Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lost Safety Moment

There was excitement today.  Early this morning a note was slipped under the door to our flat while I was in the shower.  A package had arrived and was waiting to be picked up.

However the note did not tell me where to pick it up, just a note from the EMS Center.

What is an EMS center?
Where is an EMS center?

I have a couple of resources in Bahrain and I asked them about the note and where the correct EMS might be.  The only thing they could tell me was to go to the Muharraq Post Office.  Neither one of them could tell me an address. Addresses are not used a great deal in Bahrain.

After some searching on the internet, I found a description for the what appeared to be the Muharraq Post Office and I felt pretty confident I could drive there.  Muharraq is just over a short causeway from Manama close to the airport.
Our flat is located in the far left area where it says "Ritz."  Muharraq is in the centre of the map.

Over a week ago, my first driving experience (beyond 2 blocks to the grocery store which is a piece of cake) was to drive home from the airport after dropping Doug off for a business trip. It was a straight shot down the highway and around a couple of traffic circles.  On the way home I had no problems at all.

I will have to admit the first traffic circle looked different coming from the other side as I drove home. Luckily I choose the correct road to take off the circle and then straight home...no problem.

There are traffic circles all over the place.

Confident I could find the post office and manned with my GPS on my phone, a map of Muharraq and my note indicating there was a package for me, I headed off to Muharraq.
Nothing has an address here.  All you have are street numbers and block information.  BUT, there are no signs on the streets or buildings with this information so you can't actually find something based on the street number or block information.  ARGGGHHH!

I arrived where my GPS indicated the location to be and it definitely was not an EMS center. I was in the middle of a residential neighbourhood.  I cleared the map from my search and created a new search for just "Muharraq Post Office."


So I headed to the other side of Muharraq.  As I neared my destination (according to the voice on the phone) my phone beeped and said my battery was low.

Did I bring my charger cord for the car? Of course not.  It had crossed my mind, but in my excitement I had forgotten it.

I rounded the corner and my GPS said, "Your destination is on the right."  And, my phone went dead.

Here is my safety moment to share with you.  Never leave home without your car charger no matter how charged up your cell phone is.  NEVER!

Great, here I was in the middle of a busy street, nothing that looked like a post office and no directions.  So, I parked my car.  Making sure I had my note and my passport, I got out of the car and looked around.  There seemed to be a very busy area with buses and a large number of workers.  The traffic was very heavy and the building beyond looked rather "institutional" so I headed that way.

Many business on this street.

Here is where I parked.
     I was very lucky.  The building turned out to be the post office!  Whewww.

Nice sign but it was on the side of the building facing away from the street.  I could not see it until I was right up on the building.

After a 30 minute wait, my package was handed to me by a customs agent with the instructions, "Open."  I looked at the box and my mind went in circles.  It was from my oldest daughter.  She had told me what she was sending.  Could I get in trouble?  

I remembered that Amy just started an herb garden and she thought it would be nice to send me some fresh herbs.  Of course, she never dreamed it would take 8 weeks.  She also had included cigars, a Father's Day gift for Doug.  I did not think about the fact it would go through customs when she told me she had sent it and I could not remember if these things were contraband. 

I opened the box with my mind still spinning with thoughts.  Four custom agents gathered around my package. Inside the box were numerous small baggies filled with dry plant like material.  

YEP, you guessed it.  This was a problem.

The customs agents examined each bag extremely carefully opening each and every one then closely examining the plant contents.  The cigars did not get a second look.

I must have appeared truthful when I told them my daughter sent me some herbs from her garden.  After a very long and nervous 30 minutes they boxed it all back up and sent me on my way.

Back in my car, I was a bit rattled and I realized I was not completely sure how to get home.  However, a new friend recently told me just to look for the tall buildings that are located in my neighbourhood and head that way.  I looked for downtown Manama and headed that way. It worked, in just a few minutes I was on a  familiar street headed toward Al-Seef District and the safety of home.

Thanks to Amy I definitely had a thrill today.  Life is just one adventure after another one!  (Thanks, Amy!)

Not sure what I will do with the dried herbs, but it sure makes for a great story. 


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