I rant you risten

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I needed to believe in something

Inspired by Bike shed’s post here - imagination - a deep love for this place - and the Chemical Brothers tune: Believe.

It was a Friday… the weather was unbelievably wonderful and I got conned into running “some” errands with a friend… Loaded the cd changer with some new music and off we went… I don’t need to tell you, Bahrain, on a Friday afternoon, with magnificent weather is just a wonderful place to be…

Driving along the new flyover in front of the Seef Mall I couldn’t help but notice the progress taking shape… We have begun our transformation from a small island nation to a bustling metropolis. My mind drifted away to what life could be like in the next 10 to 20 years… Y’see a lot of people are upset with the skyline, atrocious buildings going up, road works, a big ‘what’s going to happen to us?’, blah blah blah.. Let me tell you what I saw…

A real metropolitan area, with different districts, improved infrastructure, a developed sense of modern civilization – a place to call home in the 21st century… Driving past the Seef district heading towards Manama, I saw the shopping malls and the gold domes of the Seef Mall on the left. I could see the buildings on the Seaside with their high rises and offices… The HSBC building to join the Al Moayyed tower in the Seef district’s rising skyline. The thought of having a number of high rises has me cheering – it’s time we joined the international community in terms of growth and development. The new City Center shopping mall coming up on the left, yes we will have 5 shopping malls in the same area, too much you say? Why not I think… With residential buildings, commercial offices, shops, etc all opening up, the Seef stands to become the developed commerce center on the island. On the right hand side, there’s the Bahrain Mall, the Dana Mall, the new Chamber of Commerce, and even more buildings coming up with more residential apartments. People will eventually have to start considering living in apartments due to the diminishing space and increasing population. Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Highway will be one of the most important strips in Bahrain, roaring development - commerce and a new look to our future.

The Diplomatic Area: In the distance, the Diplomatic Area and our bustling financial center making up another expanding skyline… The two main buildings of the Bahrain Financial Harbor right on the water’s edge welcoming visitors by sea (build it and they will come). The NBB Building, towering over the old souk, representing the spine of the Bahraini commercial banks with the nation’s flag on top, a beacon for everyone to see. The new World Trade Center announcing our membership to the developed world – Two sails reaching for the sky tasting the Arabian sun. The area will forever be busy with its offices, insurance companies, offshore banks, investment companies, law firms, ministries, and embassies. The Diplomatic Area is a our version of the financial district – I look forward to biking around on a Friday when the streets are practically empty – as should you…

Muharraq: Busaiteen is such prime location, great view of the sea extending out to the Seef district… With Muharraq – I see it changing anyway it chooses… I love that island – it develops traditions in its own way & who am I to mess with it…

Juffair: Once all the buildings are up, the construction has been tamed and the streets and sidewalks are paved - making kicked up sand and dust a thing of the past - I can definitely see a wharf built on the water’s edge, with shops and a marina there for people to use… Think about the image for a second, you’ve got all these high rise buildings overlooking the water, there’s a boardwalk with a nice wharf, and some restaurants and a little marina there – make it easy and cheap for people who go fishing to dock their boats – Docks are beautiful with their own type of charm and by inviting the local fisherman to be a part of this new type of development we continue to retain our traditions, we’re just using modern amenities to facilitate their livelihood/passion. Give the residents of Juffair and Manama a place to take a stroll in the evenings and inviting other people to enjoy the beauty of waterfront dining/ shopping/ café/whatever your heart pleases…

Adliya District: A multi-level centralized parking lot with special rates to residents in the neighborhood; metered street parking and special parking zones for residents – strictly enforced by the traffic police, with CCTV to deter any crime. Property developed from behind the zoes/lilou area extending all the way upstairs downstairs region filled with various cafes and restaurants. Following the Riwaq example, more art galleries open up: showcasing the works of local talent. A bookshop or two. Local and International designers opening up boutiques… retaining the small buildings architecture and working with it allowing Adliya to preserve its neighborhood promenade feel. I can just see it all, streets with huge canopies tied to streetlights, providing shade for the casual strollers. Take it one step further… having water misters run under these canopies providing our casual strollers with some pleasant mist to keep cool during warmer days. Heading over to Adliya to pick up your newspaper, have a coffee and meet up with friends never felt so cool… You get a little peckish; there are a bunch of world-class restaurants there to satisfy your hunger.

Qufool: I love this neighborhood, filled with small buildings and close-knit neighborhood quaintness… Imagine the area renovated and rented out.. I can see it being the starter family neighborhood… newlyweds looking to stay close to the city, yet branching out in kitschy one or two bedroom apartments.. Interesting buildings cool roof deck gatherings… You develop a neighborhood feel to the place with your local grocer, butcher, frommagerie - ok maybe I’m going a little too far, but this can all happen, no reason why it can’t…

The Bahrain International Circuit and the development South: Racing is in our blood, whether it be Horses, Boats, Bikes or Cars… The circuit is a step in the right direction for us, bringing attention to our motor sport fever, and letting us vent out our passion in a controlled and professional environment. People have different views on the financial benefit of the F1, give this time, people will catch a serious F1 fever on this island & with a bridge linking us to Saudi & Qatar (in the not too distant future) – we will be the middle east’s link to racing. Once a year, the entire world turns to us for a weekend because of a race – you don’t you think that’s amazing? This is our chance to show the world that Bahrain stands in a class of its own. The new trend in property development - the area looks to get a lot busier… Our beaches get developed – Al Jazayer beach gets a new facelift (I’m not talking about fake sand and a modified landscape) – I’m talking about having a strong push to clean our shores, imposing serious fines for people who litter (I MEAN SERIOUS: BD 100 per offence – force people to accept not littering to pay a fine); I’m talking about bringing Marine Biologists and environmental experts to help us rebuild our marine life… bring back the corals… I want to be able to take my kids snorkeling and let them see what fish live in our waters- don’t you?

A real two level ring road around the island, with exits coming on and off – making your full circle trip around the island much faster. A bridge connecting Bahrain to Qatar, adding to our causeway with Saudi Arabia – an Island nation connected to the two major industrial powerhouses in the area. Many other countries boast to be the pearl of the gulf or the pride of the gulf; but what they cannot boast is prime geographic location… Bahrain will be connecting the Gulf States together… Saudi Arabia will become the prime producer of petrochemicals in the coming 10 years, Qatar will become the one of the main natural gas suppliers and will all these liquefied natural gas projects and the petrochemicals (mega projects) – I can’t see Bahrain not participating in this development and remain eco-friendly. Think about it, these huge trucks transporting all sorts of goods all across the GCC, using Bahrain as a central hub, riding along our efficient ring road making transportation more feasible and easy. It’s not that I can only see our development through the help of our neighbors and their resources – think about the tourism, think about how easy it will be for an inter GCC road trip. Bahrain will become the linkup to the GCC… A trans-GCC railway… Invite small to medium enterprises to come, setup shop and use Bahrain as a hub to export to the region – now tell me don’t you think that’s a good idea?

Bringing our heads down from the clouds… This is the beauty of Bahrain, a future is always there and always promising – we have existed for centuries – we have always been an integral part of history due to our location and we will continue to be a fundamental cog in the Middle East… Realistically, we do not have the manpower or the resources of our neighbors – but we have faith aided with a progressive and thinking population… We cannot let ignorance cloud our thoughts.. Dammit – The Mesopotamians – the First recorded civilization in history used to come and vacation here! We have seen empires rise and empires fall – we will continue to stand… This is my Bahrain and I believe…

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yowza...so close it's almost real...but I'm lovinit, lovinit, lovinit...yea, I like it like dat

BS

Desert Island Boy said...

I have to confess you sent a chill up my spine when I read: Adliya: Parking Deck...

...What the Hell...?

But I have to hand it you BR, I read tha rest and I am glad that you've given this some very good thought. The parking issue is one that needs to be tackled in Adliya. OBZ Avenue is packed and sometimes it's a nightmare after hours, perhaps enough to scare away a lot of potential patrons.

And if I'm not mistaken, you're probably eyeing the old Radio Bahrain property for your garage?

Adliya brings the world to Bahrain in an intimate setting. Not to sound exclusive or anything, but I'm with you until the neighborhood becomes a Touron Trap.

But I'm with you Bro. Unlike some of our neighbors, Bahrainis want to be in the 21st century. Lead the charge!

Bahraini Rants said...

DIB: Not sure when your last visit to Bahrain was, but things have changed... Don't know if you remember where the British Council Houses were and where the American Embassy used to be, but that section (behind OBZ Avenue) has naturally developed into our restaurant 'district' - There's so much traffic and illegal parking at times making it impossible if you're a resident or if you're just trying to have a nice meal.

Some of the ideas I've mentioned have already been proposed, & some I've thought of myself. I just wanted to make a point to the skeptics: YOUR NEGATIVITY IS NOT HELPING...

peace

Mahmood Al-Yousif said...

the way I like it, stay positive and you can see beautiful things wherever you look, and have beautiful thoughts that you can dish out aplenty. why be negative? don't we have far too much of that in the world?

thanks ONCE AGAIN BR for a very nice post.

Bahraini Rants said...

way too much negativity in the world today.. glad you liked it..

Mo said...

A'ali: as the highest inhabited point in Bahrain (is it?) and being in such a central position, it should officially be made the most important part of the country. All residents (in both new and old A'ali) will recieve a BD1000 bonus for happening to live there and will be allocated large homes, fancy cars and cushy jobs. The pottery workshops and the burial mounds will become the number 1 tourist attractions in Bahrain. A'ali will then officially be declared as the best place to live on the entire planet by a panel of expert judges based in Sweden.

Anonymous said...

Amazing glance into the future. Dreams like these make us look forward to what the future has in store for Bahrain. Many who talk about Bahrain’s future tend to notice the empty half of the cup. So thanks, Bahraini Rants, for a refreshing read and for reminding us of the great potential our country is blessed with.

Anonymous K

Mimaa said...

:)
Nice post... beautiful imagery as always!!

Mo: i think ur waaay up in the clouds... :P
A'ali's prob good location if u want to be close to the private school district for ur kids.. but i heard it's a nightmare getting out of there!!

my heart will always be in Muharraq!!