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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bahrain, Hooray For Bollywood

 

 

Like many others on my flight, I arrive in Bahrain with a plan to get a visa on arrival. Handing over my passport I am asked by the Immigration Official if this is my first time to Bahrain. Since it is, he informs me that they will have to check my documents then he directs me to an area to take a sit.

While waiting I meet another American who is traveling here for the first time. He informs me that he thinks they are checking our passports to see if we have been to Israel in which case we may be denied entry into Bahrain. If this is the case then I may be fortunate as my passport has been renewed since I visited Israel.

About ten to fifteen minutes of waiting and I am called back to the Immigration Officer booth. A US$15 fee and I am allowed entrance into “The Kingdom Of Bahrain”. Leaving the airport in a rental car I head off towards Manama to find my hotel for the night.

 

 

ST76 JAN26B 002 After driving up and down one way narrow streets and alleys even getting stuck behind a working garbage truck eventually I find The Awal Hotel.

I think even Magellan would have had a hard time finding this address.

 

 

After a quick settling in, I set out for a night walk in the area of my hotel but I do not get very far. The sounds of a unique music beat escaping from the building across from The Awal captures my curiosity and I step inside to soothe it.

With posted signs of “No Photos” allowed, a stage filled with women and a floor area filled with men, I think I have just walked into a “Gentleman’s Club” of sort. Ordering a beer the price of which confirms my suspicion, I take a seat at the bar.

From my vantage point I observe some interesting things going on in the room. Men purchase flower strings like lei's and present them to the women who dance “Bollywood Style” for or interact with them. At one point, one of the patrons even does a karaoke duet from his seat with one of the performers on stage.

The performers on stage remain fully clothed but what seems more odd than that is the fact that there are large tissue boxes on each table. As drinks are ordered it is noted on the box by the waitress. I presume the tissue is used to help stop the crying when the final bill arrives.

Welcome to Bahrain, Bollywood Style!

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