Welcoming in 2011 in the desert of Bahrain

As I left off in the last blog post, I was being entertained by a local Bahrainian lady and one of her friends from Oman, thanks to a great chap back in Muscat who organized the meeting. The Omanian chap who was with us in Bahrain had a family emergency back home so he headed off to tend to that event. I was invited to spend New years eve in the desert with a great group of folks. A tent had been set up, a fire started, and a wonderful evening of stories, card games, and camaraderie took place under the stars of the desert.

This was my second interesting New Years in succession. Last year at beautiful little Luskintyre Aerodrome (Australia’s Tiger Moth Heaven) near Newcastle, Australia we got up well before dawn, rolled out a fleet of Tiger Moths, one Staggerwing, and a Cessna 172 photo ship. Engines were started just at daybreak. The Tiger Moths took off for the beach and a few minutes later the Red Rockette and I followed, catching up to them just as they approached the beach. There were numerous party goers on the beach, probably having stayed the night there. Formation flying up and down the beach to welcome in 2010 at dawn was a wonderful experience with the 172 taking photos of the entire event. A bountiful breakfast followed, again with new friendships being formed. Just another of the joys of being a wandering aviator in search of the perfect blueberry muffin.

Back to Bahrain and 2011. More lunches and dinners with new and evolving friends over the next few days, a visit to the amazing new Formula 1 race track where the first F1 race of the season is held in March, a visit to the Animal Park (zoo), and other sight seeing events filled the days. Eating filled any free time between these events. One very special meal was a home cooked lunch with a local family in their home. Exciting and exotic tastes filled the entire eating experience. Good company and Middle Eastern hospitality was the word of the day. Upon leaving I was told that I always had a home when in Bahrain. The differences between cultures had been crossed and mutual respect experienced to a high degree. It was a wonderful experience in a new part of the world for me….but a very old part of the world in the scheme of things. The Tigris and Euphrates were not far away. Remember the grade school lessons on the subject of the Cradle of Civilization?

And so it goes in Bahrain. Off to Amman, Jordan next.

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