The time has come to resume the blog. My last update had Ms. C and I on the verge of moving to Virginia (we did) to begin A-100 (finished it), where we would find out where we were going (Manama, Bahrain), and learn the language to do the job (I passed, al hamdu lillah!), before making the final journey to what would be our new home for the next two years (arrived two weeks ago - leaving in 102 more).
Without a doubt, the last nine months have been more eventful than the handful of parentheticals in the previous paragraph suggests, but, no doubt to the relief of my friends and family (and the Regional Security Officer), I’ve resolved to avoid discussing work wherever possible, and to stick to the lifestyle side of things.
Of course, I'm aware that while I post photos of sunsets, Bahrain has suffered greatly in the last year, and will continue to face difficulties for the foreseeable future. A post about the nice brunch at the Sofitel no doubt comes across a bit Marie Antionettish, but see previous paragraph: the political side of things comes under the work category, and my thoughts on the situation won’t appear here.
That said, let us eat cake. First impressions are that the life here on our 55km by 18km island should be quite nice. Traffic isn’t (quite) as terrible as we’d been warned, and that has given me the confidence to branch out a little from the daily work commute. This afternoon, for example, I drove to the south-western end of the island to visit a new hotel that had advertised a "Magnifique Eastern Orthodox Christmas Brunch". Because Ms. C and I had missed schismatic Christmas in the confusion of our arrival to Bahrain, and because I don't pass up meals that have four adjectives, we decided to take advantage of this second chance to celebrate the holiday.
Unfortunately, when I asked about the promised Christmas celebration at the hotel, nobody had any idea what I was talking about. Christmas, to the extent it was noted at all here, had happened weeks before, and I definitely wasn’t getting any support from the largely Saudi clientele. Fortunately, to me, Christmas is really about food, and that was provided in ridiculous abundance. I’d read about Bahraini brunches, and this one lived up to the absurd expectations I’d set for it. It also gave us a chance to set foor for the first time in the Gulf, and I’m looking forward to more time playing in the water. Ms. Chadha got a few minutes, but it wasn’t long before security realized we weren’t paying guests and shooed us away.
While it’s very possible that the next two years of updates will consist largely of pictures of food and stories centered on me getting kicked out of places for lack-of-membership reasons, I hope to do a lot better. Thanks to friends and family who have continued to drop by in spite of eight months of silence, your patience is admired, even if it was not rewarded.