Driving and parking
I have to talk about the driving and parking in Bahrain. It’s plain dangerous. I don’t think anyone has any kind of formal driving training. People change lanes on a whim, even if some one is there, even if it means crossing three lanes at once. People speed, tailgate, swerve, don’t use turn signals, think stop signs are optional, and are just out for themselves. It’s crazy. I haven’t seen an accident yet, but I have to believe there are multiple accidents daily. There have to be. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Jackie, my sister, would have a heart attack driving around these people. Suddenly American drivers look like angels. Abu Dhabi is the same. We got passed by several cars going over 100 mph. Insane.
Parking. There is a parking lot near the base where we’ve parked a couple of times. It’s all sand, not paved, and no lines. So you can imagine people park in all kinds of crazy ways. They block lanes, park people in, make their own spots, etc. To compound that, the lot is full of boobie traps. There are random holes everywhere. Like a bulldozer dug a hole, put the sand in a pile next to it, and drove away. There must be 20 of these holes all throughout the lot. And they aren’t marked. No cones, no warning tape…nothing. Though the middle of the lot is a trench—also not marked. If your car went into any of these holes, it would be disaster. At night the holes are almost impossible to see. It’s kind of laughable.
When we parked in the lot last night to go to the NEX, a man came over and asked if we wanted our car washed. Mobile car washing is a full-fledged business here. Even in the mall parking lots, there are little mobile car washing units. You leave your windshield wipers up if you want your car washed. Darren has a guy who’s turf is up and down the street out front. He washes Darren’s car one a week. He rides around on a bike with a five gallon bucket. I imagine he gets his water from random spigots in the area. He’s making a living, though.