14 June 2007


These images are from plans to reclaim vast amounts of land from the Persian Gulf to create exclusive private communities in Bahrain. Places like this already exist in Dubai.

I used to go to a Whites Only beach in Bahrain. The Sheikh's Beach it was called. Actually, it wasn't Whites Only it was No Natives, particularly no Muslims, but that pretty much extended to Whites Only with a few Japanese and Filipino people allowed in. It was a stunning beach with a palace (one of the Emir's many) and beautiful lawns before the sand. Date palms and a swimming pool. There was free soda also. The Emir would entertain, scantily clad Scandinavian women while we frolicked in the salty Persian Gulf. It was free but guarded by 'Public Security' bearing rifles. The only rule was you couldn't bring in a camera. I hitchhiked to the Sheikh's Beach once and was trying to hitchhike a ride home, when the Emir, Sheikh Isa Bin Sulman AlKhalifa (who has since died) saw me and asked me what I was doing and if I liked his country.

'Of course.' I replied.

He asked if I was waiting for a taxi.

'No I don't have any money on me.'

Then he summoned one of the gardeners to give me a few friends a ride home. I think that was one of the last times I went there. A year or so later I returned to Bahrain and the streets were in riotous uproar due to a variety socio/political/religious factors. The beach had been shut down in consequence. As disgusted as I am that I used to go, it was the done thing amongst expats and I think it contributed significantly to my political awakening.

More about this in foulweather #2