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HELP, LIVING IN BAHARAIN

(14 Posts)
SpainMum Wed 03-Jun-09 08:03:33

Hi everyone

My husband has a job offer in Baharain and I have a few questions, please help

Do you have to dress differently? Can you wear short skirts or tshirts without feeling bad? I have heard that in Dubai women avoid these types of cloths.

Can women do everything or are there certain things that only can be done by men? My friend in Dubai told me there are certain things (at the bank, for example) that can only be done by men.

THKS a lot for your help!!!!!

Starmummy Wed 03-Jun-09 12:54:23

Hi

In Dubai most (and I say most advisedly)people dress reasonably. However if you were thinking a belt instead of skirt that might not work. Likewise a top showing your navel from the top may not be good.IYSWIM.

I'm guessing Bahrain is very similiar. Try http://www.expatwoman.com/forum/topics.aspx?ForumID=25 there is an excellent forum there and the ladies from Bahrain are very helpful.
Generally sensible is the way to go. Friday is the weekend and lots of people are out and about and sometimes it can beuncomfortable if you forget. I have a top that is ok when you stand up but when you lean over you can almost see my feet, now I feel very concious of things like that.

Not sure about Bahrain but in Dubai we have ladies only quesues at the bank and other government offices, its brilliant one of the best things about being here, going to the front of the queue.

mumoverseas Wed 03-Jun-09 14:00:42

Hi, not in Bahrain but next door in Saudi but have been there loads of times as its so much more civilised than Saudi and us ex-pats in Saudi often pop over for a bacon sarnie and a glass of wine/beer.

As starmummy says, you need to dress sensibly. You don't have to totally cover up with the abaya as we do in Saudi but you do have to be a bit respectful, particularly on the weekends. I wouldn't wear shorts or vest tops for example in the shopping malls but by the pool it is acceptable.

Starmummy is probably right about the banks too as its like that here in Saudi.

Think there are a few Mners in Bahrain so hopefully one of them will find this thread and give you totally accurate advice.

SpainMum Wed 03-Jun-09 15:02:31

Thank you so much!

Litchick Thu 04-Jun-09 16:07:24

MOS - DH is currently workingh a lot in Saudi and it may make more sense for us all to move out there for a year or so. What is it actually like for expats? I understand it's very strict in general, but what of the expat communities?
Also what are the schools like?
Do youu like it?
Sorry, but I have so many questions.

Litchick Thu 04-Jun-09 16:07:41

MOS - DH is currently workingh a lot in Saudi and it may make more sense for us all to move out there for a year or so. What is it actually like for expats? I understand it's very strict in general, but what of the expat communities?
Also what are the schools like?
Do youu like it?
Sorry, but I have so many questions.

mumoverseas Fri 05-Jun-09 10:33:23

Hi Litchick, ask away.
It can be a good life for expats, if and only if, you are on a western compound. I have a few friends who are living in private villas (with MIL!) and it is hell.
There is a pretty good social life here, always something going on on our compound and most western compounds are the same and there are often things going on at the Embassy, for example we had a charity ball there last week <whispers, with real alcohol!> and they have bingo there every few months for people that are into that.

There is a British School in Riyadh and one in Dharhan too which are ok although I'd say not as good as the private school my kids went to in the UK but certainly comparable to a good state school. Also multi national school for non british passport holders.

Any idea where you would be if you came out? We are in Riyadh and loads of expats here.
I do like living here but it gets tough at times, ie the restrictions and lack of independance (can't drive, can't drink, can't have a yummy bacon sandwich on a Sunday morning) but, the money is good and it has enabled us to pay off our mortgage and have lovely holidays. Its not for everyone but it has provided us with a lifestyle we wouldn't have otherwise had and we are able to save enough to educate DCs 3 & 4 privately when we return to the UK in 2 years.

Litchick Fri 05-Jun-09 14:54:10

Oh, thank you so much for getting back to me.
DH is currently out there but staying in a hotel and is very bored and lonely. He is in Ryhad. He doesn't think it's a very ggod idea for us to come out there as he's worried about my freedom and the children's schooling ( they are in a lovely prep school here) but the children miss him very much and if he has to be there as much next year as he has this, then in many ways I would like us all to be together.
We would defo stay in a compound.
I could carry on working - am an author so have lap top will travel, so to speak.
The children I'm sure would see it as one big fat adventure if it were for a year or eighteen months.
Who knows. Perhaps this will be DH's last job out there ( he's a lawyer ) but they seem to keep asking him back. And there's very little work in the City at the mo.
Will you come home for the Summer? DH tells me it's scorchio out there at the mo.

mumoverseas Sat 06-Jun-09 11:05:24

Hi, not suprised he is bored and lonely, he needs to get himself invited onto one of the expat compounds and he will have a bit of a social life.
Yes, freedom can be an issue but if its what is best for you as a family, you can work around it.
Totally understand your comments ref schooling. DCs 1 and 2 were at an excellent prep school in Sussex before we came out here and I have to say, the british school here is not a patch on that. We took the decision to send DD (13 in 5 days as she keeps reminding me daily by email) back to the UK last year as she wasn't doing as well out here. DS1 was effectively stuck here as halfway through his GCSE course but thank god he will be finished those in a few years then back to the UK to a private 6th form.
How old are your DC? if they are younger than my eldest two (youngest are 2 1/2 and 4 months) then if you are planning on only a few years and being back in the UK before they are aged either 11 or 13 (depending on schools in your area as some private take at 11, some at 13) then that would be ok. I certainly wouldn't recommend Saudi for teenagers, far too restrictive for them.

Ref summers, most of us sensible ex pats bugger off at the end of June/beginning of July until end Aug/beg Sept. I was due to leave KSA end of June but had to bring it forward to next week due to family circumstances. Its far to hot here. An hour ago (12 o'clock KSA time) it was 49 degrees which is stupid.

Ref work, you are lucky in that you can work anywhere which is good for your sanity as very few jobs here for women unless you are a teacher, teaching assistant or nurse.
I'm a family lawyer and sadly not much call for divorce lawyers in saudi, they either get another wife (can have up to 7 although DH can't understand why any man would want more than 1) or else they say 'I divorce thee' three times. I'm therefore a bit redundant!
Sounds like it could be a good move for you all to be there together for a while, particularly with the current situation in the UK. I have a few old lawyer friends who have their jobs at risk, hours cut etc.

I would say if you kids are young enough, go for it. You can save enough money to pay for their private school fees when you get back and pay chunks off your mortgage.

Hopefully, whoever he works for would provide a good package, ie free accomodation, house boy (male maid to do all washing, cleaning, ironing etc) travel allowance and school fees (schools here are all fee paying).

can you say who he works for? This may provide a clue to what compound you may be on and could give more advice.

Litchick Sat 06-Jun-09 13:04:31

My DCs are both almost ten ( twins). So Igues coming for a year or so wouldn't be so bad at this stage. I think a lot of epats send their kids back to board in the UK once they hit 13/14 and I can see why.
I did laugh though at you being a family lawyer grin.
DH works for an American law firm that has no presence out there. Not quite sure how his client - big Saudi company - came to instruct him to be honest. Maybe through links with a Lebanese colleague. So no links to any compounds I'm afraid. Anyway the current job is likely to go until xmas and then they'd like to pay his firm to keep him out there for a year while the job is up and running. I think his firm would insist that the package came with a house and school etc. In the great sceme of things it wouldn't be that much expense to them.

Is your DH a lawyer?
If you can't work, what do you do with yourself all day? Aren't you a bit bored? How long do you think you'll be out there?

So many questions. Ignore me if you like grin

mumoverseas Sat 06-Jun-09 13:32:30

Hi, no problem, as away any other questions.
Ref school, assuming DC have british passports they can go to the british school. They used to accept all nationalities but when the brits became a minority they had to re-think so as from this year, only british and dutch passport holders.
There are american schools and multi national school for others. You are right about a lot of expats sending kids home. Usual age is around 11 or sometimes 13 although one of my teacher friends sent her DD home aged 9.

You really need a house on a compound or else life will be hell for you and DC. There are several compounds out here that are not owned/rented by a specific company so you can sometimes privately rent on one.

No, DH isn't a lawyer, he is a pensions manager and his friends still tease him about marrying a divorce lawyer!
I get very bored! I have done a few distance learning courses in the last few years, family mediation, counselling etc and of course there is the main expat wife hobby of retail therapy wink
Don't have too much time for myself now though with DS aged 4 months grin
We were going to go home this summer when DS1 finishes his GCSEs but have decided to do 2 more years to fund him through the most expensive 6th form college he could have found! Hopefully, home for good in 2011 when mortgage is paid off

DoThisDoThat Tue 09-Jun-09 10:48:05

Hi Spainmum, I saw your question. We're in Bahrain. I've answered against the questions. Used caps but not shouting...

Hi everyone

My husband has a job offer in Baharain and I have a few questions, please help

Do you have to dress differently? Can you wear short skirts or tshirts without feeling bad? I have heard that in Dubai women avoid these types of cloths. NO NEED TO DRESS DIFFERENTLY, JUST BE SENSIBLE AND REASONABLY MODEST. I WEAR SHORTS AND T-SHIRT TO THE SUPERMARKET BUT WOULD WEAR A DRESS TO THE MALL.

Can women do everything or are there certain things that only can be done by men? My friend in Dubai told me there are certain things (at the bank, for example) that can only be done by men. NO WOMEN ONLY QUEUES. BOO! BAHRAIN IS VERY LIBERAL AND HAS A VERY LARGE WESTERN EXPAT POPULATION IN FACT, YOU'LL BE IN THE MAJORITY IN SOME PLACES IYSWIM DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU LIVE AND DO YOUR SHOPPING.

THKS a lot for your help!!!!!

JJsandcat Sun 14-Jun-09 09:01:11

We're looking at both Saudi and Bahrain at the mom, currently in Dubai.

I hate being stared at, even if I wear a long dress with a high neckline, esp. the masses of indian and pakistani labourers freak me out. I just hate it here and the lack of skills in the workers, inability to be on time, hazardous way of driving, lack of hygiene/cleaning standards, etc. drive me mad. I am Eurasian with part of my family muslim but I was brought up in Europe with long stays in the US, Hong Kong and my adult life spent working largely overseas but I'm so fed up of being here. I'm just doing my time until the City recovers and we can go back to LDN or CH.

Most of all I guess I miss other expat friends here. We don't live in a compound and all our neighbours are Emiratis who keep to themselves.

2 of my Dh's colleagues lived in Bahrain for many years and preferred it to Dubai. They said it was more civilized and less stressful than here.

MOS, very interesting to read your account of KSA. We'll be going in late Autumn on a recce mission to check it out.

mumoverseas Thu 18-Jun-09 15:28:19

good luck with your recce JJsandcat. A word of warning, the driving is 100 times worse in KSA than Dubai!

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