Week 2: Settling in and buying a car!

Already two weeks, where has time gone? It feels like I have been here longer. Time flies here. Maybe it is the time change, or talking to people back home, but I am getting used to it all. I think that being away from California for almost a year now has made a lot of the change even easier. At the same time it is just as difficult.

This week:
–        Settling In
–        I bought a car!
–        Money and Gas Prices
–        Driving in Bahrain
–        Washy-Washy
–        Finding a house

Settling In

Work has been super busy. Not much exciting, but I am doing a lot of training of my associates, and the team here. Funny story about the associates here. They are all really into Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and apparently they think I look like one of the wrestlers, The Big Show. They were scared to tell me because they figured I would be upset. It was funny when the lady told me about it. She was so nervous that I would be mad. I think it is funny, but they are still worried I was offended.

I Bought a Car!

When I found out I was moving to Bahrain, I decided not to bring my car. Click here for my adventure home. I sold it on my trip to California and figured I would buy, lease, or rent a car when I got here. I had seen some cars for rent which appeared to have a reasonable monthly fee, and thought it would be worth it. I quickly found out that it totally was not! It would cost me more money to rent a car than it would have to bring my car here. Cars for sale here range from the deep POS to the really really nice. There are also a lot of situations to get screwed as well.

The good thing is that last week I found out that a friend of a friend was selling their car as they were PCS’ing out of Bahrain soon. Pretty good deal, so I decided to go for it. The car was below blue book, and for a 2003 only has 60,000 miles on it. The problem is that it is regulated for Europe and it will not be coming back home with me, whenever that is. The good thing is that because the island is so small, I will not be putting ANY miles on it and will turn around and sell it for at least what I paid for it.

Money and Gas Prices

On base, everything is paid for in US dollars. We do not use pennies, just round it up or down. I know this would be frustrating to some people as they bought $4.98 of merchandise and paid with a $5 and will want their two cents back. Outside of town they use the Bahraini Dinar (BD). The exchange rate is US$1= BD$2.65 and their change here is in Fils. They also go to the .000 place. For example, dinner or a shirt will be shown as costing BD3.900.

Prices compared to US are fairly competitive I suppose. I am also in the American Alley area which is a bit of a tourist trap so they are a little higher here. I know the biggest charge is for a beer at the “sports bar” in my hotel. A draft beer is BD3.100 which $8.20 US. And I say “sports bar” because although that is what they call it, the bar is basically six pool tables, a hooka room, and TVs that show random shows. And the place is full of Asian hookers.

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In regards to gas, the price is REALLY cheap as you can imagine. There are two types of gas here, premium and low grade. The premium is about .100 fils/liter and from what I am told works about the same as low grade in the US. But figuring the price is super cheap and filling up will be maybe biweekly, I am okay with that.

Driving in Bahrain

Driving in Bahrain is a contact sport. Traffic lights are a mere suggestion. As soon as the light goes from red to yellow (before going to green) the cars behind are honking and yelling at you to go. Drivers inch into the intersection, and pedestrians definitely do not have the right of way. The other excitement is parking. There is no double parking here.

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If there is an open space for one car to get through, then you can park. People pull over to the side of the road and block others in while they run into grab dinner. When there was a carrier in a few weeks ago, the taxi drivers went nuts. They parked right along side the median because there were so many of them. You are in the lane to turn left? Be careful, because the guy from the right lane may just jump across traffic and fight for that turn as well.

Washy – Washy

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All along the roads there are guys walking or riding their bikes with buckets and/or bags on their handlebars. Also, some of them have little stations set up along the roads. These guys are referred to (at least how I was informed) as “washy-washy” guys. They are willing to wash your car for about 2-5 BD. The sand and dirt here is so bad, especially with the wind, that cars get dirty really quick. Most apartments or houses will have someone in the neighborhood who walks by and offers to wash your car. Seriously, they walk by and say “washy washy?” They even hit me up while I was walking to my hotel. I am pretty sure he was talking about washing my car. The other guys are selling sunglasses, and even a Rolex watch. One guy had a bag full of them. Real Rolex he says! Cheap, right on the streets of Bahrain!

Finding a House

No news on this front yet, as I don’t want to jinx it. I should have something by the next time I post, though. For now I will leave you with a teaser picture of the villa I am in talks with right now.

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Thanks for reading! Cool

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