Causeway Célèbre

 The shrine to Guinness at JJs Pub in Bahrain

The shrine to Guinness at JJs Pub in Bahrain

I don't even like Guinness. (There, I said it.) And yet, there's something comforting about walking into JJs, down a side street in Bahrain, and bellying up to the bar for a pint. Or a glass of something, anyway.

JJs and other watering holes in his tiny island nation know they've got all of us expats exactly where they want us: thirsty and exasperated at the end of the Saudi work week. They can charge pretty much whatever they want for a beer: and they do. We try to limit our exposure to Bahrain for fiscal reasons, but recently I've made several trips over the causeway.

When my husband and I first moved to Saudi Arabia, we lived on a very remote compound. It took three or four hours to get across the causeway to the relative ease and comfort of Bahrain. Now we live just on the other side of the bridge. Tempting, tempting....

Imagine that Maryland's Eastern Shore, connected to Annapolis and points west by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, was another country altogether. Bahrain is that close to Saudi Arabia, with a single bridge connecting the two. Thursday afternoons, which start the Middle Eastern weekend, can be vicious on the causeway.

 Typically lively singing at JJ's monthly Irish music gathering.

Typically lively singing at JJ's monthly Irish music gathering.

Bahrain does have a selection of the same absurdly high-end shopping venues as Dubai (see my last post, and an earlier entry), but feels friendlier. Neighborhoods are walkable, and buildings are more human-scaled. On a recent walk, I snapped these pictures:

 Mosque near the Manama souq

Mosque near the Manama souq

 Architectural detail in the newly refurbished Manama souq

Architectural detail in the newly refurbished Manama souq

 Food stall in the souq neighborhood

Food stall in the souq neighborhood

 Marked-out graffiti in the souq neighborhood, a reminder of the continuing unrest.

Marked-out graffiti in the souq neighborhood, a reminder of the continuing unrest.

 Bahrain World Trade Center, with its wind turbines, just down the block from the neighborhood souq. Also, look! Sidewalks, and they're relatively clean!

Bahrain World Trade Center, with its wind turbines, just down the block from the neighborhood souq. Also, look! Sidewalks, and they're relatively clean!

 A pedestrian-friendly street in the Adliya neighborhood.

A pedestrian-friendly street in the Adliya neighborhood.

 The British Club, a throwback to (fairly recent) Colonial times, where shepherd's pie and mushy peas are served up poolside.

The British Club, a throwback to (fairly recent) Colonial times, where shepherd's pie and mushy peas are served up poolside.

Life is really very nice at home in the Magic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Not a day goes by that I'm not grateful for the opportunities we have here--financially, culturally, you name it. We are doing fine! Sometimes, though, I just need a very cold glass of good white wine. So it's off to Bahrain.