Tag Archives: Bahrain

Review of the @Bahrainrunners Cross Island Run December 2016

On paper, the race sounds extremely appealing – a chance to run an entire country from East to West.

The reality however, pales in comparison to the expectation.

unnamedLet’s start with the Cons:

Time not honored. I was sent an email confirmation that the race was due to begin at 9AM, gathering to be at 8AM to take the buses to the starting location. If not for my friend who valiantly offered to transport me, I would not have realized that the race time was made one hour earlier.

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Rules not comprehensive. The race boasted a few disclaimers I had not seen in all the races I have run previously, such as:

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Firstly; Music not being allowed was an overkill. I was under the impression the race would be run primarily on pavement due to this fact, little did I realize it only constituted almost 10% of the entire race. If I did not have my music to keep me centered whilst running across the sandy, arid plains, I would have gone mad!

Secondly, you would think if they’re asking us to treat everyone with respect, that we should also respect the country we are in and not aim to destroy the beauty of the desert, by discarding the spray paint cans alongside the running “path”.

No timing. This is not my first race, as you can probably surmise. It is also not the first race I take part in without a chip of some sort. Now most races provide you with chipped bibs, the good folks at BRR choose to sell you a tracker, valid for all races. What if I only want to run this race? Here is what your results will show if you do not have their tracker:capture

This seriously took away from the overall race enjoyment. Absence of a tracker should not excuse the organizers from manually recording my position and time, as per the bib placed on my front, as requested by their rules.

Few and far aid stations. In the desert, hydration is key.

Anticlimactic start. There was no designated start line, everyone just sort of converged into one location and kept edging forward till someone yelled “get set go!”

Short distance. The race fell short of the 16KM by 400Meters.

Disappointing GPS tracking. Despite claiming that the race is from one end of Bahrain to the other, the starting point was a fair distance inside as in not on the coast, making the map disappointing.

Long queue at the finish line for food. Despite a fair number of runners showing up, only one food cart was available at the finish line, making the waiting quite long.

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Pro’s:

Very friendly volunteers. truly a joy in any race.

Well chosen course. tough terrain but very enjoyable.

Massage at the end. A nice way to calm the muscles.

Bathroom facilities. Anyone in Kuwait knows, we don’t do very well with porta-potties for some reason, but Bahrain has it down!

Most Connected Gulf Country in terms of flights is…

We here in Kuwait are hot off holiday season, for those that remained and got soaked, we salute you.

But when it comes to travelling, which country fares best in terms of DIRECT flights out? i.e. which country in the Gulf is connected to the most countries around the world via their airport?

Here is the list we compiled based on Wikipedia reports. The more important number is Destination Countries (2nd column) because some airlines fly internal flights to local destinations (cities) such as Saudi Arabia:

Most Connected gulf Country

As you can see, Qatar tops the list.

We need whatever growth hormone was administered to Qatar Airport, as it has undergone HUGE changes since I was there last in 2012.

Kuwait Airways connects Kuwait to 24 countries.

The reason behind this analysis is, when travelling from Kuwait you need to factor in transit time, whereas from the countries of these respective airlines, the flights are direct, so transit time is minimized.

Sure would be great if Kuwait can top this list.

“Maid” in Kuwait – Adding Insult to Injury

Since the dawn of time, families have requested the help of others in taking care of things around the house, cooking, cleaning, raising the children etc.

These hired helpers, domestic workers, were referred to as Maids, which is a short-form of maiden, which also means an unmarried girl.

It is not wrong to rely on others for help; lives today are different than yesteryear and in the days of yore. However, it is very common to read that the most prevalent form of abuse in the GCC region is the abuse of domestic workers; from over-work, underpay, abuse and rape to murder, and everything in between.

That is besides the point I am here to make; it has been brought up again and again in media all over the world and yet it persists, all over the world. The point I am looking at here is their clothing.

for illustrative purposes only

for illustrative purposes only

Certain jobs dictate/require a uniform; security, police, construction, nurses, engineering etc. however, domestic help doesNOT.

I drive by BBS every day on my way to work, I see a gathering of maids waiting across the street for the driver to make his way around the roundabout so they can get back in the car. Some are dressed casually, you would not know they were maids, whilst others are dressed as above.

What is the point of this? With other jobs, uniforms are worn for shifts, periods of time and then are taken off when the people punch out. Whereas maids remain all day in their clothing as they are at the beck and call of their “sponsors”, especially live-in maids. Do they lose their identity and become as they are dressed, day in day out, monotonous and robotic? Blended into the background?

The idea of domestic worker uniforms was back in the days of slavery as a form of ownership. Slavery has been abolished, or so we are lead to believe. What purpose does the uniform serve, that normal clothing cannot? Almost all uniforms are disgusting shades of oh-hell-no I would be hesitant to place on anything, much less another human being.

It is bad enough these people are away from their families for prolonged periods of time, earning meager wages that despite being more than they would at home are not enough to guarantee a life of comfort. It is adding insult to injury to force them to parade around in disgusting shades of purple, green and brown.

There is only one maid outfit that should ever be worn; and all the guys understand where I am coming from. Other than that, laissez faire. 

Comparison of Public holidays Across the region for 2015

Let’s face it, unless you are a teacher, you live for public holidays – the days of the year where you are paid to stay at home, without reducing your leave balance at work.

Who has the most days? Who has the least?

SPOILER: Lebanon (22) & Saudi Arabia (9).

Here are the holidays for the countries in the region (thank you Gulftalent.com):

1) UAE – 10 days.

UAE Does not have compensatory days off like Kuwait, whereby if a public holiday lands on a Friday it is compensated by giving Sunday off. Saturdays are not compensated.

UAE

 

2) Saudi Arabia – 9 days.

No comment.

saudi

 

3) Oman – 15 days.

Not bad, but O-who again?

oman

 

4) Qatar – 10 days.

No compensatory days off.

Independence & National days this year, both same day, both a Friday. STBU if you’re in Qatar.

qatar

 

5) Bahrain – 13 days.

Unlucky. But quite good.

bahrain

 

6) Kuwait – 12 days.

Say it isn’t so!

 

kuwait

 

7) Egypt – 17 days.

Go Egypt!! Why isn’t January 25 a public holiday yet?!

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8) Lebanon – 22 days.

Apologies for the tiny screenie, could not fit it all in. No. 1 by a long shot!

 

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9) Jordan – 19 days.

Last but certainly not the least, 2nd in terms of total days off.

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And here you can find an article comparing the Arab World to the rest of the World (India leads in that department).

Representing @RunQ8Official in Bahrain!

Make no mistake – runners know how to have fun, whenever, wherever!
A recent business trip to Bahrain – the growing country made me decide to have an impromptu run dressed in my favorite running garb.
This past weekend the Q8FootSoldiers left our mark on Bahrain, running from Exhibition St. (Holiday Inn Express) all the way to the Bahrain Fort (and subsequently staging a hostile running takeover)!

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this one is for you RunQ8!

Initially, I had planned to run around the whole country (which is put at around 55KM, just in excess of a marathon). However, this plan never made it to fruition as I was later informed that Bahrain was not an island as I previously understood, but a series of interconnected islands via highways. However, having run the length of the Gulf Road in Kuwait numerous times, I believed myself to be no stranger to a little highway excursion.

How wrong I was.

At first I planned my trip meticulously – I used Google maps to estimate the walking distance from my hotel to the Fort. It was placed at 9.1KM i.e. a 45 moderate paced run for me. I used the GPS on my S3 on my arm to track my run via Nike+Running and followed the Google Maps route on my Xperia Z2 in my hand (as I was running without 3G, I had to stick to the plan or risk getting lost in the streets of Bahrain).

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The route as proposed by Google Maps

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The final route + several wrong turns

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a slightly larger map for scale to show the Coast-to-Coast run

The first 3K of the run were very entertaining, Google Maps had plotted an interesting route that took me through residential areas and made me see things I otherwise would not have seen had I not decided to run. Old busy streets and cobbled roads with people walking in every direction forcing me to have to dart amongst them to navigate safely.

It was when I turned onto the King Faisal Expressway (I think) that I had my first detour, despite Google asking me to go straight down, I was unable to comply due to the presence of a military checkpoint (and not a soul in sight other than military personnel). I thought, I can navigate around them, and ran through the market on the left side amongst giant 18 wheelers carrying produce for said market. Most of it stank to high heaven, including the fish market and a few bins full of rotting food.

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sunset at the Fort

When I saw that there was no way around the military, I decided to ask them what to do/ where to go. The lone military personnel available, at the sight of me approaching, reached for his rifle and stood to his full height, dwarfing me before him. He did not speak Arabic, or English for that matter, and I had the hardest time asking him how do I get to the fort, which he heard as palace.
I ran back down the side of the road again and towards a pedestrian bridge, crossing it to run along the other side, then joining onto the King Faisal Express on the right shoulder in the emergency lane. Google maps, despite the absence of a connection, continued to show me as a dot moving towards the destination, with a nifty count-down timer for distance. (people really should make an app that guides you to a run depending on your desired distance).
Again, I lost my bearing at the Ahli United Bank office and kept going back to my map and zooming out to find the blue road I was meant to be on.
Much of the land I was running on later was reclaimed land, as evidenced by the shells I found on the ground beneath me. Slowly but surely, I came to the Fort, finally!

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The Fort Has Fallen

The destination was definitely worth the journey, and in the end I had added an extra 3KM.

The run back was also an adventure, as I was short on fuel having only had breakfast in the early morning at the hotel and having decided to turn back at 5:00PM as the sun had begun its descent, the cold winds began to blow.

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The Bahrain Sky Line

All in all, it was a very rewarding experience to run bearing the crest of something that came from Kuwait. If only for next year we can get running shirts that clearly distinguish us as residents of Kuwait.

Maybe? Who knows 🙂

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@BungeeKW is Back!

come one, come all, jump from 300 Feet and prepare to enthrall!

This weekend challenge yourself and do something daring!

for more information, please check below:

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 بمناسبة #عيد #الاضحى # المبارك ،،،
تدعوكم شركة فينيكس العالمية للمشاركة في المهرجان الترفيهي الفريد من نوعه

The travel curse

For some 2014 spells a new year for new experiences, great experiences, exciting experiences. For me, it has already started off on the worst foot possible – a cursed foot.

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For the first time ever in over 27 years of travel, I have been struck by the trifecta of travel related calamities.

It started out innocently enough with a trip back home where my luggage appears on the carousel at arrival with a huge piece of metal sticking out of its frame. I remember it vividly as at first I wanted to deny it was my luggage, even going as far as opening it to check inside (despite my name being written on the tag on the handle), a lady walked up to me and said I think you have my bag, how I wished she was correct. In a foul mood I snapped at her, pointing at the tags and saying is your name Ayman Nassar?!

The second calamity happened shortly after the first, where, again, for the first time ever, I missed my flight and had to shelf out an amount greater than what I paid for a return ticket for a one way.

And the travel gods are not done with me yet! This past weekend I was denied boarding on a flight to Qatar as my new designation apparently is not privy to visa-on-arrival. And worse, no refund!

Is this a sign? Should I cancel the honeymoon plans (tickets already booked) in light of these ominous signs from the nether?

What do you think?

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Flight curse

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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