Monday, June 27, 2005

Errands around Bahrain

Last week, we planned to have a mini Bahrain tour with me being the tour guide for them. Our plans were all sorted out and destinations were prioritised, chosen along a route according to the most convenient and efficient tour for the day by referring to the map. However, our plan foiled after hearing the disappointing news from our manager that we need to work on our rest day. The very one thing I absolutely can't stand about working here is that, more often than not, we have no rest days at all. It is 7 days after 7 days which really drains everybody and left everybody burnt out. It couldn't be helped because the damn contract for the project dictates the schedule as this short and we have tons to cover for each bloody milestone. Chiang and Phillip were noticeably thwarted in hope and we quickly switch to a turnaround plan. The plan was to split the tour into 2 parts. Go tour, go work and go tour again after that if possible.

I agreed and I woke up at an ungodly hour which I would normally fail. Our first destination was to visit the Tree of Life. One would normally associate this trip as the main touristy spot for Bahrain. But seriously, to me, this goddamn tree is greatly overrated. Our day did not begin too well as the weather for that day was not on our side. It was a freaking sand storm day and the gush of wind was one of the strongest I ever experienced here. I would not drive faster than 100 km/h as it is very apparent the wind was having quite some effect to the ride.

Sand storm wind
(Apple Quicktime format)

They were inquiring about the camels and I replied that they have to depend on luck to see them around that tree. Soon after that, a herd of camels were marching toward our direction. We stopped at the side of the road and walk towards the camels.

The camel shepherd was kind enough to stop the camels and let us take pictures with them.

Those camels want to lick your face

Damn wind makes my hair look bizarre

The camel shepherd then suggested: "Ride?" Before we could respond, he grabbed one of my leg and cupped his hands together as if forming a step of ladder. It is apparent I am not an experienced rider and was grabbing its hump in an awkward way.

We then adjourned to have our lunch at Fuddruckers next to the filling station. we proceeded to see the Bahrain F1 circuit. We quickly took pictures and left as it was darn hot and very uncomfortable.

Yesterday, PM saw us looking at the pictures that we took.

"Ini photoshop ke betul ni?", he asked obviously baffled.

One would not have thought we managed to steal time to visit places considering the working hours we have to put in daily.

On the following night, I brought Chiang around Dolphin park at night just to see women dressed in all black abayas sitting around in circles on the grasses by the beach. After that, we went to the restaurant by the beach to have our dinner. Next to our table was a group of Bahraini mens playing dominos and smoking shisha. They kept looking over to our table and after some exchange of smiles, one of them went "Ni hao!!" loudly. Chiang replied and we went there to chat around, observing their game of dominos whilst eating some kuaci and nuts.

Last but not least, this is the dreaded project we are our working our asses off day and night. What is more frustrating is that many of the design aspects is fundamentally flawed and would cause inconsiderable amount of operational problems. But that is how and what they wanted. Bahrainis are equally kiasu but their citizens benefit as they can get their national card issued in a matter of minutes, unlike ours.