I got home late and I think the cleaning took longer than I realised. The dogs might’ve been hungry when we laid down, but I wasn’t getting back up. I’d had four long exciting days and needed some rest. A shower was refreshing and on our morning walk I saw Kim with one of her dogs. She asked how Heather did and I told her she’d had to clean up a lot of pee. I texted Julie that there was no rush on the key, so I could eat breakfast.
Julie asked if I got the note and told me that Heather had to borrow her mop to clean up all the messes. She sounded a bit upset and I think she thinks that I underpaid knowing this would happen and that I won’t tip for the difficulties. I’m going to tip to keep things nice, but I debate using her services again. At least she took care of them, but I don’t know why they were constantly going inside. And she didn’t have to bother cleaning up the mess, but I don’t like that she left a bag of it on my table. I will let her know these things for her next dog sitting gig.
Breakfast was a pudding from the fridge, some cookies from my bag, and a cup of juice. I spent the afternoon catching up on emails and looking into finding a job. I left home at 4:45 on my way to Priya’s to celebrate Ganesh Chahurthi dressed in the Indian tunic she gave me, the henna from Abu Dhabi, and the bindi that she gifted me with as well. We have traditional snacks, lots of chickpeas and jaggery and yumminess, and she exchanges some with her neighbor who came over to admire her pandal (temporary shrine).
Caleb gets off work at 6pm. I drop Priya off at the gate because she forgot her ID. The guard is impressed with my get-up and compliments me. I pick Caleb up, then Priya, and we are on our way to Bab Al Bahrain (Manama Souq) to visit the temple. We turned right too early and had to go through a security check in the Financial Harbor District. I pointed to the souq, “We want to go there.” He gave Priya directions in their native tongue, but I understood, “right, right, far left, u-turn, right.”
Priya’s work has an office nearby and we are able to park in their empty lot to walk across the street. The roads are as full as the sidewalks. We go inside to cool down and then we join the line of people buying sacraments to present at the temple. When we get close we drop our shoes off next to the other 300 pairs. Across the courtyard, up the steps, and into a room. We stand there in awe while Priya does her thing.
Outside it’s time to get in line for temple food – rice, chickpeas, curry, and a bit of something crunchy. Eat with your right hand and when you’re done you can put your plate in the trash, wash your hand at the sink, and then grab a shared cup to pour water down your throat. I would’ve gotten something to drink, but was distracted by a woman’s sari, so Priya said as much and the mom told her three daughters to stand by me so that the dad could take a picture. I was probably the only one smiling so foolishly, but Priya tells me the friendliness is like this all over Chennai and has invited me to go there to see her daughter if she doesn’t come here and go to Ferrari World – hopefully she has time for both.
My shoes are hidden underneath a stroller. We pass a shop that sells drinks and go inside to cool off while Priya orders me the cup of tea I saw advertised outside. I thought the hot bubble in the picture was ice. I was mistaken. Caleb offers to take the burning cup of beverage from my hand so that I can handle the bottle of water we buy to share. Time to leave. Caleb was going to get directions to a park so we could walk but we decided on air conditioning instead at Seef Mall.
Left turn, up the ramp, near pillar N3, inside, up and down, and all around. I brought my tea with me and drank until I hit grounds. Back to the car and there’s a lot of honking going on. The exit traffic is at a standstill. I guess this is what weekend traffic is like and we are stuck in line for 45 minutes before the first a-hole shows up to claim his prize. We are in the parking lot, so cars can go both ways, but this guy wants to turn it into a personal pass-everyone-else lane and then I see cars getting in behind him so I manoeuvre the car to keep my spot and block him from advancing.
He gets out of his car and comes over to my window. He tells me, “Go!” Caleb waves him off from the backseat and then I hear the door handle get pulled on. My heart was beating a thousand times a second as what could happen played through my mind, but luckily cars have that auto-lock safety feature built-in and this guy didn’t feel like breaking our window. At one point he gets close enough to push my side mirror forward with his car. I roll the window down to adjust it and roll it back up.
We get to a turn and him and another car make their way to my left while the cars we are merging with on the right keep it tight so I have to wait for two of them to pass before squeezing in. They didn’t get that much further ahead. This is definitely not the part of Bahrain I look forward to when waking up in the morning. It would’ve been different if he was in an SUV and could jump the curb, but the car behind him was lower than ours.
We are headed back to Priya’s at 10:45, run over a piece of flaming tire, and she invites us in, but I let her know that Caleb was falling asleep in the backseat and needs to go to bed. I grab the food she packed for me earlier and say good night. At the intersection I see five cops in riot gear, three riot vehicles, and two small flames. Then with the burst of flame Caleb announces the Molotov cocktail. Well, that’s great, but it’s time to go.
I walk dogs while Caleb gets ready for work tomorrow – yes on a weekend (because they had an early weekend in Abu Dhabi) and yes on my birthday (because I celebrated in Abu Dhabi, tonight, and will again tomorrow, and perhaps the day after as well).