So this time last week if you asked me where I thought I was going to be today I would have told you I would be in Bahrain at my fathers university reunion. If you’d asked me where I thought I’d be in three days time I’d tell you I’d be on a plane making my way to Tokyo in preparation for my brothers graduation.
Neither of these things have happened due to recent tragic events in both Bahrain and Japan. Both events are really tragic, one man made political crisis and the other a natural catastrophe followed by a nuclear disaster, and my heart goes out to the people of both those countries. No matter how you look at it having my holiday cancelled pales in significance to what the people of those two countries are experiencing, it’s just been a minor inconvenience for me.
Even so I’ve been glued to the TV/Twitter/Various new sites whenever possible following what’s been happening to the people of these two countries. Bahrain is a third home to me, I may have grown up in Saudi Arabia, and I may now live in the UK but Bahrain has always had a special place in my heart. Ever since the King Fahad Causeway opened when I was 6 it’s became the place that we went to for a bit of sanity as a respite from the madness of living in Saudi. And it breaks my heart to see whats happening there, my Dad is currently as far as I can tell trapped in Bahrain, they aren’t letting anyone use the causeway to get to or from the country and my dad happened to be in Bahrain when they decided this. He’s safe, he is with family and far away from the protests, at least as far away as you can be in a country which you can drive the entire length of in an hour. My mum on the other hand, and I never thought I would utter these words, is safe in Saudi.
I’m not sure what the general sentiment in Bahrain is I would assume it’s one of apprehension and probably also fear, my dad who grew up there says that the anti-sectarian sentiment is the worst he’s ever seen it, he also seems to be of the opinion that the news are blowing some of it out of proportion, and that the western media are portraying the situation in a very one sided way. I don’t have enough information to back this up, but from his point of view so long as you stay away from the “bad areas” you are fairly safe. Though the last time I spoke to him the roundabout was still occupied so that may have changed as the protesters have dispersed.
What I’m seeing from Japan on the other hand is both devastating and inspiring. If ever I had any doubt about the safety of nuclear power it’s been erased, a 30 year old power plant has managed to survive not only a 9.0 magnitude earth quake but also a 7 meter tsunami, as well as a multitude of aftershocks, and at the as far as I can tell it’s still relatively safe. The damage, or lack thereof to the buildings in Tokyo is a testament to the engineering prowess of the Japanese people, and the reaction of the people of Japan has nothing short of inspiring. I think had something like this happened anywhere else in the world there would have been riots for food and resources. Not in Japan, the Japanese people seem to be forming orderly queues for fuel and supplies, they are helping each other out and just getting on with it.
My brother has been studying in Japan for the past 5 years, he was not in Japan when the quake hit, he’s currently safe and sound with our cousin in Houston TX. He missed the quake by a few days as he was supposed to be arriving back in Tokyo on the 15th, he’s cancelled his flights and will stay in Houston a little longer before heading to Saudi. I assume his graduation has been cancelled or at the very least postponed, but he doesn’t seem to have bothered to check.
My friend Jamie is in Tokyo and was there when the quake hit. His first hand account of the quake is just scary. I’m so unbelievably glad that he, his wife and 2 week old baby are safe and sound despite all the chaos that is surrounding them.
I sure know how to pick my holiday destinations… I’ll give you fore warning the next place I intend to visit is York in early April, lets hope nothing bad happens there…
People seem to keep on telling me that they are really sorry for me, all I’m losing out on is a holiday. I’ve reclaimed my Annual leave, I’ve got a refund on my flights, I didn’t have to book a Hotel as I was staying with friends so I’ve not had to cancel that, and I’m getting a 90% refund on my rail pass. There is nothing to be sorry for when it comes to me, and while I appreciate is, they should save their sympathy for people more deserving, the people of Bahrain and Japan are both a million times more deserving of any sympathy you might have directed at me.
I’m not sure why I wanted to write this but I felt that I should say something.