair salons from the outside. In Bahrain beauty salons are strictly for men or women. You can see into the little barber shops but women’s salon windows are always blacked out. I actually quite like that. Let’s be honest a head covered in tin-foil is never a good look.

hiltons hair salon
Image by Wrote on Flickr

2. Friendly people
British people are so reserved and generally quite unfriendly to strangers at least. For instance just check out peoples’ reactions when you sit next to them on a train! Or actually try talking to someone random and see how they react. Whereas in Bahrain you smile or say hi to most people you walk past and it’s completely natural.

3. Greetings
Kind of goes back to people really. In Bahrain you hug or kiss people on both cheeks whether you’ve just met them or have known them for years. It’s the most awkward thing ever trying to do that with anyone in England!

4. Zebra crossings
I love how every driver immediately stops when you’re even nearing a zebra crossing in England. There are some in Bahrain but I doubt anyone knows what they actually mean. Cross at your peril in other words.

Crossing
Image by FaceMePLS on Flickr

5. Toilet etiquette
OK this one’s a bit strange. How can I put it? Bottom washers. Arabs tend to wash their bottoms after going to the toilet with a hose which is in every house bathroom or public loo. It sounds gross to the British but actually if you think about it it’s so much more hygienic if you combine both hose and toilet paper.

6. Architecture
I love British buildings because most of them are so old and you really get a sense of English history. Around where I live in St Annes there are some fabulous houses that make me imagine secret rooms hidden behind bookshelves and attics full of memories. In Bahrain there are still some amazing houses but everything looks much more modern. Every house in insanely different as well; one will have a Japanese influence and sit beside one that looks like it should be in the Mediterranean.

Belton House (NT) 15-10-2011
Image by Karen Roe on Flickr

7. I can walk!
Walking is such an odd thing to do in Bahrain probably because of the lack of safe pavements and often sweltering heat. I love being able to walk everywhere in England; you feel so much healthier. In fact, I love how I can take public transport as well. For instance there’s no such thing as a train in Bahrain (yet). I just love not having to drive (and if I was I’d love not having to drive on the crazy Bahraini roads). There’s a lot of love in that paragraph.

8. Water on tap
It’s pretty great I can tell you. There’s nothing worse than realising you’re out of water after a heavy night out. NOTHING! It’s also very annoying when you’re about to boil some pasta or make a cup of tea and find out you just can’t.

Kitchen Tap
Image by wwarby on Flickr

9. The postal service and internet shopping
Complain all you like about Royal Mail but all I ask is go and try and send a letter within Bahrain. To be honest I never bothered trying to work it out. You can’t just get it delivered to your house in Bahrain; that would be too much effort for the postmen. So you have a post box but they’re hardly convenient.
Anyway back to my second point – internet shopping! It’s slowly taking off in Bahrain but there’s hardly anything available. You can get anything with the click of a button here! I do a lot of clicking.

10. Widespread alcohol availability
Alcohol is allowed in Bahrain but only in restricted areas – namely hotels, social clubs, licensed restaurants, bars, nightclubs and booze shops. But you cannot have any place that sells alcohol in a residential area, near a school or in a shopping centre. In England however, you can find it most places. Costa Coffee at Manchester Airport even sells beer! Not that I want a drink everywhere but it’s just nice to know I can.


This post was written by Katy Gillett. You can contact Katy at kgillett@uclan.ac.uk

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Bahrain: 16 Common Misconceptions

Having lived in Bahrain for most of my life I've been asked many outrageous questions based on misconceptions. Here are the 16 most common I've heard:


BAHRAIN WORLD TRADE CENTER AT NIGHT-372
Image by justDONQUE.images from Flickr

1. You can't drink there
Just not true. Within the Middle East the only two countries that are (arguably) 'dry' are Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In Bahrain there are bars, nightclubs, alcohol shops (admittedly only four but it's a small place), swanky cocktail lounges and so on. In fact, Bahrain's capital Manama ranked 8th on 'Top 10 Sin Cities'  by askmen.com. Nothing to boast about but it's true.

2. You have to cover up
This is only partially true. Women don't have to wear the abaya (black dress) or hijab (head scarf); it's completely optional for Muslim women (although that's a matter of opinion within Islam). Visiting Westerners don't need to do any of it as long as they remain respectful in public places which means covering at the very least your thighs and shoulders.

3. Women are second class citizens
Again. Not true. The only instance in which this notion could be perceived is how rather religious people only mix with the same sex in social situations. Women can vote, run for elections, are managers and CEOs, and have all the same educational opportunities as men.

4. Its just like Saudi Arabia
Its nothing like Saudi Arabia. Yes its connected by a causeway but that only serves the purpose of allowing Saudis to come over on the weekend to 'let their hair down'. Bahrain is actually one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf.

5. Its just another Dubai
Not even. Although it probably wishes it was.

6. There is a place called 'Pearl Square'
No. Never. Not. It was a roundabout (torn down a few months ago) and always had been. It has never been referred to as a square because its is ROUND. The international media got this wrong countless times and have only just (in some cases) started to realise their mistake. The only reason I can give for the name change is that everything in Egypt went on in Tahrir Square and the media like to draw parallels.


Pearl Roundabout, Bahrain
Image by Jacobs - Creative Bees on Flickr


7. They are 'Bahrainians'
Another media mistake and common belief among most people. They are Bahrainis.

8. They only speak Arabic there
I've often been asked how I speak English so well if I've always lived in Bahrain. To that I can only answer: "because I'm English?!" There are thousands of British people living out there and funnily enough we do all visit our families in England from time to time. The entire population of Bahrain is actually made up of more than 50% expats so English is very widely spoken as the default language.

9. People ride around on camels
Ummm perhaps on a camel farm. Actually I was asked more than once if I rode to school on a camel. I wish! Arabs actually have some of the sexiest cars and if you head to Trader Vic's on a Thursday night you'll find bugatti veyrons next to lamborghinis next to bentleys. And not a camel in sight.


Camel
Image by Mohit Khurana on Flickr


10. Its a desert
I'm not going to lie - there is a lot of sand and if you head to the south of the island there's a lot of desert. But the north of the island (where most people live) is made of skyscrapers and buildings, highways lined with palm trees and recently they've been planting lots of grass in an effort to be green (it turns brown pretty quickly but its the thought that counts).

11. They're stuck in the Middle Ages
They're actually pretty cosmopolitan for the most part. Head down to Seef - the financial district and where the best shopping malls are - and you'll know what I mean. People are rather suave and sophisticated actually. Sure you have some pretty traditional families but doesn't everywhere?!

12. The Middle East is 'scary'
Perhaps if you headed over to parts of Afghanistan or Yemen (right now). Or Lebanon during the civil war. But seriously now, most of it is not scary at all. In fact I was much more scared of England growing up. Bahrain is one of the safest places on earth. Fact.

13. The only reason expats go there is to work in the oil industry
Bahrain may have been the first to find oil but they don't actually have that much in comparison to their neighbours. They've built their economy mainly on the financial services - Bahrain is a great financial hub in the Middle East - and now they're trying their hand at tourism. We'll see.

14. The only thing worth seeing is the Formula One circuit
Actually there's a few things worth seeing such as the Grand Mosque, camel farms, the national museum, the old villages, art galleries, plush hotels, amazing shopping malls and the list goes on. There's plenty worth doing as well such as eating in Adliya's Block 338, or having a shawarma or drinking juice (yes a lot of eating and drinking will be done).

Bahrain International Circuit
Image by justDONQUE.images on Flickr

15. There is just a monarchy and no democracy
Bahrain is like England in the way that it has both a monarchy and a parliament although the Al Khalifa's (Bahrain's royal family) have much more control than the Windsor's do. So the democratic process is in play but definitely needs some developing.

16. Petrol is cheap
Hah! Just kidding. It really is super cheap.


This post was written by Katy Gillett. You can contact Katy at kgillett@uclan.ac.uk