Towards the end of our trip to Bahrain, hubby asked me as he usually does after a trip, “So what title are you calling your post about Bahrain?” And I replied, “Sin City!” Mind you, that’s BEFORE I had done any kind of reading about Bahrain.
Would it come as a shock to you to find out that Bahrain was voted number eight among the world’s top ten Sin Cities in 2009? Well, it shocked me.
Making the list of the Top Ten “Sin Cities” around the world may not be good news for Manama, Bahrain’s capital, as police launched a crackdown on prostitutes in the city following its listing by a western men’s magazine as the party hub of the Middle East for its vibrant sex and alcohol industry.
Police in Bahrain rounded up 300 prostitutes and pimps in Manama [...] as Bahraini religious authorities called for a crackdown campaign on debauchery after the capital made the cut as the eighth most sinful – and the only Arab – city in the world…
Even the New York Times reported that “prostitution is rampant in the hotels and nightclubs, and the streets are filled with massage parlours. Bahrain is a destination for sex tourism”. So you really have to be careful where you go in Bahrain, lest you ended up in the wrong place with the wrong people!!
When we were booking the trip, hubby was very careful about where we stayed and where we will spend our new year’s eve – to make sure we were not in the midst of the “wrong company” so to speak. Things can and do get rowdy. That’s why he booked the Ritz.
Our new year’s eve with Tosin and Andrew was fun – our meal at The Plums was “exotic” to say the least…haute cuisine you might say and then it was off to the Ballroom to count down to the new year. It was a long time since we’d been a “do” like this and certainly never in the Middle East.
It wasn’t rowdy at the Ritz, just your usual new year’s eve thing with balloons being released from the ceiling at midnight…auld lang syne…and lots of noise. Very typical.
On new year’s day we had dinner with a couple of friends from Kuwait at Mezzaluna. The restaurant is set in the open courtyard of an old Bahraini house in Adilya, the “bohemian” part of Bahrain where, in the last few years many of the old townhouses had been turned into art galleries, cafes and chic restaurants. It was quiet there and the food was good. Again, haute cuisine!
Then we thought we’d find a place to sit down and listen to some music and that was when it became difficult! To find a place which we would be comfortable in.
The “right” place, yet happening? Was there such a place in Bahrain?
We spent a bomb on taxis, going from one place to another. Yes – taxis cost an arm and a leg in Bahrain. Mind you it was triple that before the government made taxi meters mandatory. Taxi drivers could charge you whatever they wanted then!
The “Sky Bar” at the Radisson was not what they said in their web page. A local played live Arabic music. Everyone there was Arab. The place stank of stale cigarette-smoke and looked really dodgy, if you know what I mean. So we left. The “concierge” sent us to the Phoenicia Tower – which was well known for something else, but he assured us it was a decent “happening” place!
Hmmmm…it was an adventure! Two clubs on the same floor. One “sin-city” type. One for “normal” people. We go inside the latter, TaBu, which seemed to be pretty decent. It was decorated totally in white. We had our cokes, listened to the music for a bit and decided to leave soon after because our friend had a bad tummy.
We didn’t need an excuse but we felt it was time. We took separate taxis and 15 minutes later, I was glad to be back at the Ritz.