Today is Al Hijra New Year - 1435

This means that today, November 4 of the Gregorian calendar year, marks the beginning of a new Islamic calendar year. As tradition goes, The first Islamic yearwas in 610 AD during, when Mohammad left Mecca for Medina (the Hijira). The exact day is determined by the sighting of the new moon.

What does that translate as for me?  A hollyday!!! And this means another trek to some interesting historical place on the island(s).  Where shall I visit today? I've been in eye-spy mode lately and have been making a point to travel to a historic area every week here on my host island nation. 

Before all that though, I still need to just wake up.  I'm lazing on my couch drinking a fresh brew.  Because of my aversion to writing down important upcoming events on my iCal, I have a lot stored inside my cranium.  It all seeps out during the strangest moments.  I suddenly realize that I need to document all this as there is little hard drive space left upstairs and suddenly some important events will be over-written. In an effort to collect my marbles, I will share with you all this information.  As well, I will probably write it all down on iCal...

Tomorrow marks an important day as it's the first day that I'll be visiting one of the local schools that participate in the local English Access Micro-scholarship Program. My RELO will be there as well as a Fulbright TA.  It should be loads of good fun.  I think I'll do an activity based on the popular 'survivor-style' shows from the past...

Next up is travel to Morocco for a conference with MATE (Moroccan Association of Teachers of English).  I have been funded to give a presentation.  Now, to formulate the presentation... This takes time.  Time, in fact, that I should devote the day to.  *Scratches out schedule to visit historical landmark today and, instead, sit home on my Mac Book Pro and brainstorm*

Okay, now that I have THAT taken care of... Ugh.  It IS the right thing to do *feeling sorry for myself*  Next up is the local Bahrain TESOL Conference that I will be presenting at also.  Now, that is 2 presentations I need to draft up... Oh wait, there is also TESOL Arabia where I will likely present as well... Oh geeze... 

The great thing about this conference in Tangier is that is can be like a mini-vacation as well.  Of course I have to fund that part myself... That's alright though as I have a handful of friends that live in Morocco so I'll be knocking at their doorsteps soon. Another benefit is that it begins January 1, 2014 so that means... New Year's Eve in Morocco and/or Spain!!! This, of course, pleases me.

It's been about 12 years since I traveled through Morocco.  I visited some amazing places there and am looking forward to returning to the region.  I only briefly traveled through Tangier so this is a plus.  Nothing like a gritty port city to inspire one!  I recall reading Coco Chanel's biography and she mentioned hanging out at Yves Saint Laurent's 'Villa Mabrouka ' in Tangier. Lavish, lascivious, opulence, decadence; these are all adjectives that describe that storyline... and I hung onto every tantalizing word.

Fresh from Morocco puts me back in the pearl of the Middle East (here in Bahrain) nearing the end of the semester, which puts me in position to get outta town soon after and head to Turkey over the break.  I do miss Istanbul.  As well, I need a dose of wintertime.  I still have to run the air con some days here.  I want some cold, wet rain and snow. Lucky I still have my winter things packed away in various locations throughout Turkey...

Now I'm really beginning to feel the pressure of all that I have to do today...  As well, I'm waiting on some possible rainfall here today.  Last night it was clouding up and the radio guy said there was a possible chance of light showers... This was after I headed to Ric's Kountry Kitchen (diner) and had myself a bacon-cheeseburger and french fries while grading student assignments.  So a full belly of delightful American comfort food plus the possibility of rain sent me on my way home with pleasant thoughts.  I did end up topping off the evening with a corona or two which, apparently washed away the possibility of rain *opens up front door and peeks outside only to squint from the intense sunshine at 9am*


I leave you with some pictures of my last few traipsings to a few of the forts in Bahrain: Qal`at Bahrain and Qal`at Riffa.  Enjoy
Danish archeologists were giving a lecture here this day concerning the ongoing archaeological investigations at the Royal Burial Mounds at A`ali.

the entrance

land reclamation in progress...

the museum from the fort

Downtown Manama looming in the background

sun setting over the fort = brilliance

looks impenetrable

the hood behind the fort.  I saw a lot of people coming from the hood and running around the fort.  What a great running route!


desert skyscrapers

past archaeological investigations at the foot of the fort

the setting sun behind me cast a brilliant light play towards Manana

having a spiritual moment

in through the out door

Now I'm at the Riffa Fort, near my hood.

Looking down onto Hunanaiya Valley

East Riffa town

the 'burbs