I’d secretly love to catch a glimpse into life in Saudi Arabia, but with my big mouth and liberal leanings, this is probably as close as I’m going to get — the King Fahd Causeway linking Saudi Arabia with Bahrain.
For a mere 2 Bahraini dinars (about 5 bucks) anyone with access to a car and an ounce of curiosity can make their way to what’s dubbed Passport Island, the man-made no-man’s land that acts as border control for truckers, sheiks, day-trippers, and looky-loos like me.
If you don’t have access to a car, Uber is now operating in Manama. Uber does offer a promotion for new riders — sign up for Uber service and receive up to €10 off your first ride using the promo code RAYMONDW62
The big draw here at the halfway point of the 25km causeway is the observation deck at the tower restaurant. There’s an exact replica of the tower on the Saudi side too — presumably so Saudi men can get a gander at Bahraini women riding bikes, driving cars, and other activities only fit for infidels.
Regarding the ban of Saudi women driving cars, I found this handy list of reasons outlining exactly why the ban is in place, compliments of Wikipedia:
- Driving a car involves uncovering the face. (one would hope)
- Driving a car may lead women to go out of the house more often. (or they could just drive around the house)
- Driving a car may lead women to have interaction with non-mahram males, for example at traffic accidents. (a “non-mahram” is any male who isn’t a close relative)
- Women driving cars may lead to overcrowding the streets and many young men may be deprived of the opportunity to drive. (oh the humanity, we wouldn’t want to deprive anyone now would we?)
- Driving would be the first step in an erosion of traditional values, such as gender segregation. (yes because where there are women drivers, the gays can’t be far behind)
But I digress.
Saudi madness notwithstanding, I still wanted to get a peek at it. And the smiley chap above was more than happy to take my 200 fils (about 50 cents) to help me do it.
This is what you get for your 50 cents — a hazy view through windows in desperate need of Windex.
If you squint, you can actually see the outline of buildings on the other side. And if the breeze works in your favour, you’ll also catch the slightest whiff of oil money and human rights violations wafting across the Gulf.
To read more about the chap who brought Saudi Arabia into the “modern” world and created the oil powerhouse, check out Ibn Saud: The Desert Warrior Who Created the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Turns out the better view was back towards Bahrain.
It’s probably the better place to be anyway. Let’s make that DEFINITELY the better place to be.
I tooled around Bahrain in a rental car from CarRentals.co.uk who obviously offer car rentals outside of the UK as well.
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