I haven't seen that much of it, but I am amazed by what I find, and at times, amused by my amazement.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


When my job working on the new American Embassy in Bern, Switzerland finished in June, 2008, Joann and I made a conscious effort to stay home until after the holiday season. It had been a couple of years since I had celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas stateside. It was great to be home for awhile - a long while. We spent an entire summer, fall and winter, visiting family and friends, sailing Gillyfoyle, getting some projects done and starting others.

Fresh snow at the cabin on New Years Day 2009

Sitting in front of the fireplace with a cup of Christmas cheer, lit by the glow of the fire and the twinkle of the Christmas tree lights, and with New Years day rapidly approaching, we knew that the search for the next job, always present in the background of activities, was about to begin in earnest. With snow blowing against the window and the occassional cold draft that found it's way in through the log walls, we imagined where we might like the next job to be. An island setting somewhere warm would be nice ...

Bahrain is an island ... and it is warm. Other than that, it is entirely unlike any place we had imagined we might go.

A basic fact about life - it has never been restricted to what we could imagine.

The view from my apartment. That isn't smog, it's steam

Actually, "warm" was an understatement - "oppressively hot and humid" would be closer to the truth. The middle of July is not the best time to come here, unless you are a wrinkled suit in need of steaming. Working a night shift at the embassy might seem a bit easier without the sun beating down, but it only increased the humidity. I actually looked better after working outside for awhile. When my clothes were totally soaked, there weren't any tell-tale wet spots. My clothes were just a bit different color. For a guy from northern Washington state, it took quite a bit of acclimatizing. On noontime walking trips to the market, I sought out the shade like a Death Valley lizard. And I was always going out in the hottest part of the day. Between work and sleep, that's the only time left.

The tide is out in a waterfront area slated for land reclamation. In the background is a mix of apartment buildings, with modern highrises and construction projects in the distance.

The Bahrain World Trade CenterYou can see it in the background of the previous picture.
The building gets a portion of it's energy from three wind turbines. (photo: http://www.libertyparkusafd.org/lp/BuildingGreenUSA/)

Where is Bahrain? On the west side of the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia and across the water from Iran, the coastline is dotted with what used to be many small Sheikhdoms. Bahrain, an island near the center, is one of the smallest, one of the first to discover oil, and the first to diversify away from an oil economy when the oil began to run out. Only 257 square miles in size, it is 92 per cent desert.

Google Earth is great when I get job offers for places I've never heard of.

I will probably be here until sometime in February of 2010. Joann has been here for a month and will return home in November. In the next blog post I will update you on just what we have been up to.

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to the next GILLYFOYLE'S TRAVELS installment. And certainly looking forward to seeing you both upon return.