06 October 2012

What is brunch?

So there is something you should know about Bahrain, it is an awkward blend of Islamic culture, western ways and social status'. 

The island is smaller than most US capitals.  With that being said, half of the island is desert where large (religious) families live in compounds.  So basically everything I do is within Manama which is probably the size of Durham. 

So within this tiny area, you have a smattering of cultures from the traditional Muslims, to Hindu, to westerners like myself.  It is also a very hypocritical island.  This is like a judgement free zone as long as you do not mind being judged.  Muslims drink here, and some even eat pork, but don't you dare say that outloud.  The westerners all date eachother and can trace their relationships through others, but dont discuss who did what with who at the party, unless they are out of earshot.

So what do you do on this Muslim island? 
Shop: the stores here are just like home, including varying levels of slut tasticness.  The lingerie stores are worse than Victorias Secret with their mannequins.  The clothes are all short, or backless.  Malls are extravagant and over the top.  But you better believe they have a mosque and a call to prayer.

Pool: it is hot here so pool parties are common.  Hotels will have pool parties. However, just to note, most of the time, you do not go swimming.  You just look cute.  Because it is a time to be seen, be social and not judge who is judging who.  Oh and dress in very little clothing that costs more than my rent.  I think I have figured out there is a mathematical relationship between clothes and conservativeness...you can dress anyway you want to as long as the cost of the clothes is worth it,  if x=amount covered and y=cost of clothes then x+y>the cost of judgement.  This does not apply to women who wear the long robes, because some of them cost more than my house, not mortgage payment, but my house.

Eat:  food is available anytime of day, with free delivery, anytime.  There is also any type of food you can imagine, local cuisine, mexican, east asian, etc.  The portions are not huge, but they always want you to try as much as you can.  If you are offered food, it is also very rude to turn it down.  Of course you will like anything they serve, otherwise you are so american.

Drink: alcohol is not widely available,  not all restaurants have a liquor license.  It is actually illegal to sell alcohol to a Muslim.  However when they have alcohol, they do it right.  The liquor store delivers and you get a discount when you do that.  Restaurants always try to get you a double when they can.  I've been in restaurants with men covered drinking a bottle of wine, and then judging me for wearing a short dress.  I was at a party with a friend from Lebanon.  Another friend was there and he was from the same city as her.  She drank her drink out of a juice glass because he may tell somebody back home that she was drinking.  His rum and coke looked great in the coke bottle too. 

Well anyways, the hotels around here combine two of these things into a 4 hour marathon of all you can eat and drink brunch.  Stations are set up in different areas with different foods and drinks.  They keep your champagne glass full at all times.  It is also the place to be seen.  I knew people there and I've only been on the island for a month!

After brunch, you continue drinking.  Then you go to a pool party.  This was my Friday.  

And as I say in my perfected Arabic voice "this is how we do." 

Just so there is no confusion, it is a lot of fun here, and I do like it :)

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