I arrived at the airport before the rest of the group by four hours. Bahrain International Airport was small and hassle free. In a few minutes I got my passport stamped, my luggage picked up and scanned, and I headed to Costa to pamper myself.
I bought 7 books from Dubai Airport (and I bought another 7 the day before). One of the books was for Sophie Kinsella but I didn’t feel particularly blond that day, so I ended up reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s a good book, and from the few chapters I read it appeared to be a more elaborate take on my social psychology course and the other book I read last month entitled You Can Be Happy No Matter What.
The clock ticked by slowly, but it eventually was time to greet the new arrivals.
We went to the hotel reservations section where one of the guys did the booking. Murphy’s Laws – all of them – applied since then.
Idiot: Sorry sir the hotel canceled your reservation
While my friend argued and raised his voice (almost loud enough to get the security’s attention), I went to have a seat to just think my options through. My stress and fatigue got the worst of me and I suggested to my friend that I would book back to Dubai. He ignored me because he knew I wouldn’t do it.
We gave up on the reservation and took matters to our own hands. We headed out onto the streets of Manama.
Hours later of not finding a hotel (and we were all tired and I was particularly sleepy), we ended up in probably the only place thay can accommodate us on short notice: A brothel (بيت دعارة).
KJ: Are you INSANE?! I am NOT sleeping in a BROTHEL!
Friend: 3andak 7al tani!
Other Friend: It’s just one night…
KJ: IT’S A BROTHEL! I am NOT sleeping there!
We slept there.
It’s probably mandatory that every man be exposed to such a place. The brothel had no doors, per se, except for plastic flaps that you usually find in supermarkets separating the staff entrance of the meat and poultry section from the rest. On the right was one long bar lined up with at least 15 or so “entertainers”. They were watching us as we checked in.
The room was a different story. The carpet smelled of fungus. I was too worried about the bed and decided to sleep on the chair, but given my own fetishes I thought that the bed was the safer option. There was no mattress. None. The beds were bare-bone, structural beds with covers. I guess wood-banging is part of the experience. The sheets looked “clean” enough, though, but I wouldn’t place any bets.
The loo was a drama, something out of a horror movie. Cobwebs all over (and in the room too)… the toilet didn’t seem to have been cleaned for ages. The bathtub is composed of a never-heard-of-before incurable viral outbreak. You can almost see it pulsating with former bodily fluids, rust, spots, and all sorts of microscopic heathens.
The only clean aspects of the room were our own luggage and the soap and shampoo as they arrived in sealed unopened containers.
We thought it best to sleep as little as possible there. While we changed our clothes to go for an all-nighter dinner, someone knocked on the door. Expecting our friends from the adjacent room, I called them in. The door didn’t open. My friend went to open the door. Note that he’s a conservative Palestinian from Hebron.
An “entertainer” stood before him, smiling.
It took us a whole minute to register the scene.
My friend’s face turned all sorts of colors, all quite visible in the abnormally dark room. The poor woman felt her life was ending right there and then. She probably remembered the first day she joined the world of brothelhood. She remembered the day she sacrificed her virginity to send money back to her parents. She remembered her boyfriend, upset somewhere halfway across the world at his inability to support her, for having her to go all through this. He must have been dying of jealousy. She remembered the good old days when she used to go out with her friends, on their “day off”, to be normal human beings. She wondered, right there and then, if any of this might have been different; if the door she knocked on then was answered by her husband or boyfriend, instead of a stranger for a quick buck.
My friend almost pushed her away and avoided her like the plague, and he shut the door on her reality.
Friend: KINAN SHU HAD!
KJ: shu metwaqqe3 yan3i :P
We went out for dinner and didn’t come back till dawn. I don’t know how I slept. In the morning I removed the filthy shower nozzle, wore my slippers and showered outside the bathtub, doing my absolute best not to touch anything but my own slippers.
We checked out of the brothel, and continued hotel hunting.
You thought it’s over? Oh noes… see you in part three!