We live in an era where everyone has a camera at their fingertips in the form of a mobile phone. Every burp and fart is photographed and uploaded to social media to be admired by all and sundry. It was not always so. It is not all that long ago that photography required a bulky object called a camera that needed to be loaded with film. Once taken the photo had to be processed and printed which took time and cost money. There are not a lot of photos from when I was a baby but one that has always stood out for me has me in my mother’s arms at age 6 months with a sign that says “Bahrain” behind her. We were en route to Australia accepted as refugees after the 1956 Hungarian revolution. My parents fled with almost nothing, it has only occurred to me now to wonder how come dad actually had a camera and film in those days.
As an older child I looked up Bahrain in our atlas (remember those also) and it all seemed so exotic. Well here I am 62 years later as a day tripper to have a quick look around this tiny island nation. For a variety of logistic reasons I organise a day trip with a tour company to get me around to see all of Bahrain as I am only here for 20 hours. Imagine my surprise when an empty bus rolls up to pick me up. Today there is only one booking, me! Bahrain turns out to be a surprise packet. In antiquity this was a verdant fertile land abundant with animals. The locals here were not nomadic Bedouins and actually settled and established cities with sophisticated infrastructure for its time. There are archaeological sites here that go back 5000 years. Mixed in there is a bit of Portuguese occupation, pearling and since the 1930s “black gold”, oil