Howard and I were working in Saudi on a 3 months visa extendable for another 3 months by getting it re-stamped at a Saudi Embassy. As we needed to be out there for just over four months the plan was to fly over to Bahrain on last day of our visa period, go to the Saudi Embassy, get our passports stamped and then fly back. Hence we travelled light.
I have made many mistakes in my life and I remember making one on this trip. I was approached by a friend of a friend to take a small package over to Bahrain. The package was about the size of a bundle of notes. In spite of being told by other members of the group that I was stupid I agreed to take the package even though I had no idea what was in it. I guess I could not believe that somebody would ask me to do this task in front of so many witnesses if the transaction was not above board.
I think we flew out on a Friday (the Saudi weekend is Friday/Saturday). The flight was very short (10 minutes) from Dhahran airport to Bahrain. There were only four passengers so we were all seated at the back of the plane (to balance the plane?). We were then served with our “in flight” drink of orange juice. Drinks were then cleared away and we took off.
We took a taxi to the Saudi Embassy only to find it closed and not open again until the following week. We could not go back to Saudi as our visa’s were no longer valid.
We asked the taxi driver if he knew a Hotel we could stop at and we ended up at the Bristol Hotel. The room had air conditioning but unusually instead of venting the extracted hot air through the wall into the outside world, all the rooms vented out into the corridor serving the rooms. With outside temperatures in the nineties, this made the corridor quite warm. At least Bahrain was more relaxed in it’s treatment of westerners than Saudi, guest were allowed alcohol, in our case tin’s of beer to go with our meals. This service was not available to the locals.
It took a week of phone calls back to Saudi to sort things out.
During this period the “package” was collected and that was the end of that matter. Having read later about idiots naively importing drugs or whatever given to them by “lovers” or friends, I don’t think I would do the same thing now (at least, not for free anyway).
Meanwhile, we spent a lot of time in the room with the air conditioning turned up to maximum. I don’t think we produced a frost but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
These sessions of the Iceland equivalent of a sauna were interspersed with short walks round the town.
At the time 3D plastic pictures had just started to appear and we bought some good examples here - just under A4 sized. Previous examples I’d seen were Credit card sized and given away free with Shell Petrol.
There were a few familiar landmarks.
We would walk past what at first we took to be ruins of some building or other only to spot air conditioning units had been bolted onto the sides.
Press the “Play” button below to start a slide show of more pictures from Bahrain.