Bahrain

Jim’s Perspectives:

Bahrain has both oil and gas, and knowing that it does not have unlimited supplies of both, is re-inventing itself into a financial capital. The “real” story of Bahrain is … although it is a Muslim country … anything goes here. My driver told me that everyone who comes to Bahrain has a girlfriend, and that many people from GCC countries come here, and upon arrival they rip off their conservative clothing and party, party, party!

This country has one of the best shopping malls I have ever seen – – shops from all over the world. Like in Qatar, the King gives out houses, money for furnishings, many government jobs, free education, and health care. The King has the respect of the foreign nationals working here because he praises them publically.

This is a country of many islands, connected by bridges to Saudi Arabia by a 20 mile long bridge!!! Many westerners working for Aramco (oil) live in Bahrain and commute to work. Why? This is a western country, there are few rules here, and ATMs dispense dollars in Bahrain.

This is an unusual country in that it is one of the few Shia countries besides Iran, however the ruling family is Sunni. Of course, Iran is stoking this split.

There is so much building going on, new construction cranes are everywhere!  This country is not as lavish as Dubai or Doha, however it has a lot going on.

Downtown Manama at night 2012 … streets are CROWDED & CRAZY!

Country Information:

The capital is Manama. About 2 million people live here and the official language is Arabic. The dominant religion is Islam. The time zone is 7 hours ahead of EST.

Bahrain is unique in that it is a tax-free economy (with exceptions on oil, gas, and petroleum), making it a hotspot for foreign investments. Also fascinating is that Bahrain’s territory is thought to be the location of the Garden of Eden because of Eden’s resemblance to the ancient land Dilmun, where Bahrain exists today.

Travelers should visit Manama in order to see some of its churches, museums, and the ancient ruins of Qalat al Bahrain. A fun place to see at night is Reef Island, which has beautiful lights along the route and lots of restaurants to choose from such as French or Lebanese food. It’s a very peaceful place to walk around, and has many private apartments to rent.

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