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Bahraini Memories
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Joined: 12 Feb 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I'm not, but I believe in promoting a good book when I've read one.

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Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15299

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And taking our minds off the repression in Manama !
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New Haven

Joined: 05 Nov 2005
Posts: 52
Location: Merida, Mexico

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:31 pm    Post subject: I remember the 70's in Bahrain Reply with quote

I hope you don't mind a Mexican forum person chiming in...I lived in Bahrain 1971-1973 with my ex who was in the navy....not serving on the flagship LaSalle, but working as a lowly yeoman 2nd class in the personnel office at the USNCSO office...that stands for United States Naval Control of Shipping Office, located in Jufair, Manama. There was no naval base...we lived entirely on the economy. That was the deal made with the Isa Bin Sulman Al-Khalifa govt, so as to downplay as much as possible a western presence. Bahrain had just been emancipated by Britain when we arrived.

There was a dining hall though, and on Friday evenings at 7:00 or so it was converted into a movie theater. We went often; it was the only entertainment around, most everything else being illegal.

We lived in one of those cement box houses between the Gulf Moon Hotel and Al-Jazira's Cold Store...not far from the Admiral's quarters. (A cold store was a small grocery store, apparently so named because of the refrigerator cases.) The meat market sold "joints" of beef, flown frozen from Australia, thawed, refrozen and sold. They were odd cuts, sometimes with large gristley blood vessels protruding from the meat. Not real tasty. But gosh the Cross and Blackwell mince meat was wonderful (mince meat as in chopped currants, raisins, etc.). It came in a little tin with a layer of beef suet on the top. The real thing. I haven't found anything like it since.

My son was born there in January 1973 at the women's hospital downtown. The birth was somewhat primitive. No anesthetic was available (thought it had been promised), and the obstetrician (a woman of course) insisted that I push, push push until she shrieked "stop, Mrs. Simpson or you'll kill your baby." Apparently the cord was wrapped serveral times around the baby's neck.

What else? Lots of maimed people on display in the suk getting along on skateboard-type conveyances...Gold Street...Mr. Nunu the money changer...the camel races in the desert, accessed by traveling south on the road to the oil town of Awali; the sheik's beach (only for westerners and members of the royal family); the Portuguese fort; the old airport in Muharraq, which lacked a baggage carousel, so your luggage was sort of thrown in a heap on the floor for you to paw through.

In those days, women were not allowed out of their house wearing shorts...legs had to be completely convered. And if you didn't obey the rules, you could be arrested! Even if one was wearing long pants and and long sleeves, the locals would sometimes try to grope you in a crowd. I think they had the idea that all western women were "loose."

Thanks for the was a wonderful opportunity to re-visit a slice of my past...the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes I dream of returning for a visit, but I am sure I wouldn't recognize any of it.

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Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17566
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting story... not many Western expats there in the 70's... only military and oil related - along with a few medical missionaries. We teachers started arriving in large numbers in the Gulf (outside of Saudi) in the late 80s.

Those of us who were there in the 70's or 80's (for me) did get to experience a little of a world that is now gone.

(BTW... a woman is still advised not to wear shorts in public in the Gulf. You wouldn't be arrested, but you would offend and prove all those negative stereotypes. Laughing)
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Joined: 30 Sep 2011
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting thread
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