Bahrain and my jihad on Ramadan

I felt like I needed a change… Bangkok keeps sucking me in and soothing me into staying there every time I go there… plus I also had a craving for really good pasta. So, I thought, I’m going to go to Italy.

The flight from BKK to Italy is over 11 hours and I cringe at anything much over 9 hours as my inability to sleep on planes makes those long trips quite painful. So, I thought, I’ll stop over in the middle east and check out some spots.

I decided to stop in Bahrain for 2 days, then do 2 days in Qatar, then go to Rome.

I arrived in Bahrain and my initial impression was this was quite a nice, modern, cool city.. although I didn’t actually see too much, only what I saw from the taxi on the short ride to the hotel.

I arrived at the hotel and the concierge asked me how I was… I said fine… I asked how he was… he said, “good… it’s very quiet here. Veeerrry quiet. Ramadan you know. No nightclubs, no disco, no drinking”.

By the time he got to the “no drinking” part, I still had a polite half smile on my face but tears had already started streaming down my face.

Ok, I am exagerrating but seriously, that was a devastating pronouncement to me!

I got into my hotel room and immediatelly began looking for flights out. I cancelled my trip to Qatar and tried to find a flight to the closest civilized city… it appeared that Gulf Airlines (based out of Bahrain) had a direct flight to Athens, and I like Athens, so I called them, here is the conversation I had:

Me: Do you have a flight to Athens tomorrow morning?

Him: Yes. Ooohhhhhhh. It is too bad… so unlucky. We have an amazing seat sale to Athens but you have to book 72 hours in advance to get it.

Me: Uh, ok… well, how much is it?

Him: Ohhh I cannot believe. If only you had called earlier. Would you believe if you had called earlier you could book the flight to Athens for only $100? Such a great deal. It is really too bad.

Me: Well, how much is it then?

Him: I can barely say it, it is so difficult. I feel so bad for you. The price is now $1,100.

Me: Hmmm, well, I really wish you wouldn’t have even told me about the special price that I can’t get

Him: Hang on, let me see what I can do . I have very good news for you!! Very good news. I can get you the sale price.

Haha, I love airline pricing, it is always so bizarre.. their prices change by 1,000%+ from hour to hour sometimes, it makes no sense. But, anyway, I was happy that this guy got me the $100 deal.

I ended up spending one day and 2 nights in Bahrain, and never left my hotel room.

To add insult to injury, some apparent Ramadan revellers kept knocking on my door at 4am, probably looking for their praying buddy on their way down to do some awesome praying… I have been up ever since then and am not in a good mood.

It looks like almost every hotel I check online in Athens is full tonight or extremely expensive, so I am just going to go there this morning and see what I can dig up at the airport.

So, I intend to spend 2 nights in Athens and then try to catch a flight to Rome…

Bahrain actually seems really interesting and I am very sad that I picked the wrong month to come as I heard that the nightlife here is the best in the middle east… maybe I’ll stop by on my way back through if I come back this way.