I want to be adjusted to a schedule already, but I can only fight sleep until 9pm with the help of caffeine. Then regardless of the light coming in the window or if there is a party outside or not I wake up at 2 or 3 and then Sparky does the same and lets his nails click all over the floor to wake us up to let him out. Part of me doesn’t mind because I can watch an obstructed sunrise through our window or I will have to break curfew to watch it on the beach – which I still need to do.
The internet was working a little faster so I thought I would pay bills. That’s a bad idea when still getting used to a new country and before having breakfast or coffee. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the $770 charge for the rental car. I was under the impression that we would be paying $200 a month, but I guess that meant BD (290 total), and since we paid for two months in advance we got a good deal and they put us in a more expensive car but are charging us for the cheaper one.
I should’ve remembered that I thought living in California was expensive – paying an extra dollar for peanut butter, 60 cents more for each gallon of gas, and $1,400 for a two bedroom – our biggest place yet. So moving here it seemed the food was comparable (and it all has to be delivered), the gas is supposed to be a third of the cost from the States, but the rent is doubling. I was able to swallow that fact easier knowing that the Navy would pay our rent, but we’ve spent so much money on this trip and I can’t keep track of the flow like I’m used to.
I’m hoping in another week my sleep pattern will balance out, the heat won’t make me as tired, and the banks will process our debits and payments so that I will know where we stand financially. It makes me wonder why Caleb would want to bother with dragging one life into the other. He could’ve left all this – car, household goods, wife, and dogs – and come here unaccompanied. He could’ve drank with the guys and shared a flat with them. He could eat fast food and rent a fast car. He could watch TV all night and then just call me in-between, but he loves me enough to put up with the crazy.
He’s really stressed out trying to do all the running around for extra processing that I need and he’s taking it out on the people trying to help us. He knew how much I wanted to come and was willing to have to stay here another year, but I wanted to come for the positive experience that other spouses and travellers have, not for negativity and regret of being somewhere with someone who doesn’t like their surroundings. I’m hoping these are temporary emotions.
We enjoy our breakfast and eat slowly. I will try the corn flakes and whole milk. We got there early and get back to the room at 7:15. We agree to leave in an hour so we can find parking and get to our appointment on time. It’s easy to get the well rested, just walked and fed dogs into the car. Sparky rolls down his window and in our Mazda I can lock the windows for everyone else but still roll them all down. In this Nissan if the windows are locked I can only use mine.
The lot closest to the base gate is full so we park in the next one a building distance away. Going through the gate is easy and the day is still cool. We arrive to our 9am appointment 15 minutes early. The technician lets us in to cool off, then sets us up in the room. The vet comes in, does her exam of both dogs and recommends Piggy get her teeth cleaned and Sparky get neutered to keep his prostate from getting too big and blocking his butthole from proper function. Their medication got shipped so we have to buy Heartgard and Frontline as sand ticks are a big problem here. The visit and three-month supply of meds will cost us $118.
Caleb went to PSD to get prepaid for per diem while I waited in the shade next to Bldg. 1 before Piggy chased a cat out of the bushes. Then we went inside so that they could have some air in place of water. I brought a bottle for them but nothing to put it in so they could drink. Caleb got done and went by the Desert Dome for a cup. I refilled my bottle and then we made the hot trek to the car. It felt more hot today keeping up with Piggy’s quick pace and having no breeze to cool us off. I was grateful that it wasn’t too hot on their pads to walk so that I didn’t have to carry them.
They stopped in the shade of a vehicle two down from ours and got some more water while I turned the air on to make the seat less prone to burning. Their tongues hung out for half the ride and finally made it back inside their mouths before we got home. We are all appreciating the air, cold marble floor, and cool leather couches. I text the realtor and after 20 minutes of no reply decide it’s time to go to Lulu’s for some shopping. I’m in need of more Ramadan friendly clothes while I wait for mine from the States.
Finding it is no problem now that we know to turn at intersections with lights, not random unmarked streets. We spend maybe 45 minutes in the ladies department finding me a few shirts and a wrap-around skirt, and then I try on a dress that reminds Caleb of Little House on the Prairie – I didn’t get it. We grab Caleb two shirts and I watch a guy ‘break-in’ to the dressing room. Somehow it was locked with no one in it, so I ask him to unlock the second one too so that all three rooms will be available again.
We head to the Manama Souq. There is parking across the street and as big as the entrance may look the amount of shops down the long alleys are even more impressive. I start to get hungry and mention that we could go to Shawarma Alley, but Caleb says we came here looking for knee-covering shorts, so I grab the first pair I see (in the men’s section) so we can leave. Then I spot a juice stand and order a medium mango consisting of fruit and ice. I slurp that down on the way back to the car.
Caleb agrees to see the Alley even though we should be meeting with realtors, but the directions get us into a few dead-ends in the middle of the souq and soon Caleb’s dehydration gets the better of him. We almost took a shortcut to the highway, but the curb was too tall for the car. This doesn’t stop other cars from driving on the sidewalk to take an exit or to cut in line – they will do this from the turn lane too.
Home at 2:30 and we have an appointment with a realtor today at 3:15 and another one tomorrow at 4pm. Diana is on time and takes us to Meena 7 – a tall apartment resort. She shows us the two pools and private beach and the parking garage before going upstairs to show us the large three bedroom place. It didn’t have any furniture in it but the view was nice, the space plenty, and the maid’s quarters – a personal bathroom with room for a bed and dresser next to it. I would prefer it be a guest room, small office, or dog room, or a place the maid sleeps when she’s too drunk to drive. I wouldn’t expect someone to stay there long-term.
Then we pass the place we looked at yesterday to see a three bedroom version of it. The backyard is bigger and has a fence, but no ladder to the water. It’s between two walls giving us a more personal swimming area in the canal and a neighbour with a boat. The living room, a bathroom, and kitchen are downstairs, two bedrooms on the second floor, another bedroom on the third, and maid’s quarters on the fourth. Plenty of balcony space to store our things that won’t fit in the house, but with the extra-large wardrobes I don’t think it will be a problem.
She had a couple of places she was going to show us, but Tala island got in trouble for letting its tenants have dogs when there is a large sign that says no pets, so we need to find a place that is pet friendly before they are gone. There was a place with a side yard – biggest yet we’ve seen in Bahrain – that was only on the market for one day. I would’ve taken it if the family wasn’t there standing in the open door as they waved us away.
Diane drops us back off at The Dragon and tells us we can walk by another place at 6pm to see if it’s available for showing and that she might be back in time to go with us. She hands us her card and drives away. Caleb makes spinach and cheese raviolis for dinner and while we wait for them to cook we have some crackers with pepper gouda and I share a banana with the dogs. Our houseboy comes by demanding our towels saying that he has to change them out every other day – company policy.
We take the dogs with us to villa 220 and the family inside is making dinner. It smells amazing, I remove my shoes, and step inside. The extended living room does add more space. They’re using theirs as an office and the backyard space that they do have is fenced in because they have small dogs too, but I think we’re still set on the three bedroom. We enjoy the walk home and I think tonight will be the earliest yet.