Thursday, June 9, 2016

Be Calm and Party On

The ladies of the American Women’s Association (AWA) in Bahrain love to party.

I mean it, PAR–TEE!! With a capital P.

Every month there is a party for all those having a birthday. Then there are lunches celebrating your birthday. Every time someone leaves the Island for a new assignment, there is a party. Any good reason calls for a party. 
Here are the May birthday girls celebrating (my birthday month) at Trader Vic's outdoor cocktail lounge, Mai-Tai. The May Birthday Girls also wore crowns. It was a large group of 30 or 40 AWA members celebrating the birthdays.
BW brought magic wands for us. They were lovely in the dark atmosphere. A very special treat.
This was one of the last parties before DW returned to Texas. We were celebrating our friendship with her as well as my birthday.
This past weekend Hubby D and I were invited to a great party celebrating AWA longtime member CS and her husband MS who are returning to the UK after spending many, many years in Bahrain.  MS taught math in one of the private schools and he is retiring.

You may remember CS because she worked on the AWA 40th Anniversary Book with me.

LW took this photo for me during one of our many long work sessions at my dining table.
We shared many long and late (or early) nights together going over photos and files to complete the 250+ page history of AWA. She was a true pleasure to work with.

CS is also a very talented artist. In fact, she is working on a sunset painting of Bahrain for me. And, I have my fingers crossed she is finished before she leaves Bahrain.

We were very fortunate the party was held just up the street from our flat at the Ramee Grand Hotel. It was on a Friday and the party took place at their Friday Brunch. The Ramee Grand is so close to our flat we could have walked, but it was already 100 degrees (at noon) so we went in the car! It is starting to get hot – and I am not looking forward to that.

They have a fantastic sky view of our area (Al Seef District) from their sushi restaurant. The sushi is good as well. 
We have gone many times to their sports bar for burgers and beer. 
Friday Brunch is a BIG DEAL in the Middle East.  It is like Sunday Brunch in the US on steroids.  Every hotel or restaurant has a Friday Brunch. They are advertised in all the newspapers, magazines and on billboards around town.

There is always a massive spread of food -- just about any food you can imagine eating. You also have a choice of unlimited spirits or just juices. I usually have sparkling wine and Hubby D goes for the beers. The drinks are unlimited so you can imagine how lively the brunch can become.

You may not be able to see it, but there is an ice sculpture of two Arabic knives in the background.
CS at one of the MANY cook to order food stations.
You may recall we celebrated Hubby D’s birthday at the Friday Brunch held at the Hotel Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalasssa Sea and Spa. It is located right on the beach at the Arabian Sea. We think their brunch is the best on the Island.  However, the Ramee Grand was pretty good.

And, it was terrific fun!

There were over 40 people there and everyone was both happy and sad.  Happy because CS and MS are great people and we are happy to say we are their friends. Sad because they are leaving Bahrain.

CS, myself and Hubby D. We were having a great time.

Hubby D and our good friend YW.
I think YW was having more fun than most....The young man in glasses was celebrating his 21st birthday and attending the party with his parents (the other 2 people). Bahrain is very family focused and I thought this was very cute. In YW's defense, he is very good friends with this family.

While we were eating and visiting, the waitress for the Ramee Grand came around with coconut drinks. The juice was ice cold coconut milk, but they also provided a little extra something to add to your drink.

Did I say it was yummy?

For Expats here in Bahrain, leaving is a fact of life. Sooner or later, we all move on.  Some go faster than others, some stay for a good while but we all move on.

Since the Navy base is also located here, I have had the pleasure of knowing many Navy wives (and husbands) and they are used to this rotation. For me it is new. I am not sure I would ever get used to it.

However, there is a good side to this.  Most expats are great at getting settled and getting to know people really fast. They make friends easily and know how to get the most out of the moment. This part of Bahraini life has been so so so sooooo much fun.

Here are the AWA ladies at the party. In AWA you have to get used to a thousand photos. They love to photograph everything and use numerous cameras. I was just as bad handing my phone over to the person taking the photos. :-)
I have been so fortunate to have met some of the best people and had the great pleasure of getting to know them quite well really fast. CS is one of those people.  She is just a really, really nice person. And, a very talented artist.

At the brunch CS gave some of ladies a print of one of her paintings. It was a big surprise to me and I was just absolutely thrilled.

Our prints were a big surprise.  They are beautiful!

The party was finally over, the food all consumed and the party goers worn out. We all drifted back out into the heat and to our homes with fond memories of a grand celebration.

So --  I say a sad goodbye to CS and MS. But I am a lucky person to have known CS and spent time working with her. I will always remember with great fondness all those times and keep the memories close to my heart.

Thank you for your friendship, CS.  I am sure you have some wonderful adventures ahead with your new grandbaby and new life in the UK.


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