Saturday, February 13, 2016

It's Raining Free Money?!

As the saying goes, money doesn't grow on trees...but as I discovered today, on occasion it does fall from trees. And observation towers. 

Today we went to visit the Bahrain fort, which I'd been to once before a few years ago, and it was fascinating. Getting to walk through and observe the over 1600 year old fort is a breath-taking experience. (Not to mention windy and a bit cold, in the winter months.) 

Top level of Bahrain fort

A well with Arabic inscriptions, inside one of the lower rooms
Then we went to Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Park (lengthy title, I know.) This place was so beautiful and scenic. It also had lots of things to see and do, like paddle boats, bike hire, concerts, cafes, playgrounds, and a conservation tower.

Prince Khalifa Observation Tower and Play Area (not my image)

The most bizarre thing I think I have witnessed since arriving in Bahrain was the sight of people dropping little parachutes of cash from the top of the observation tower. It honestly took my brain a few minutes to try to understand why anyone would give away free cash. I watched people frantically scrambled to catch the bundles as the wind steered them slowly down to the ground. Initially it was quite an exciting event - and I am told that the bundles contained between $30-50BD each, which is $120-200NZD. However, I soon felt sick. Little kids were getting trampled and shoved out of the way as butch men and teenage boys practically wrestled for the cash. I witness one 8 or 9 year old boy sprinting, his eyes so locked on the falling bundle that he tripped and smacked his face into the side of the pavement. Meanwhile adults were screaming and jumping with excitement, and snatching cash out of each others hands. One bundle even got caught in a date tree and sent a construction worker climbing up the trunk to snap off the huge leaf that the package was snagged in. It was a REALLY high climb (maybe one and a half storeys?), and he could have really hurt himself - especially as date tree trunks are like palm trees and have no branches to rest on.

I failed to catch any free money, but I honestly think that if I had managed to grab a bundle I would have had it snatched from me, simply because I'm weak and small in comparison to the men who were winning the lots. Perhaps the most dehumanising part was that there were several cameramen set up to capture all the madness, I imagine to broadcast it for people's entertainment. The whole event was actually kind of terrifying, because it showed just how primal people can be, even in 2016.

Or maybe I'm getting too philosophical, I don't know.

1 comment :

  1. It seems to be a common theme over there. You would have noticed that with the Syrian refugees that over 90% of the fist to waves of them were young males, very few women and children, and they were demanding things rather than being grateful for what they were receiving