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A Day at the Hilton

We spend a day at the Hilton Hotel, Bahrain – January 1999.
This follows on from There’s a Signage Fault that described how we were waiting in Bahrain airport after our aeroplane had broken down, and an announcement said we would be taken to a hotel for the day.
We would be taken to a hotel until 7.30pm local time. It was now 11am. We joined a queue, which moved barely at all because midday prayers had just been announced over the PA system.
At last, some sleep.
Eventually prayers finished and a string of buses arrived to ferry us through the clean skyscrapered streets, while we watched men with tea-towels on their head and black-clad women in their Japanese cars with curtains at the rear window.
Into the Hilton Hotel where we were given a room and told that lunch, free, would be at 2.30 in the banqueting room. It was now about 1pm.
We went immediately to bed and fell fast asleep. We had been needing some sleep for at least the past twelve hours and had so far been failing to find any. Now at last we could.
Oriental Platter, Dinner at Eight.
5pm, we got up feeling a little hungry and went downstairs to see what was going on.
Our pick-up time had been put back to 9.30 and dinner, free, would be available in the banqueting room at 8.
We went into the hotel café and ordered something called an Oriental Platter. We could have had fish and chips or a steak sandwich, but we thought we might prefer an oriental platter; it consisted of hummus, a hummus-like substance made from aubergine, sometimes called aubergine caviar, and a tabouleh that was predominantly fresh parsley. With a basket of pitta bread, this was fantastic, and we thought that with any luck the aeroplane would get delayed even longer and we could get to know Bahrain better.
After our wonderful meal we went for a walk in the streets. This, we had been told, was not allowed, no doubt because we did not have a visa for Bahrain, but we decided to look invisible. But by now it was dark, cool and windy, so in a town of skyscrapers where everyone seems to drive a car this was not enormously interesting.
We arrived back at the Hilton at about 7.45 and were surprised to find that dinner was already underway. The package tourists had probably been queuing.
Dinner was OK, a buffet of fish, chicken, beef and pasta served from chafing dishes, with various salads. Something for everyone, to excite no one. We discovered by talking to people that lunch had been similar and that most people had had it. Do these package tourists never sleep?
The story continues with Discarded Boxes in the Airport Lounge.


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