Monday, March 4, 2013

The streets of Manama

I took a stroll down the streets of Manama Saturday night.  We parked the car in the carpark next to the Regency Hotel, and walked over to Bab Albahrain.  This took me back to when my friends and I used to spend our Thursdays walking around the souq and having dinner at McDs.  Ahh how simple life was.

The sights, the sounds, and the ambiance were heartwarming.  They were of the Bahrain I love.  The Bahrain I remember. With no hatred or negativity.

The souq was bustling.  Tourists, locals, old and young - were all walking around, shopping, taking pictures and enjoying themselves.  I am sure those who frequent the area saw an influx of visitors with the opening of Bab Market on the 28th (more info here) and credit goes to the the Ministry of Culture for breathing life into the area.  I made a mental note to visit this place more often.

The police station was revamped to look old.  And it was beautiful.  The policeman here is not sleeping by the way - but I waited for him to look down before snapping the picture - I was worried I might get in trouble..

Bab Market consisted of a number of stalls displaying a cacophony of goodies - paintings, stationary, food and other nick-knacks.

The atmosphere was charged and happy.  Music was playing in the background, a magician attracted some bystanders, the smell of burgers was wafting through the market.  It was so alive - and I loved it.

There was ample seating hidden in and around the market area.  This one in particular was placed in a hallway that leads you to another market which is sealed and airconditioned.

The lighting and shadows sprayed on the walls were beautiful.

The closed market was home to Saffron, Naseef Icecream (which hasn't opened yet), a pop-up gallery, and some other boutiques.  We couldn't resist stopping by Saffron for some chay-haleeb and heavenly ogaili bites.

This closed market ran parallel to some traditional electronics stores and I couldn't help but walk in.  The amount of goods on display is seriously overwhelming.  Your eyes tire after seeing the massive collection contained in the tiny shops.

This is me, not posing, but rather - with a fake smile on my face as I look through the boxes and boxes of appliances, looking for a kettle. Just. Can't. Focus. 

I walked out of the shop, kettle in hand, and a smile plastered on my face.  Manama was alive. Rejuvenated.

It's been a while since I saw Bahrain like this.  And it made me happy. I was so proud of all the initiatives popping up around the island - from Alriwaq's efforts to rejuvenate Adliya, to the Ministry of Culture (and Sh. Mai) 's relentless work at bringing Bahrain's culture scene up a notch or two, to the Southern Governate's Albasta Market, Amwaj and other initiatives.

So thank you to each and everyone who brought us together, closer, and for a happy occasion.  Thank you and God bless.

Additional info:
Bab Market - 28 Feb to 30 Mar, Thur-Sat, 4 to 10pm @babmarket
Albasta Market - Fridays 3 to 8, Saturdays 10 to 8. @albasta_market

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