cars only, please...
this is definitely not a country for pedestrians... there are virtually no zebra crossings - or better we saw one and no driver care to slow down (let alone stop) to give way to pedestrians. If you decide to walk anywhere be aware that suddenly the pavement you are walking on disappears and you are stuck by the side of a road which looks exactly like a 4 lanes highway, with cars speeding all around you. And in case oyu need to cross, it is not always possible, even if you decide to chance your life and run... because the other side might be fenced off and youv may well have nowhere to go... For instance: our hotel is basically 500 metres from the national museum, but it is impossible to walk there because you would have to cross 4 highways and a road-building site. Disappointing!!!
The roadblocks that were erected by protestors are now largely dismantled, but given that they were made of ordinary materials, it is likely that the barricades could be manned on short notice. By the middle of March, these obstacles were pretty much all over the island and were created by both pro- and anti-government groups. Many were manned by young men armed with make-shift weapons who stopped and searched cars, often harassing passengers of South Asian descent. At night they were menacing, but in the day they often seemed pathetic: many were bloclades of cinderblocks or trashbins. In one area, I saw them made out of dinghies. If you see such blockages, try to turn around and find another route. If you must go through them, try to emphasize that you are a foreigner, and cooperate with the people manning them. Cooperation usually makes them ease up a bit and catches them off their guard.
Military and Police Checkpoints
After the protests, Bahraini military and police set up many checkpoints throughout the island and especially in Manama. These checkpoints have now disappeared from Manama, except for the bridge to the airport, and for the entrance to the airport itself. There are also checkpoints going into Sanabis and towards the north-west of the island. Parts of the interior are also under strict checkpoints: Riffa, Sanad, Dumistan, Karzakan. These are areas that have recurrent protests. There are police presences in other areas, such as Nuwaidrat and Diraz, which also have restive populations. For the most part, people who are obviously foreign will not face problems with police. Nevertheless, if you are travelling outside of Manama after dark, you may still face additional questions and may be turned around by police, if they feel that you have no business being in the area you are driving.
After the collapse of régimes in Egypt and Tunisia, Bahrainis took to the streets to protest what they perceived as inequalities and corruption in their government. While the bulk of opposition protestors were Shi'a complaining of discrimination, there were other parts of Bahraini society represented. At first, the protests were peaceful, then they became violent. A peaceful period ensued, until the tension boiled over and, in mid-March, the Army, Police and forces from the UAE and Saudi Arabia moved in to restore government control over the entirety of the island. It is difficult to tell if a protest will be peaceful for the entirety of the event, or if it will erupt into violence. It is best to avoid such events if you are unable to read the evolution of things, and especially if you would like to avoid potential problems in the future. Of course, if that's what you're looking for, some of them can be party-type atmospheres, with little in the way of inflamatory slogans or violent provocations.
If you can, do not use the white and orange taxis. They will rip you off and charge at least double of what a Radio Meter taxi will charge. The taxis do not have a meter so agree on a price before you start moving....either way you still spend way too much
Avoid large crowds
Bahrain still has a few groups who have problems with americans and israelis. Avoid large groups and protests, your presecnce could be misunderstood and could make for a dangerous situation. Also neighborhoods with black flags hanging out the window arent really good neighbohoods to hang out in due to the high number of shiite activists
laughing too hard while driving
You may be driving along and see an advertisement like this that may cause uncontrollable laughter. Focus on the road!
- Arts and Culture