I think I was cross eyed when I wrote yesterday's post. I didn't last much longer in the night after that. I went upstairs and had dinner and drinks with the whole gang and was in bed by 9:30p.
I was concerned that my short sleeved shirt might be offensive to some locals. boy was I wrong....The dinner came with mandatory show with live "girls." Ugh. hilarious. we were all in uncomfortable shock. What can you do?! It was protocol for the restaurant in our hotel. Certainly hilarious to see girls prancing around practically naked in a muslin country.
I am in Bahrain today and I liken it to Las Vegas. Apparently many Saudis come here to play, thinking that Allah will not see their sins outside of their kingdom.
This morning we woke up and headed over to the Navy headquarters here. There are both Coast Guard and Navy folk living off base in country.
The admiral gave a speech and finally we are getting to some REALLY deep issues. I feel like I am not only taking War 101 but also Diplomacy in the modern, globalized and Islamic world. VERY eye opening. Certainly has changed my perspective and these guys were extremely FRANK. Good to hear but a little scary at the same time.
After our briefings which ran extremely long due to in depth Q&A we headed over for lunch with the Coast Guard and then it was off the Grand Mosque.
You would have thought the gals on the trip were celebrities the way the men were taking our picture in our Muslim dress. The building was pretty and we were able to hear the call for prayer. The Guide was super informative. What a different approach to life.
After that it was off to see the coast guard. So cool to see their ships and they put on a huge demonstration. These guys were very cool. a totally different feel than the marines and the army dudes we met yesterday. not better, not worse, just different.
We got to shoot air guns and pretend that we were taking over a ship. So cool. Plus I mule kicked open a door. bad ass.
Then it was back to the hotel for a cocktail hour and more Q&A with the admiral and the political advisor to Bahrain. I am telling you....it was amazing to here what the had to say about the region, the war, the Geo political relations and info about everything in general. Truly these guys are like diplomats and are tack sharp.
After dinner we went to the local Souk, kind of like an outdoor marketplace meets the Pensauken mart. I found the coolest blankets, scarves and beautiful embroidered pillow covers for our Living Room. (don't worry otis, you'll like them, there is a lot of orange in them). There were a lot of men out on the streets and they were very interested in my blonde hair. I got a few more stares than usual. I also had a blast negotiating with the merchants. It was pretty cool. The security MA-1 who was escorting us was great at talking down prices.
then it was off to two commanders house for Rug Flop. 2 things about this.
1. The housing in Bahrain is unreal. These two guys had a five bedroom house with 8 bathrooms, a pool, maids quarters, and a maid all paid for by the US govt. It was gorgeous and i think we should do a TS over here. they certainly had room for us. ;)
2. A rug flop is when a merchant comes in and rolls out his rugs for you. Mohamed the rug flopper also caters it with Bahraini food. yummy yummy hummus.
At first I wasn't going to buy one. but then I found one that I really liked. It was quoted for 150 Dinars or $400. I talked him down to $260. So I gave him $220 USD on the spot and he trusts me to send him the $46 USD in a few weeks. It is a pretty rug...otis- you'll like it too....hehe
Overall Bahrain has been very interesting and the people are very nice. I'm not sure if you all heard in the states yet but last night there was a blast here at a police station. Not sure if it is related to our presence or not. The latest Intel we heard was that it was shi'a (sp?) and were told it was unrelated. It occured very far from our hotel. Just wanted to address it so there were no freak outs.
On that note, just an FYI to you. Yesterday morning at breakfast a Kiwi came up to me and asked me why were there. I told him and his response was.
"Well you all must be very important because I have never seem so many security forces at this hotel in my life."
The benefits of traveling with an admiral.
cheers ya'll...tomorrow is going to be an EXCITING day. I PROMISE.