Sunday, June 29, 2014

Loss of a good friend, Jim Haiz

Every once in a while you receive a phone call, a visit or as in this case, an email that changes everything in life.  Unfortunately, this email came to me on Saturday from Jim Haiz’s family.

Subject: Sad News


It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that our father, Jim Haiz, passed away peacefully yesterday, 6/26/2014. He lived a full life and was surrounded by family at the time.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday July 2nd at 2pm
Adam-Green Funeral Home
721 Elden Street
Herndon, VA 20171

Following the service there will be get together at Jim's home in Ashburn
43089 Branower Street
Ashburn, VA 20147

If anyone has any questions or would like to share anything, please reply, as we'll monitor his personal email up to the service.

Patrick, Brian, Kevin & Amie Haiz and Bernice Coakley

Jim and Bernice with me at Brittany's engagement party in April of 2013.

To say I was shocked and saddened by this email is an understatement.

When I retired and passed the controls of FAMILY Magazine on to Northern Virginia Media Services, I did not worry because I knew Jim would be there.

I never dreamed Jim would be gone . . . .

I met Jim after he retired from full time employment and he applied with FAMILY Magazine to sell advertising. He wanted to work but only part time on a schedule of his choice.

I was afraid he would not be challenged enough at our magazine, but Jim was engaged in the work immediately and did a great job. He had fun doing it, too.

He was a great man to work with, a good friend and I will miss him deeply.

Jim had fantastic relationships with his advertisers.  He fought to make sure they received a good return on their investment in our magazine.  He always considered their needs and how we could help them.  He was their advocate even when it was not in his own (commissions) best interest.  He wanted what was right for them.

Just like me, Jim was an early morning person. Many, many times Jim beat me to the office and would greet me with a very hearty, “Good morning, boss. I think you should give me a raise.”

Although (as he told it) he only worked part time, 4 days week from 7-11, he was still our number one sales person.  Every once in a while another sales person would give him a run for his money but he always came out on top.  He knew his job and he did it well.

Jim never worked in the office on Friday.  That was the day he would go to the YMCA and take a spinning class with “the ladies.”  One of the most humorous things he ever did was on that rare occasion when he had to come by the office on Friday; he would come in dressed in his exercise clothes.  He would always apologize and say he was having a bad hair day.

Jim was also very interested in other people.  He asked about my daughter Brittany all the time.  Over the years he watched her grow up and took a lot of interest in the things going on in her life.  He also was very interested in what my husband, Doug was doing.  Often he told me, “Doug’s a lucky guy.” That always made me feel good.

Jim and Brittany (3rd and 4th from the left) with other friends
at Brittany's engagement party.
Fiance Randy (now hubby) is to the right of Brittany.

Jim really cared about all the team at FAMILY Magazine. He talked to me many times when he was concerned about one of them.  He was truly a part of our FAMILY at FAMILY Magazine.

There was one time when you could really see the passion for life in Jim’s eyes -- when he talked about his grandchildren.

He deeply loved his grandchildren. He loved seeing them compete or participate in a program at school.  When those great times would happen, he would come back to the office bubbling over with stories about what they did, what they said and how many times they hugged his neck. His love of his grandchildren was so apparent that you knew he had found that joy that made his life complete.

I am going to miss hearing Jim’s stories.  I will miss his teasing and his caring.  I will miss being reminded by him of what the priorities are at FAMIILY Magazine.  Jim was a part of my family for 14 wonderful years.  I am a better person because he was in my life.  I am lucky and he will be missed.

On our refrigerator I have a note I wrote to myself over 23 years ago about the same time I started FAMILY Magazine, “Life is short, dance often.”

Jim danced often.

With a sad heart,
Brenda Hyde

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Setting Fire to the Kitchen

If you have multiple children, you understand when I say that for the past 42 years I really haven't cooked – I have provided filler food for the masses.

Especially when my son was growing up.  Benjamin could eat 24/7 and still be hungry. Every meal I made sure there was something like pasta, potatoes or heavy starches to fill up his stomach.  His idea of a snack was a box of cereal and a gallon of milk.

After the kids were grown, Doug and I became “empty nesters” however we both had jobs that required long hours.  We did a lot of grilling and eating very light dinners.

I just have not cooked much over the years.

The last two weeks have been eye opening for me as well as a challenge.  My goal was to learn how to cook enjoyable, healthy as well as tasty meals.  I think if you were to ask Doug, he would tell you I am succeeding.

However the management of our building must think I am a terrible cook.  I have set off the fire alarm in the building twice.

Yes, I set off the fire alarm.

It was not because we had a fire.  It was because I did not turn on the exhaust fan fast enough.  Remember I am learning.

Putting together the ingredients. 
Here is our first course last night, Mango Gazpacho.  It was great.  And, it was not hard to prepare.

For those of you that are really good cooks please don’t send me a message that says, “Well, Brenda, of course it was easy.  I have made it several times and it is one of my easiest recipes.”  You will burst my bubble.

I am trying really hard!

For the first time in my life, a few nights ago I cooked fish that was slightly crispy and tasted wonderful. When I gushed about my achievement to my best friend, she told me she cooked with that recipe all the time.  It was easy.  Oh well, so much for a world changing achievement . . .
Finished soup.
It may be easy for her but it was a milestone for me.  I only hope someday it is a common occurrence for me. I have always envied her cooking.

When I was shopping for the ingredients for my Mango Gazpacho, I found 9 varieties of mangoes in the store. NINE!  Amazing.

I wasn’t sure which one would be the best tasting so I went with the prettiest, Tutapuri from India.  It was great. Doug said it tasted more like dessert than soup.  Oh well, it was refreshing and went really well with our salmon covered with brown sugar glaze.

Here are a few of the mangos in the grocery store.  The selection is very multicultural. Hint: the flag on the price sign tells you the country of origin.

If you have a great recipe, please send it.  I am running out of things to try.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Thanks for Ikea

We are setting up our flat and trying to make it comfortable since we are probably going to be here a few years.  Our building is managed by the Ritz Carlton Resort so it is like a hotel.  The rooms are furnished but basically like a hotel.

There is another executive with Jacobs also living in our building.  Sam arrived in Bahrain after I did so he is also just now setting up his flat.  His wife, Diana is not here yet so he is on his own.

Sam and Doug decided there were a few pieces of furniture they wanted.  I have done some research, and there really was nothing like what they wanted available in Bahrain.  The grocery stores resemble a super Target and that is your only general store. However the goods in these stores are made very cheaply. Everything here seems to be from China.

Sam said they should go to Ikea.

Guess what?

There is an Ikea in Saudi Arabia.  But there is not one in Bahrain.

Here is the front and back of the bag from Ikea.

I can't go to Saudi Arabia. I don't have a visa yet. Not sure I want to get a visa as it is a long process and you have to live there for a week. Doug went through the process because he is working there, but I might try to avoid it.

So for the Ikea shopping trip Doug and Sam were on their own. They came home with some cabinets, file drawers and laundry baskets. Doug even picked up some silverware for the kitchen that is great. Sam purchased some hot pads that I love. I might have to send Doug back for some.

Success.  A little bit of Sweden in the Middle East!


Friday, June 20, 2014

The BEST Is Finished

It is Saturday in Manama, Bahrain.  And, it just turned Saturday in Washington, DC.

Yesterday was the “go to print” day for the July issue of FAMILY Magazine.  It was a bittersweet day for me.

I stayed up late last night just in case the crew at FAMILY needed me in the final hours of producing the July issue - the first one without me.

The call never came and I was both sad and happy.

On the one hand, I am very excited that my (oops – not mine anymore) staff finished the first month without me.  However, on the other side I feel sad that they did finish without me and I am completely “retired” from publishing.

I really do have mixed feelings about this.

What you don’t know is that July is the hardest issue to produce in any year. The staff at FAMILY Magazine did a stand up job for July being able to complete it on their own!

The reason July is so hard is that it is our (oops – again not ours but theirs) Best for Families survey results.  The July magazine in print is picked up faster, kept longer and requested more than any other issue.  Online, the survey is one of the most popular pages.

Real estate agents use the print magazine in their relocation packets all year long because it is full of great information for families relocating to the Washington area.  It is simply the BEST issue we (oops – they) produce.

The survey runs earlier in the year in print and online. Parents submit their nominations. The votes are counted and then in July, the results are announced. Lori Collett has been counting the votes for Best for Families for over 10 years.  It is a huge job that starts in March and continues all the way up until the last week before the magazine goes to print.

In the print issue, the nominees and winners receive a medallion signifying they have been voted “Best for Families.” Making sure those medallions are correctly applied is also a huge undertaking.  The staff proofs the placement of the medallions numerous times to make sure the recognition is correct.

Here is a link to last year’s July “Best for Families” issue.

Online there is an entire library of past issues of FAMILY Magazine.  If you go to the archives, be sure to look at the cover of the May 2014 issue.  It is a collage of my family growing up including a baby picture of my husband.

The FAMILY Archives.
Check out my family growing up on the cover of May 2014.

The July issue was also finished without our #1 salesman, Jim Haiz.

Jim also retired late this month.  I was extremely disappointed to not be there when Jim left.  He has been with FAMILY Magazine for over 14 years.  He was my “go to” sales person who always knew exactly how to help an advertiser achieve their goals.  His clients loved him, we all loved working with him.  He is already greatly missed.

I know Jim is very close to his grandchildren and I hope he enjoys their sporting events and school concerts even more now that he has free time.  FAMILY Magazine won’t be the same without him and I am proud to be his friend. I had to mention his retirement in my blog.

Now the July issue of FAMILY Magazine is off to the printer to be put onto paper.  It is digital history.

And, inside July is my goodbye letter.  I hope you will pick up a copy and think of me.

Growing FAMILY Magazine was fun and I have some fantastic memories.  My own children grew up along side FAMILY Magazine.

Stay tuned – I have some shocking and exciting personal news I want to share with you.  But I am saving that for another blog!



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Cher Wannabe?

Am I a Cher wannabe?

For two days now I have been comparing myself to Cher.  If you are a reader of FAMILY Magazine, you might not know who Cher is, but for those of you that are closer to my generation, Sonny and Cher were a big celebrity couple in the 60's.

Once, not too long ago my husband and I were watching television and Cher came on.  She looked great.  I was shocked.  After all, she is older than I am but she had the body of a 30 year old and skin to match.  She was in a great shape and not a wrinkle on her face or neck. 

You know the neck gives away your age.  Watch some women newscasters who seem to have flawless skin. Look at their neck.  It will give away their age and show if they have had work done to their face.  It is much harder to fix your neck. (Just a little womanly advice to all the young women out there – use sunscreen on your neck and you will look much younger when you are older…)

Cher looked great and I was really surprised.  However, my ever aware husband said, “What do you expect?  Her total full time job is to look great. If you had all the money in the world and all you had to do is make yourself look great, you could look as good as she does.”

I had not thought about it before, but looking good was probably the one thing she worked at the most.

So I have been trying to act like Cher.  I am working on looking good.  LOL

Really, LOL. 

For the first time in 45 years, I don’t have a job, or children to manage and I am not running a company.  I really have very little to do but look good, and cook healthy food for my fantastic husband.

Please don’t be jealous.  I really have worked hard for 45 years.  I have never been a lady of leisure.  And, I don’t intend to not have goals. I might even start another company. However right now, I am not doing much but acting like Cher.

Doug and I have a routine.  Up at 4:55 AM.  We hit the gym together for 45 minutes then Doug showers and I cook him a hot breakfast.  He is off to work at 6:30 and I go back to the gym.  I lift weights or do crunches.  Then I lay in the hot tub for a while, and then by the pool for a little longer.  Back to the flat for a shower and moisturizer on my face and body.  Ah, it is a good life.

Doug is not home for dinner until 7 or 8 so I have plenty of time to plan a good dinner, shop for fresh food and write this blog. 

Our flat is associated with the Ritz so we have a membership in their health club.  Here is a photo of the “point” where I walk every morning. It is like going on vacation while I am exercising. 

The indoor pool is great for swimming laps. The weight room is huge and has everything I need for my short routine with free weights.  Although, sometimes there are real weight lifters working out as well.  I try to stay out of their way.  I can lift weights and watch the boats in the marina or waves hit the rocks beyond the beach area.  It really is fantastic.

Our building is the beige and tan building to the
 left of the blue cylinder-like building.
This photo also shows the beach for the Ritz.
After my workout (the second one -- without Doug) I always grab an apple from the front desk and head to the outdoor whirlpool.  I can sit in the bubbles and let my muscles relax.  The pool guys already know my routine and have my chair (in the shade) set up with towels so I can sit and cool off.  If I am really hot, there is a chilled pool where I can swim a few laps before hitting the whirlpool. Yes, you heard me correctly, a chilled pool.  Shocking but extremely refreshing when the temperature is over 110 degrees.

The locker rooms are marble and chrome – just beautiful by themselves. 

I am hoping all of this health club work will payoff with improved muscles.  I won’t be doing any cosmetic alterations (cosmetic surgery is very big in the Middle East – who would have thought?) but I am only going to work on getting in shape naturally.

While I crunch down on my apple at the whirlpool, I have started to think . . . what company could I start?  Anyone have any ideas?



Sunday, June 15, 2014

World Cup with a Job Offer

We have stepped out on the town!  For our first social event we attended a party for the launch of the World Cup.  GREAT FUN!!

The World Cup is a big deal here.  Of course, they call it football and that takes some adjusting on my part.

I grew up in Oklahoma where “football” is completely different than the “football” they have here.  I call it soccer.  But when in Rome do as the Romans do….

The launch party was held on the outdoor patio of the Ritz Carlton Resort, which is just across the street from our building.  We have memberships in the health club at the Ritz so we are over there every morning at 5AM for a workout.  It is a beautiful facility and a workout there is almost like going on vacation.  I will blog about that later for sure.

The World Cup Launch party was quite the affair.  Everyone here likes to dress up so lots of high heels were worn and many team shirts.  The Ritz even lit the outside of the building in Brazilian colors.  That was very impressive.

There was a massive (and wonderful!!!)  Brazil themed buffet with Brazilian beers.  It was great and I was still stuffed the following morning.

The hotel had several outdoor big screens set up so you could see the happenings from almost every seat.  I guess there were over 300 people there and the entire outdoor patio was covered with dining tables. The event was pictured the follow day in the local newspaper. It appears we were part of the “in” crowd.

A local couple joined us at our table.  The young woman asked what I did and I told her I had just retired from publishing a parenting magazine.  She became very excited and told me that I should definitely start one on the island (that is how the locals refer to Bahrain – The Island).  She felt strongly that a publication focused on raising children was needed.

No, I am not starting a parenting publication in Bahrain.  For one thing, they have a woman’s magazine that has a section on parenting.  I loved publishing for 24 years but for now I just want to relax and enjoy life. I want the freedom to come and go as I please so I can visit the States and my children at any time!

Since we start our day at 5AM, we turned in early. I had to see the results of the game in the morning paper.  But it was a fun event and exciting to do something so completely different.  I might have to become a “football” fan.


Dessert anyone?  Yummm!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The End of the First Week

I made it through the first week.

Although I have been really busy (or it seems) I feel guilty that I am not working very hard.  Poor Doug is putting in 12 and 14 hour days with a 1 hour commute to and from Saudi Arabia.  And, when he arrives home for dinner, it is an experiment as I am just now learning how to cook for adults after 30 years of cooking for kids.

The groceries here are not quite the same and the kitchen is definitely not equipped with the type of tools I am used to.  On top of those things, I am not a good cook.  I never have been.
We have a large kitchen but without a lot of "tools."
Luckily Doug does not have a strong interest in a fancy dinner with gourmet delights.  He is a basic sort of guy who just needs food to fuel his body. He would rather have a grilled steak and baked potato than any other meal.

However, I promised myself that after we moved to the ME I would learn to cook good, healthy foods for us since I would have more time to do that sort of thing.

First, I researched recipes on the Internet. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring mine – they are coming in our air shipment – 2 months from now! I found several interesting salad recipes and a few main dishes.

Second, I took a taxi to the grocery store.  Doug takes our one car to work each day right now and it will be a week or so before I will have a car to drive.

The grocery store is sort of a Super Target – groceries and lots of household items including TVs and some clothing.  It is quite the experience.  In order to have a cart to use, you need to deposit a coin in the handle bar that releases a lock that keeps the card attached to the other carts.  If you don’t have the right coin, you don’t get a cart.  I learned this the hard way.

With my ingredient list for my recipes in hand, I ventured into the grocery store.  I found most of what I needed although it was a struggle sometimes as most of the labels are in Arabic.  Sometimes I needed to look at the instructions on the back of the labeling to determine if the product was what I needed.  Many times there were several choices and I had to decide which one might be the best one.

I came across oatmeal.  I picked some up as I thought it might come in handy for cookies or weekend breakfasts.  Actually I purchased it because my grandson loves oatmeal and I thought it might give me something to talk to him about.

There were 7 choices for oatmeal.  Back in Virginia, I was lucky if there were 2 choices.
However many things were not as easy to find.  I wanted some honey for a couple of my recipes.  I searched 3 stores before I found honey.

When I went to choose salt, there was an entire aisle filled with varieties of salt.  However, I did not find any non-stick spray or laundry pretreating spray.  And, diet tonic?  Don’t even think about it.  The choices for soda and soft drinks are limited to Pepsi products. I finally found a few cans of Coke Zero.

With groceries in the pantry, I am now focusing on adding some personal touches to our flat.  The goods in the grocery store were not going to cut it for me.  So I kept looking.  And, guess what I discovered?  A Pottery Barn Store.  Yipee!!!

Now that I have Pottery Barn and enough food ingredients to keep me challenged for another week, I think I am doing pretty good.  Tomorrow we have dinner invitation and I have to worry about what to wear.  That is another story for another day.



The moon over Manama as seen from our balcony.

What day is it?

Thursday is Friday.
Friday is Sunday.
Saturday is  - oh yes, Saturday.

The weekend is different here.  Friday is the religious day of the week and Saturday is the day off.  So this makes Thursday the end of the work week and Sunday the beginning of the work week.

And, to make life more complex, I have to think about the time difference when I am talking to anyone out side of this area.

Are you confused yet?

I am not sure what day it is myself. I think it is Tuesday as I write this.  Hopefully I will get it posted soon.....

They are building more land (pulling up sand) in the view of our living room windows.

Right now I am doing a bit to help my office get ready for the most popular issue of the year, the Best For Families issue.  I have sent Britni and Steven all my notes and some tips on how to make it easier.

Every year for the last 23 years, I have worked extra hard in June to make sure that the July magazine – our Best for Families Survey Results – was the best it could be.  This year, I am not in control and I can only offer my assistance.

Since I have only been gone for 2 weeks, I know my staff (my old staff :-() is probably really stressed out over the July magazine.  It pains me to think about them and how hard this first issue “without Brenda” is going to be.  And, to make it worse, it is the hardest issue of the year because of the Best for Families survey results.  I just keep telling myself, there was never an easy time to leave.  They would have to go through the pains of doing it without me no matter when I left.

I was thinking about FAMILY Magazine this morning and realized I needed to move on and stop worrying about them so much.  So I changed the time on my watch.

Sunrise looking off our patio.
I know that sounds silly, but I had left the time set to DC time so I could easily look down on my wrist and know what time it was “back there.”  So I stopped, took off my watch, pulled out the button and wound the hands.  And, as the hands moved around taking up the 7 hours of difference, I actually thought I could feel a change.

Now I am on ME time.  I am 100% here with Doug.  Time has moved on.



More of Manama as seen from our balcony.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pinch me. Am I dreaming?

I find it hard to believe that I am really here in the Middle East, that I sold my company and I put all my worldly belongings into storage for an adventure of two years or more.  It’s almost an out of body experience.

Early this morning I looked out the living room windows of the flat (condos are called flats here – I am trying to adopt the language) at a fantastic sunrise and pinched myself to make sure it was real.

I only have two nights under my belt, but so far I seem to be avoiding jet lag.  There is a 7 hour time difference and I have slept through the night both nights.  Doug is impressed.  I am shocked.

I have only had a couple of notes from my old staff at FAMILY Magazine back in Virginia.  Nothing major but I feel like they are not asking me what they really need to know.  I keep worrying about them!

Watching a fantastic red sunrise and sipping hot coffee, we plan the first day of fun.  It is Saturday.  However, in the ME, Friday is the religious day of the week and Saturday is the day you relax and do something pleasurable.  We plan a trip to the Manama Souq for fun.  Souq means an open-air market place.  The Manama Souq has many, many streets lined with shops.

When Doug has been in the ME before, he went to the gold Souq in Saudi Arabia and purchased a gold ankle bracelet for me.  Today we are going to a Souq that has a myriad of types of stores.  It is a very strange place.  Row after row of vendors that often are selling the very same merchandise.

When we arrive, l laugh because the very first place we see is a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet.  There is a Hardee's restaurant, Papa John’s and Dairy Queen.  The western world has found it’s way around the globe.


Spices and grains.

The fabrics are fascinating.  I wish I could think of a great use for some of the fabrics.  Maybe I will have a dress made before I leave.

The only purchase I make is a set of 5 bowls that I call the camel bowels. I ask a clerk the price for 4. The merchant (his boss) says they are only sold in groups of 5.  And, the price he quotes me is less than the price originally quoted by the clerk for only 4 bowls.  Ok, I will take the 5 at the lower price. I am a visitor in a strange land, and I won't ask questions.

I think they are adorable and an item I want to take home with me when we leave.  Doug thinks they are silly.  The shopkeeper assures me they are dishwasher and microwave safe.  I am already thinking of going back to buy a bigger camel bowl and making it a salad bowl set.  Doug is not sure it is a safe place for me to go alone or to go alone with another woman.  I guess I will have to drag him out again.

My first shopping experience in Bahrain is a success.  I am not surprised.  Shopping is something I do well.  Maybe another trip to the gold Souq is something I should put on Doug’s calendar.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Turkey Sausage - June 4 & 5, 2014

I am off to the other side of the planet.  The Middle East, ME for short.

    My last lunch with my friend and her granddaughter.

Here is the view out my car window as i drove away from my house.

My departure from Washington through the Dulles airport was busy and of course, emotional.

My wonderful husband used one of his Global upgrades to have my seat upgraded to Business class.

You may not know this about me.  I hate being late to the airport.  I want to be early enough that I can sit and read a couple of chapters in a book before they start the boarding process.  This way I can make sure I am at the right gate and prepared for boarding.

My elevated status into business class gave me access to the United lounge so I planned my arrival at the airport early so I could Skype from the United lounge with my parents, my children and grandchildren.

I planned to close up the house (it is ready for the people who have leased it), drive Doug’s car over to the consignment car lot where it is going to be sold and still arrive at the airport in time to Skype with my parents, my children and grandchildren.

Two of my children are not happy about my adventure.  After arriving in the United lounge, talking to them was painful.  I know they will adjust, but right now they just don’t want to be that far away from me.  However, Skype is great.  Doug and I have been calling each other every day (sometimes twice a day) by Skype for the last 3 weeks. When you can see someone’s eyes when they are talking, you communicate so much better.  Other than not physically touching, Doug and I had great conversations every evening just like we have when we are together.  These conversations made the separation tolerable.

I am right on target and just as I finish talking to my granddaughter, they call my flight and I am off to the other side of the world.

The seat on the airplane was the best I have ever had.  My area is large to begin with and in the end, no one sits next to me so I have 2 areas for myself.  There is a nice dinner, good movies and hot fudge sundaes to top off the evening.  After I finish the last bite of the sweet chocolate with whipped cream, the lights go down, my seat reclines completely to a flat bed and I actually sleep for almost 7 hours.  I don’t even sleep that long in my own bed.  However, I think I only had 2 hours of sleep the night before so I am sure I was very tired.

When I wake the next morning and cleaned up, breakfast is served -- omelets and turkey sausage. I eat while I watch another movie, Captain America.  Turkey sausage is something I am going to have to get used to.  There is no pork or ham in the ME. In fact, I need to find some books and study ME culture.  I want to be courteous and respectful while I am staying in someone else’s country.  The last thing I would want to be is a pushy, bossy American.

As the flight is finishing up, I start reading a book my granddaughter recommended, Divergent. And, while I sit there reading I become paranoid about the book jacket showing the neck of a young girl. Pictures of women in provocative posses are forbidden in the ME.  You need to wear long pants or skirts below the knee as well as long sleeves or ¾ sleeves.  Several other wives of ME executives have already prepped me on this.  So as I read, I carefully keep the picture covered up with my hand.  Thinking this way is something I need to start doing as a second nature.

Finally after 14 hours, our wheels touch down in Manama, Bahrain.  It is night and very dark outside so I have no idea what the area looks like.  I am processed through passport control and I head to the duty free shop.  Doug has requested 2 bottles of liquor.  It is very expensive to buy spirits in Bahrain and everyone from the flight is lining up in the duty free shop.  As I am standing in line, I realize I am the only woman in the store.  Oh well, that is something I will also have to get used to.

After a long wait for luggage, I push my 4 big pieces of luggage, my carry on cases and my bag from the duty free shop out the arrival gates.  I must look pretty strange.  There in the crowd is Doug waiting patiently.  Wow, does he look good in person.  Maybe I don’t like that Skype as much as I thought I did.  There is a lot to be said for hugging and kissing!

They have decorated camels at the airport!



This was taken the next morning on our balcony located on the east side of our flat in the Al-Seef District of Manama, Bahrain.

I hope you enjoy the photos.  I will try to include some on every blog.