Bahrain is rich in tradition. And the good thing is the government, and the people, are extremely pro-active in maintaining that tradition.
While conventional methods of shopping in the open markets and the suq may have taken a back seat, what is thriving are the traditional street cafes in all parts of the country, particularly in the capital, Manama and the ancient epicenter of Bahrain – Muharraq.
One such place is the Haji’s Cafe, tucked away in one of the old city’s lanes. When I went there at breakfast time on a working day, the place was crowded with office-goers, tourists and shop workers. Though there was still a lot of room to spare, the entire lane the cafe occupies presented a rather festive look.
While what they serve is something we can easily make at home, what sets such places apart is the rich culture and tradition, the ambience, the conventional furniture, the servers and the feel.
Truly one of the best places I have been to for a slice of Bahraini life.
To top it all, two people can have a meal to their heart’s content for less than $10.
Now, that’s value for money – with all the freebies thrown in!!
A quick trip to the little shop round the corner from my office for “breakfast” is an option each day during a break in work but it was only yesterday that I noticed the “colour” on offer.
These pictures were taken as I waited for my order of “samosas” to be prepared. The incredibly busy place has this, and more, with sweet and savory delights from across the Sub-continent available.
And this is not the only one. In Bahrain, one is never far away from anything “Indian”, with Indian owned shops, businesses and establishments everywhere, making sure we are never away from “home”.
That said, a standard Indian breakfast here is not only very filling, it is also good value for money, at a dollar, or less, per person.
Pictured are the several kinds of traditional Indian sweets and savoury snacks available, apart from, of course, the breakfast!
A group of blue-collar workers in Downtown Manama pause for tea and gossip at a roadside stall. Such gatherings are common in the old part of the Bahraini capital, particularly during the weekend and a prolonged holiday!
If this is the sight that greets you as you step out at 5 am after a good night’s sleep, then one tends to forget the nauseatingly hot and humid weather that is now sweeping Bahrain. Even at that hour, with the sun just about making its way up, on any day, it’s in excess of 35C, and rising to 40C plus as the day progresses.
Not everyone shops at malls or at chic stores. Many cannot even afford to shop. But, come the festival season and a group of young enthusiasts display used clothes in the interiors of the Manama Suq in Bahrain for anyone to take away and use.
Needless to say, these are a great attraction for those who want a fresh dress or a piece of clothing to wear during the holiday.
The best bit is that these ‘entrepreneurs’ wish to remain anonymous. “Let us try and get some happiness into some people’s lives,” is what one of them has to say!