One of the tourist attractions of Bahrain is an island called Hawar, somewhere far from the mainland in the ocean. I was planning for quite sometime to visit this island but nothing worked out and literally, I shelved the idea of visiting it. Now, some friends approached me with the plan yet again and we were waiting for the right time. The past couple of weeks were lost either because the climate is too cold or because of the lack of funds. Finally, everything was set right this weekend and we were all eager to visit the island. We booked ourselves for an over-night stay on the island which means that we will stay from the afternoon of Thursday to the afternoon of Friday.
The campaigners were myself, Pavan, Siva Nag, Sivanand, Jagadeesh and Haardick. The D-day has come and we are supposed to reach the Al-Dur jetty from where a ship is supposed to take us to the island. Reaching here made me lose my brains as my cab driver who was supposed to meet me at my office by 12 15PM didn’t show up till 1 20 PM because of traffic jam and we lost way a couple of time. Somehow, we reached the place before the scheduled time. A speedboat took us to the island and the journey in the ocean was about 45 minutes. It was fun to ride on the rough sea waters as this is my first ride on sea waters (on my last vacation to India, I went into the ocean on a fisherman’s boat but that round trip was just for about 10 minutes).
The island looked great on the first look and we were very enthusiastic to explore it and its beaches. Sadly, the beach is not that good and immediately we went to the swimming pool and cooled ourselves there. I never knew swimming, so most of my time was spent either lying in the water or taking photographs of others. We spent around an hour there and then looking for a good space where we can play cricket for a while. We somehow zeroed on one place and started playing there. But in the middle of the game, we were told that sports are not allowed there and we can play cricket at some court which even has flood lights. What else do we want (the light already started to fade off)??? We were also told that there many adventure sports but they’ll not be open till the next morning and that the area was called “Activity Centre”. So we went to the tennis court cum cricket ground and started playing there till 6 45PM. It was fun.
We retuned then to respective rooms and showered up. We were told that dinner will be served from 7 30PM to 9 30PM and the bar will be open till midnight. Some of us wanted to visit the bar but we decided against that as we might show up late for dinner because of drinks. So we went for dinner(and planned to visit the bar late in the night) and were treated with a delicious inter-continental treat. The dinner included some exotic dishes like roasted squids in oyster sauce, lamb leg in mint sauce, Turkish chicken etc. So we ended up taking a heavy dinner. Who can drink after a heavy meal?? At least, I cannot. We visited the gift shop and bought a pack of cards and started playing till 11PM. I won the game but as usual, no one paid me anything!!!!
The next day’s plan was to finish the breakfast session as soon as we can and hit the activity centre. I got up first around 6 45 AM and showered off. We went for breakfast around 7 45 AM and had a very heavy one once again. We somehow reached the so called Activity Centre but were taken back after seeing the price list. A jet-ski costs you 9 BD(around 25 USD) and I don’t even know how to ride it.
There were a lot of options for us to choose from the list. Some of them are jet-skis, beach buggies, bicycles and bikes(thank God, I didn’t chose a bike as I later saw that the bike is none other than our own Indian-made TVS scooty). I was a big adventure sport buff and here are the two machines(beach buggy, jet-ski) which I’ll give a try for everything in the world. Everyone is worried about the bucks involved in the so-called activities but three of us, Pavan, Siva Nag and myself made up our minds to give everything a shot. I initiated the activities by opting for a beach buggy. The one I got was a bit malfunctioning as the handle is dragging me towards the right side. The guy in-charge was telling that the machine was fine and it was me who’s screwing it up. I revolted and he gave me another one which was fine enough. I immediately got into the mood and my adrenalin started filling up. I was leading the way while Pavan got into the rhythm of the machine soon enough. We both were enjoying our time while Siva Nag was having a hard time controlling his machine as the terrain is pretty rough. By the end of the scheduled time, everyone is fully charged up and waiting for the next round of fun. We had a good photo session on the buggies and then headed to the booking counter once again.
This time, we chose the jet-ski but we were all pretty scared inside as none of us who enrolled to ride the jet-ski knew swimming (one guy knows swimming but he can’t swim for long). Each one of us was building in others but he was scared inside. It was decided that Siva Nag and Haardick will ride one jet-ski while Pavan and myself will ride the other. We were told the instructions and basic security measures. First, Siva Nag and Haardick took off with Siva Nag at the helm while our jet-ski started after a couple of minutes with Pavan at the helm. While trying to cross the reef(so as to enter into the open ocean), Siva Nag crashed into the rocks but thankfully, at a small pace. So nothing happened to the machine and the instructor helped them to get back into waters. By this time, Haardick lost all his courage and asked us to ride his ski while he shifts to ours. So the pairs changed to Pavan and Siva Nag(Pavan was driving this time) and me and Haardick with me driving the jet-ski.
I was pretty scared as soon as we entered the rough waters but my courage took over as we were wearing life jackets and there some fishermen at the reef. Soon, me and Haardick were having a blast on the waters and we rounded up all the small islands(Hawar is actually a group of islands scattered everywhere and most of these islands are less than 5 diameter) in no time. I asked Haardick whether we should interchange our seats so that he can steer for sometime. He replied that he’s scared to do ride the bike in shallow waters and will drive in the reef itself. So just before our due time, we reached the reef and interchanged our seats and made a couple of rounds and while parking the jet-ski, I took over and made a perfect parking. Then we had a photo-session even there and got back to the booking centre trying to decide what to do next as the time’s flying by fast. We then decided to cool off in the pool and took tickets for everyone for the water-slide. Wow, it was fun as I never slid on a water slide this big, before. We slid for 3 or 4 times each and then hit the pool. We had a funny photo session there too and we were back in our rooms and got ready soon enough as we were told to check out before lunch.
We checked out soon enough and hit the restaurant for lunch. The lunch seemed to be purely Indian with loads of mutton biriyani, Chicken curry, minced meat and some other vegetarian curries. We finished just in time to catch the bus to the jetty and reached the boat soon enough. During our ride back to the Al-Dur jetty, everyone seemed pretty sad as if were leaving a dear one and wished for our next trip soon. Adeos, Hawar. We’ll be back soon.
Wait wait, the trip’s not finished yet. We booked a bus from the hotel itself that’s scheduled to drop us at the Hawar reservation counter from the Al-Dur jetty. This counter’s far from any of our flats. So as soon as we got into the bus, we pleaded the driver to drop us at our respective flats. But the guy was adamant and said that his job will be risk if anyone finds this out. We pleaded again and he rejected again. This went on for sometime. Then I asked him in Hindi: “Brother, where are you from, in India”. He replied that he’s from Andhra. Spontaneously, everyone started the following in a chorus:
“Anna, nuvve alaa antey inkevaru maa bhaadha vintaaru? Dhaya chesi mammalni dimpei”(Brother, who’ll understand our plight if you say like this? Please drop us). Now our guy started thinking and he dropped us silently at our place.
So this is how our first big trip in Bahrain took place.