Last weekend, Sarah and I went to Bahrain for our first trip without Harper. A friend of mine got married and they had the wedding at the Ritz Carlton in Bahrain. Harper's mom felt especially sad to leave her for the first time, but she stayed with her grandma and grandpa and she had a great time. We left early on Thursday morning to head across the causeway.
When there is a lot of traffic, driving on the causeway can be an adventure in itself and the crossing can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours depending on the time and day that you go, but luckily we made it across without any problems. We first stopped at our favorite breakfast spot to get a good American breakfast and then we headed to the Ritz to see if our room was ready. The Ritz is amazing! It has its own private beach and island connected to the hotel and a great pool. We drove up to the front door in our 1996 Ford Explorer that was tilted to one side because we were driving on the spare tire. The valet man said we could leave the car there while we checked on our room. It turned out that our room was not yet ready, but a manager came in and asked us if they could park our car in the valet lot because they had a VIP coming in. Apparently, a 1996 Ford explorer covered in dust and riding on a doughnut is not the image the Ritz wants to project. They left a bright blue Bentley outside in front of the hotel all night! I don't know what the problem was with our car!
We decided to go to Seef Mall and then to the brand new City Centre Mall. City Centre was amazing! It was really nice and even had a giant water park inside that is almost finished, complete with a wave pool, lazy river, giant slides, and anything else you might want, all inside the mall! There was a toy store with life sized stuffed animals. Eventually we made it back to the hotel in time to swim at the outside pool, the beach, the hot tub, and the Turkish Hammam (multiple spa pools, steam room and sauna). Saudi weddings traditionally are split into a men's side and a women's side. In an Islamic wedding, the main event is the signing of the wedding contract between the bride and groom and the wedding ceremony is more of the reception. This bride and groom decided to have a mixed wedding in Bahrain. The wedding processional did not start until 9:30 and we were excited to see the wedding and the celebration lasted well into the night. The bride did not throw her bouquet until 1:30 in the morning! It was quite a party and we were excited to attend.
On Friday Sarah and I lounged by the pool and spent more time in the Hammam. We left feeling refreshed and relaxed. Even the drive back across the causeway did not feel stressful. When we got back we met Harper and grandma and grandpa. Harper was happy to see us and we were excited to give her squeezes.
View from the causeway from the Saudi side heading to the island where you go through the border crossing.
East meets West
After breakfast, with the Grand Mosque in the distance.
I can't figure out why the Ritz Carlton didn't want this baby in front of their hotel?!
These are some serious stuffed animals!
From our hotel room we had a great view of the pool, the water, and the Manama financial district.
If you don't live in the Middle East, this sign may not make sense to you. Can you guess what it means?
These were the four currencies that I had in my wallet before checking out. They are the four currencies that I used in April and they each show a 5 note. From top to bottom they are:
5 Euro note
5 Saudi Riyal note
5 Omani Riyal note
5 Bahraini Dinar note
(Sarah also used the 5 dollar note in April, but you have probably already seen that one!)
Back with Grandma, Grandpa, and Harper!