Journal

To the Edge and Back, Bahrain

I woke up at 4.45am, brushed my teeth and put on some sneakers. I was out the door and walking to the floating city by 4.53am, and had just seven minutes to close the gap between myself and a 60 minute training session of the crossfit kind. The stars were still out, and the construction sites were empty. I was walking over ground that was seabed not so long ago; a man-made island of blue-green lagoons and perfect palm trees.

A few too many burpees, squats and sprints later, I followed the shoreline back to our apartment; showered, and promptly passed out. It wasn't until noon that I had managed to eat breakfast, send some emails, and decide I would drive the length of Bahrain.

The entire country, top to bottom.

To be fair, the longest route would be to circumnavigate the country along its shore. However, the road ends somewhere around Al Zallaq on the eastern side, making a loop around Bahrain impossible. I aimed for the southern city of Durrat, a cluster of fifteen fish-shaped islands and luxury villas with a few stops in between.

Away from the ongoing project that is Manama, the landscape of the Middle Eastern land unraveled into ribbons of oil pipes and oceans of sand. Somewhere along the way, I passed a white tent with twenty or so red-velvet high-back chairs, arranged in three perfect rows beneath a glaring sun. The chairs were facing the road. For what reason, I may never know. There were no people, no signs, no explanation of any kind.

I stopped briefly at the tree of life and then waved my way past security onto the man-made fish islands of Durrat.

In less than three hours, I had driven to the other end of the country and back; for 2 BD ($6) in gasoline.

By three in the afternoon, I was back in the Amwaj Islands. I had travelled the entire country and made it home in time for tabouli, Egyptian feta cheese and an hour of Gulf news on the T.V.