it’s a joy. Truly. Considering that we live quite literally on the opposite side of the planet from most of our friends and relatives, it’s almost a miracle to welcome a visitor from the US.
Well, kinda sorta from the US. He is a US Navy sailor that lives and works onboard an aircraft carrier that recently docked here in Bahrain, home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
Through a number of messages from him and his lovely wife, we learned he would have at least a couple days liberty to visit. We’d not seen him for many years, and were looking forward to welcoming him. And, his buddy. <smile>
Wanting to make him feel welcome, I scrambled to locate his favorite beverage, Diet Mt. Dew….. doesn’t sound too difficult, right? Five stores, but I nailed it!
Having out-of-town guests gives us the opportunity to sort of “see” our tiny desert island Kingdom in a different light. Things which have become fairly mundane to us spark great interest in guests – roundabouts, thobes, abayas, herds of critters, random outdoor water faucets on walls, daily call to prayer, erratic driving and parking.
Explaining these things generally involves the phrase…. “well, things are *different* here…..” in some fashion.
“Why are there traffic lights on a roundabout?”
“What do the different colored head things mean that men wear here?”
“What do women wear under their black robes?”
“Why is there a drinking fountain outside that fence?”
“How loud are those speakers, anyway?”
“Are there traffic cops here?”
“Why are there animals running alongside the roadways?”+
But it also means a trip to at least one souq, a couple of souvenier shops, and trinkets for loved ones back home….. plus a stop at a grocery store and local bakery is always enlightening.
I am grateful that we had the opportunity to sort of “reboot” the way we see our tiny island home. And to see our friend, welcome him and his friend into our home and provide them with a tiny bit of comfort and difference after 5 weeks onboard was a joy. They appreciated the day-to-day things, getting their own drinks from the fridge, helping prepare a meal, eating dinner on a TV tray watching a movie. Just being in someone’s home instead of onboard the ship, it was something different, something out of their ordinary. And a ship must get very ordinary after 5 weeks!