Friday, March 1, 2013

A Bahraini Day


I was stuck for 12 hours in the Fiumicino Airport in Rome, not for pleasure or for a layover, but due to a delay of a Bahrain Air flight to Mumbai. For a large airport, Fiumicino has little to offer those have no particular fascination with luxury handbags. Gucci, Armani, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, and Fendi stores are peppered through the airport. There was no word from the airline on how long the delay would last or if the flight would be cancelled altogether.


The other passengers grew increasingly agitated and spent their time yelling at the Italian airport staff, two of whom left as shells of their former selves. After becoming a handbag expert (giving me something to discuss in the future with purse swinging Korean men), finishing a novel, babysitting some children with the assistance of their mother's iPad tablet, eating some pizza, and napping, an announcement was made that the flight would not be cancelled. Five hours later we were on our way to the oil-rich Kingdom of Bahrain, but anyone with a connecting flight had long since missed it.


A fellow passenger commented on my extraordinary patience and coolness during the whole ordeal. The Indian men who had caused a commotion at the airport protested, saying they were also even tempered fellows. They had only pretended to loose their cool for entertainment purposes as they had nothing else to do during the flight delay.


We would have to spend a day in Manama until we could be put on the next flight to Mumbai. I spent the better part of a day exploring the mosques, skyscrapers, and markets of Bahrain's capital. The locals abhor doing any physical labour, as black gold runs through their veins. The heavy lifting is done by labourers from the Indian subcontinent and South East Asia. The population of 1.2 million is split evenly between citizens and non-nationals.


*****

An inexhaustible good nature is one of the most precious gifts of heaven, spreading itself like oil over the troubled sea of thought, and keeping the mind smooth and equable in the roughest weather. - Washington Irving