Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Bahrain Blues

For an enhanced experience, listen to this piece while reading the post below.

Sometimes it feels that things have changed when they really haven't. It’s still the same smokey foreground down at the shore, you were just away from its pungent, sweage-ridden aroma for a good while. On the other side of the island, the faithful continued to wail over a long-lost martyr, but you stopped believing in the old legends. Meanwhile, reality lay in the form of prostitutes loitering the length of Exhibitions Avenue, and they have only become younger and pricier, peddling pennies from patrons boasting hefty amounts of disposable income; the would-be johns usually hail from Saudi Arabia, where deprivation is rampant and money flows incessantly.

To Dishdasha, the only half-decent spots in that stretch of road were the National Bookshop, where she spent a good deal of her younger years perusing a multitude of titles—many of which were prohibited in her home nation—and the Kudu breakfast joint where she enjoyed pancakes and scrambled eggs without having to endure the sight of a thick wall segregating her from single-male citizens. Alas, that branch ceased to exist in recent years, and along with it, the memories.

That evening, she puffed clouds of smoke outside of the Hard Rock Cafe, a once-popular bastion of booze-hounding and New-Year’s-Eve parties. The customer base waned substantially, and was now limited to the few souls making the pilgrimage to nurse a drink and reminisce about better days; an ode to a dying franchise. Dishdasha was due back inside, though she preferred it out there in the street. The mixture of aromas and sounds transported her to another dimension. Too goddamn cold to stay out here any longer.