Sunday, November 16, 2014

Quick trip to Bahrain!

This past weekend we took the kids out of school early and headed to Bahrain for a few days. It was our first time there since moving to Saudi. It surprises me that it took us this long to get there (nearly a year) especially when Bahrain was less than a 30 minute drive from our previous villa in Al Khobar. I was surprised at how different Bahrain was from Saudi.

Driving on the long causeway towards Bahrain.

Our first stop was the City Center Mall for a bite to eat. This mall was the biggest mall I have ever been in, and there are pretty large mall in Saudi, it was HUGE! It is so big that there is a big water park on the third floor of the mall with slides, wave pools... We plan to go to it on our next visit.

After lunch we decided to take the kids to Al Areen Wildlife Park. The park was awesome! We started our visit by taking a guided tour where we saw ostriches, lots and lots of different types of gazelles, and other various birds. The ostriches roamed free which was very cool to see. We even saw an ostrich nest with eggs inside. The bus dropped us off at the cats exhibit where we saw a lion, bear, tigers, jaguars, wolves...

The goats were so funny! They would jump on the fences and get really close to us hoping for some food.

While at the park we were able to hold falcons. That was a pretty cool experience. I was surprising that the birds were so calm. Kiki did not want to hold the falcon, but had no problem petting it!

Logan pretending to grind coffee beans and herbs.

The kids were pretty excited to be able to pet and feed the camels. The camels were very curious and friendly. There was no more than a rope separating us from them, which was pretty cool. (Things are so much different here than in the states. In a zoo back home there would be a fence around a 9' fence where the camels would be kept at, you would never be able to get close enough to touch an animal.)

The hotel we stayed at was pretty nice for the price. Hotels in  Bahrain are extremely expensive costing an average of $450 per night. It seemed crazy to Jon and I to spend so much money on a hotel, and found one for 1/3 of the price.

We enjoyed eating the buffet at the hotel restaurant. It was a fusion of Arabic and Indian food. So so good!

Eden snuggling up to his mommy after a long day!

Taking a stroll to Gold City! 
The souq with stores that only sell gold. Unfortunately it was closed when we went so we just turned around and headed back to the hotel!

Eden discovered a new toy!
He thought it was a water fountain. Gross!

The next day was Friday. While waiting for the time to go to district conference we decided to visit a little bit of Manama city via cab ride. We also visited the Bahrain National Museum. It was very interesting, educating us on the history, culture, traditions, geography... of the country.

We then returned to the hotel where we got ready to go to conference. While we were all getting ready Kia Ora started not feeling well with a fever and aches. So I stayed in with Kiki and Eden while Jon took the boys to conference. 

On the way back to the hotel Logan joined in on a game of cricket. How awesome! 
This kid is so adventurous!

After a 3 hour nap and some tylenol Kiki felt much better!

Kiki, Eden and I chilling in the hotel room waiting for the boys to return.

The next day we woke up early and headed to Ric's Country Kitchen for some much anticipated bacon eating. Jon, Julien, and Logan ordered a traditional Texas breakfast with biscuits and gravy, hash brown, eggs, and bacon, while I ordered a huge breakfast burrito filled with eggs, cheese, potatoes, ham, with a side of bacon. The food was AMAZING!
While we waited for the food Jon and I took Eden and Kiki to see and pet the bunnies, and hens.

Once our bellies were full and satisfied we decided to make one last stop before going home. We visited the Grand Mosque.
The mosque was very clean and beautiful. It had beautiful stained glass windows, marbled tile, large wooden doors, vaulted ceilings, balconies, and courtyards.

I had to wear my abaya and cover my head. Julien and Logan had to wear thobes because they had shorts on and had to cover their legs. It was kind of fun seeing them dressed in thobes. We all had to remove our shoes and be barefoot because it was considered sacred grounds. Our tour guide was very nice. He spent some time talking to us about the Islamic religion, and was open to answer any of our questions. It was a wonderful visit!

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