A Spot of Bother in Bahrain (and some Inkspot)
I flew into Bahrain yesterday, via Dubai, only to discover that the visa rules have changed here. On each of my two previous visits I’ve paid for a visa on arrival. Yesterday I was detained by Immigration for well over an hour. After an overnight flight I was tired, desperately in need of a shower, and not very much looking forward to the prospect of getting back onto a plane some time later to return to Dubai.
What you also need to know is that the +- one hour flight from Dubai is possibly the most expensive short flight one can buy. I was staring down the barrel of not only wasted time, but also wasted money. The additional complication was that I’d missed Andrea’s birthday party to get here (one has to be either stupid or feel very secure to miss one’s wife’s party).
After more than an hour of me sitting dejectedly outside the office they finally let me through. Perhaps part of my salvation lay in me not losing my rag.
The main purpose of my visit was to pour Cloof wines at a consumer show for one of the major licensees here, BMMI, who must have the friendliest staff complement I’ve encountered anywhere in the world.
As with the St Johns wine festival I reported on last month, I was well entertained. A man tasting our reds commented that the flavour was nice, but there was just too much of the wines. In his view, huge hangovers lurked beneath each of the screwcaps, which I vehemently denied.
His wife then arrived, wanting to taste Inkspot. Needless to say she loved it, but her husband then tried to tell her how severe a hangover one may get from the wine. Then followed one of the most priceless interactions I’ve ever witnessed.
WIFE: So what if I get a hangover? Sometimes one has to pay for one’s pleasure with a little pain.
HUSBAND: If I had to pay for all the pleasure I’ve had I’d be dead.
WIFE (delivered in dry monotone): That can be arranged.
I got the feeling that he preferred his experiences (certainly the taste ones) to be smaller and more watered down than what he was getting from our wines. Did that have anything to do with his choice of a skinny five-foot woman has his wife? Who knows, but she is one of the most spirited, feisty, fun-loving people I’ve ever met.
The volume of wine we sell in Bahrain is quite amazing. Fortunately, it would appear, people like the husband described above are part of a very tiny minority.
The dishdasha-wearing Arabs at Immigration are an intimidating looking bunch. Their very pores seem to ooze haughty disdain. Like Mr Husband, I unnecessarily anticipated the worst.
The conclusion was very much better than I thought it would be, but Irish immigration officials remain my first choice.