Sunday, March 10, 2024

Returning to the Desert (Part 2: Bahrain)


The last stop of the work portion of my trip was in Bahrain.  When I left Bahrain in 2011, I never expected to go back.  I was pumped at being able to go back and see what all had changed.  We landed Saturday evening and after checking in at the hotel, it was time for dinner.  I'd made reservations at The Meat Co because #balla.

Hello, Old Neighbor.

Coworker and I split the tomahawk steak and all the rest of this deliciousness.
It was everything I remembered it was going to be, although I never ordered the tomahawk steak at any prior visits to The Meat Co, lol.

After dinner, my coworker wanted to see American Alley, so we ubered to the area and walked around.

My old flat!

Coworker wasn't impressed by American Alley (as I knew he wouldn't be) and we ultimately returned to the hotel.

Sunday was the big day!
Other coworker and I planned to do go karts at the Bahrain F1 track, my absolute most favorite thing I did while I was stationed in Bahrain.  Unfortunately, we got there way too early since the kart track doesn't open until 4pm during the week (the work week in Bahrain is Sunday-Thursday).  We made a stop by the F1 gift shop and we were told that we could take a tour of the track at 2pm.  OKAY!  We had some time to burn, so we headed over to the Al Areen Wildlife Park to burn some time.

That same turtle from 2011 was still sexin' up all the ladies in the pen (or I assume it is the same horny turtle).  There were some not sexin' turtles and flamingos and birds and other critters. Coworker did the tram tour, while I just appreciated sitting still, being alone, and scrolling for 25 mins.

When it was time, we headed back to the track for our tour.

I'd consider this the Sorting Hat of F1.

From the Sakhir Tower 8th floor, the King's private suite during races.

Box, box.

Turn 1.

Our ride around the track wasn't in an F1 car, but I wasn't complaining.

The Bahrain Circuit Grand Prix map.
There are 5 different track configurations available to race at the Bahrain Circuit.
Unfortunately, the command center was being renovated to prepare for the first race of the 2024 F1 season (end of Feb), so it was mostly just a dark room with some missing screens that was obviously under construction. Womp.

The media room.

Riding the track!

We got these fancy waters that I wanted to keep, but didn't have space for in my luggage...

And then finally, IT WAS TIME FOR GO KARTS!!!!!!!!
I've been raving about how awesome the go karts are in Bahrain since 2011.  They did NOT disappoint.  Also, that sunset was on point.

After go karting (2 sessions because #YOLO), we headed to the Souq (yes, it's 'q' in Bahrain but 'k' in UAE.  Idk).  Other coworker needed some items from the souq and I was happy to revisit.

Seriously, wtf is this even?

Made sure to get a fresh juice.
It was everything I remembered it would be.

One of my favorite thing about the souq is these shops with these lamps.

After the souq, I realized I needed to get myself ready for the work week and my suits needed to be ironed by me since we were no longer staying at fancy ass hotels that offered free pressing.  Siiiiigh. #peasants.  So coworker dropped me off at the hotel so I could take care of business.

We were all exhausted after work each day in Bahrain, but we did arrange to have one last "family" dinner on Tuesday night.  We ended up at a delicious Turkish place.

Post dinner tea never got old.
I've found myself making tea for myself in lieu of dessert after returning home.

Wednesday was our last work day and it was my first time at the Bahrain Rugby Club.

After work, we headed back to the hotel and no one wanted to do anything together, so I changed into comfy clothes and walked out for dinner at an Italian place I'd been to a few nights prior... where the manager recognized me and knew the name of the person he'd met me through... OVER A DECADE AGO LIKE TWICE EVER.  Yall. I messaged the person he knew me through and was like, DUDE, WUT?!?  I look incredibly different from 2011.  Lesson is, don't underestimate the memory of some people.  One final Karak tea later, I headed back to the hotel to grab my bags, called an Uber, and headed to the airport.

I was extremely disappointed that the financial district buildings were not lit up the entire time we were in Bahrain.  The World Trade Center (right. blue lights) was always lit, but not the other 2 buildings.

Finally, it time to get the birthday party started!

Bye Bahrain!

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