Thursday, January 8, 2009


Today was what the Al-Shairif’s called a “free day”, meaning that we unfortunately would not be seeing them for dinner. Because Andy and I arrived so close to the holiday we were thrown into the fast and furious party zone and had little time to relax and enjoy the beautiful hotel in which we were staying. With that mentality we vowed to have a resort of a day with our companions before they departed.
We woke to housekeeping bringing fresh fruit and a cheese plate, a light breakfast to start our leisurely day. At 1:00 we ventured down to the outdoor tennis courts and played a couple double rounds. After an hour and a half our arms we wore out, our bellies hungry, and our noses pink with a touch of sun and wind burn. Still in gym attire and glistening with sweat, we dined by the pool under the floral terrace. Having had so much heavier food the days before, we all ordered salads or starters and discussed our plans for the evening.
It was a fairly chilly night but we decided to walk to the Seef Mall having all met the summer before on a working guest ranch in Montana—that is, any cold there would surely rival the winters in Bahrain. (Note in the picture, that’s sand and not snow.)
We entered through the cinema side of the mall and clearly all had the same thought as the bright flashings lights beckoned us toward them; what fun it be to watch a movie in a foreign country. We sent the men to divide and conquer the refreshment center while the ladies bought the tickets. All prices were comparable to what one would find in the states, but my favorite part was assigned seats in the theater. We were able to choose exactly where we wanted to sit and by whom. Quite opposite from the first come, first serve idea in America.
We four blindly trot into our movie of choice: Body of Lies—Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, American CIAs battling an Islamic terrorist group in Amman, Jordan. Though the movie is powerful in its own right, the benefit of watching it in an Arabic speaking country was even greater.

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