A leisurely start to the day. Breakfast and then a stroll to the Royal Camel Farm. I say stroll, but actually a gallop is needed to get across the dual carriageway without becoming a Bahrainian statistic.
The farm, however, is an oasis of calm. Camels always give off an air of having all the time in the world and a look of disdain for the rest of us hurrying about. They also give off a very profound smell of camel, no doubt very appealing to other camels but less so to the rest of us. Eau de camel is not likely to be in Chanel’s range I fear, although it would be quite expensive as camels rarely give out any ‘l’eau’, preferring to conserve what they have.
The farm belongs to the present king’s brother, I think, whose father was very keen on it and spent a great deal of time here. Camels are a sign of wealth and are bred largely for that reason, although they can be raced and even eaten. We passed down the rows of females and stopped in front of a mother and calf. The young one was 10 days old. Other young camels lay out in the sun.
The males are much bigger and are tethered so that they can see the females who are all behind a fence. This mus5 be rather frustrating for them and may account for the large depressions left in the mud when they get up and move away.
We wandered through the working area of the farm looking at the donkeys and bulls which are used to pull carts. Darshon seemed to know everyone we met, chatting away to them in Hindi. One of them kept a large number of chickens and rabbits as a sideline. His niece, recently back from the Punjab and now studying hard for her exams, joined us for the rest of the morning.
In the distance we could see the king’s palace as we walked through lines of date palms which fringed fields of aubergines and tomatoes. There were a variety of fruit trees including some we didn’t recognise. There were some mango trees but many have died because of the increasing salinity of the water supply. When the piles were being sunk for the King Fahad Causeway the water table was breached and sea water entered. It was a delightful walk with a cooling breeze and butterflies dancing around us.
We arrived home and went for a swim in the compound’s pool which was lovely. The water was cool and refreshing, but shelved to over 2 metres rather quickly. We splashed about at the shallow end then lay out in the sun. By the time we returned to the house Darshon had cooked us a delicious lunch of prorahata with yoghurt and pickle.
We crashed out afterwards and then Christine and I walked to the local shopping mall. We got a bit lost but eventually found our way there, largely courtesy of a drive-through (thru!) McDonalds whose golden arches shone out in the night sky like a carbuncle on the face of an angel. We ascended the escalator and walked in the open air along a parade of shops. It reminded us of Bury St Edmunds as it was mostly coffee shops. However there was a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop and I was dragged in by my dear lady wife and forced to buy a double scoop with extra nuts. Christine, ever diet conscious, went the whole hog and had waffle, cream and caramel sauce. We sat under a waxing moon in the warm night air and stuffed our faces.
Our journey home was quicker thank goodness and we had a brief rest before dinner and then sat and chatted for the rest of the evening. Just as well…..a busy day tomorrow.