This elderly gentleman is as much a part of the Old Manama Suq as the Suq itself. He is at various places, always sitting alone, sometimes appearing to doze off, at times just sitting and staring at traffic and people. He is also one of the most-photographed by visitors and tourists and has even featured in some Bahrain picture postcards. I did once try to talk with him but did not succeed. He looked as if through me. Perhaps he speaks only Arabic, which I don’t, or it’s possible he just doesn’t want to talk. He’s probably carrying a million thoughts; a million memories, good and bad. He’s seen life for close to a century and seen the changes that have happened. Must make a fascinating story – if he talks!
There was a time when these phone boxes on the roadside were ‘music’ for our eyes, since these were the only connection we had with our folks back home – being in a foreign land, thousands of miles away. Sadly, and thanks to the mobile phone and other technology, these are now in disuse, full of dust and rusted (but still in working condition when I checked).
Of course, life’s more comfortable and far easier now but it’s a pity these devices, which once were our best friends, companions and partners have bitten the dust!
How life moves on?
This is perhaps one of the world’s loneliest trees.
Bahrain’s Tree of Life, reportedly around 500 years old, is also number 6 in a list of the world’s seven most amazing trees.
The mesquite tree sits at the highest point in the barren desert, miles from the another natural tree and is thought to have tap roots reaching hundreds of feet down to aquifers.
The site, also recently home to a major excavation project, is a well-known tourist attraction, particularly in the winter, and a venue during the night of musical and dance concerts featuring some of the world’s best-known ensembles and theater groups.
These two pictures of policemen directing “traffic” in the 1950s, in Manama, are from a book on old Bahrain. It’s just so refreshing to look at life in those days. While there is only a single “car” in one of the pictures, in the other, there is not even that. Perhaps the officer, whose bicycle stands parked next to the traffic island, has stopped a vehicle for an elderly man in the background to cross the road.
Those were the days!