We Sing, We Dance, We Brunch

In Bahrain you drive on sidewalks and park where you like. You speed up at yellow lights, and indulge your inner road rage. You hear English so often you forget you're in the Middle East; you hire tailors to craft the designer stuff you see while sipping mango juice and paging though fashion magazines. You begin to think it's normal to have a maid, a nanny, a driver, a car-washer, and a dog-walker. You go to parties on floating cities and sip cocktails in four-level homes with tiered balconies and private smoking rooms. Friends invite you to grab drinks at the Ritz Carlton or spend weekends in Dubai and you oblige.

You brunch. For hours at a time, you indulge in champagne, sushi, cheese plates, crepes and cheesecake; giant pink marshmallows and chocolate fondue. Mocha lattes, bruschetta and spicy entrees. You love the artistic district of Adliyah for its trendy restaurants and cafes, and you dine at places like the Movenpick, Sofitel, or the Ramee Grand on a normal weekday. During my six months in the Middle East, I spent more time in restaurants than my entire 27 previous years combined. This is because in Bahrain, it is simply what you do. You go out. You wine, you dine. You smoke. Repeat.

After months of Middle Eastern heat and extravagant eats, I am happy to retreat at last to what I consider the height of comfort - camping and cool weather. Although, as much I crave America, the open road and all the green of the Pacific Northwest, I would be wrong to say there are things about the Middle East I won't miss. Here's for hoping Bahrain one day imports a man-made mountain and constructs a small forest of sorts. For now and the next two weeks, it's brunch and bottoms up. No complaints from this girl.