Escaping the hustle of a modern Persian Gulf state, where cars race by modern buildings and there is little to remind you of the fact you are really in an Arab country, the souq is a relief. Here, the pace is slower. Market vendors waiting patiently for customers, looking confident that their wares will attract customers. People walking around leisurely, meticulously examining the goods in display. It all breathers a peaceful atmosphere.
Even if you are not looking for anything to buy, it is worth walking around this souq. From the colourful and almost artistic way in which spices are waiting for a buyer, to the enormous mountains of kitchenware, endless rows of brightly coloured clothes, dimly lit cafes, the souq keeps surprising you at every turn you take. Vendors trying to lure you into buying something you never fancied. They never harass you, let you go if you do not show any sign of interest.
Small eating stalls and restaurants provide for a good and easy way to taste local fare. Also, it gives you the opportunity to watch market life go by. Watch women dressed up in black from toe to top, including their faces, walk by in intense discussion with a friend. In one case, I even spotted one of those women wearing glasses on top of her veil. Making your way out of these small streets busy with market life really feels like stepping into another world.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Manama Souq (Bahrain). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Manama Souq. Read more about this site.