Travel Bahrain- An Inspiring Tiny Destination with So Much to See

深度旅遊遊記:巴林 / Deep Travel Blog: Bahrain

(Scroll down for English Version / 英文版向下看)

(English translation: Tanya / 英譯:殘編)

赫德國王跨海大橋 / King Fahd Causeway (Jisr al-Malik Fahd Bridge)
赫德國王跨海大橋 / King Fahd Causeway (Jisr al-Malik Fahd Bridge)

我們住在利雅德時,每逢假日便開著車向東行,先到沙烏地東部的達曼港摸蛤蜊,再經過美不勝收的法赫德國王跨海大橋,前往對岸的巴林度過一天的「世俗」生活,擺脫礙手礙腳的黑袍、頭巾和宗教警察的陰影,到五星旅館小酌兩杯,將宗教道德拋在腦後,享受塵世的虛華。

English Version / 英文版:
During our years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, we enjoyed driving eastward on holidays. We’d hit King Abdul Aziz Port (Dammam Port) in eastern Saudi Arabia to clam, then cross the magnificent King Fahd Causeway(Jisr al-Malik Fahd Bridge) to spend a secular day in Bahrain on the other side. We’d get rid of our black abayas and keffiyehs, escape the Islamic religious police, and head to a luxury five-star hotel for a drink or two and indulge ourselves in a carefree environment.

  • 巴林王國雖小,五臟俱全 / Bahrain, A Tiny Country with So Much to See:

Bahrain pearl
巴林珍珠 / Bahrain pearl
(image credit: Timeout Bahrain)

巴林王國小到幾乎消失在地圖裡,面積只有780平方公里,比新加坡稍大,不用一天就可以全國逛透透。但它麻雀雖小、五臟俱全,是許多國際性和區域性組織的成員。若再溯源,那麼它自古就是個福地,因為它的海裡生產世界最大、最優質的天然珍珠,來自各地的珍珠商曾經匯集於此。珍珠的高利潤使得人民自古就錢袋滿滿,卻也引來西方強權的覬覦,因此巴林人自古便與世界各民族接觸,非常國際化。直到今日,它的居民仍有一半是外國人,巴林人在這種歷史背景之下,培養出外交上必備的溫和、親切的地區性性格,和他們相處非常輕鬆愉快。他們與內志沙漠培養出嚴肅、拘謹性格的利雅德人形成鮮明的對比。當然,除了地緣因素之外,還有一些經濟、歷史與信仰因素會讓相鄰地區差異甚大,這方面的感受就無法在這小篇幅中釐清了。重點是,我們屢次踏上巴林國土,都不禁想和巧遇的路人閒聊,感受這群討海人的豁達。

 巴林人 / Bahraini people
巴林人 / Bahraini people

English Version / 英文版:
Spotting The Kingdom of Bahrain on the world map is like finding Waldo. It covers ​​only 780 square kilometers(300 sq mi), which is just slightly larger than Singapore. It takes less than a day to visit the whole country. Despite its size, the destination offers a lot to see. Bahrain is a member of many international and regional organizations. It’s been blessed with the world’s best quality natural pearls since ancient times; hence, pearl dealers from all over the world gather here. The high profits of pearl merchants brought wealth to the Bahraini people but also attracted Western powers’ coveting. Therefore, the Bahraini people have long been in contact with the world’s different nations and are very international. To this day, half of its residents are foreigners. With such historical background, the Bahraini have cultivated people skills that are ideal for establishing diplomatic relations. They are friendly and easy to get along with, which is in sharp contrast with the rigid and restrained characteristics of people from Riyadh. I could go on and on about the economic, historical, and religious factors that have influenced and changed these regions. However, my point here is that although we have repeatedly set foot on the land of Bahrain, each time, we can’t help but want to chat with passersby to pick their open-minded brains a bit.

  • 巴林名字起源:「雙海」/ Origin of the Name”Bahrain”- “Two Seas”

法赫德國王跨海大橋 / King Fahd causeway satellite
法赫德國王跨海大橋 / King Fahd causeway satellite

al-Bahrain阿拉伯語意思是:雙海) 的名稱典故據說是採珠的潛水夫感覺巴林海域的海水上層是鹹的,海底卻是甘甜的,因而稱它為「雙海」。
巴林是島國,最吸引觀光客的旅遊景點當然會是海灘,尤其夏天的巴林,簡直濕熱到無法忍受,我們首先奔向巴林著名的Marassi al-Bahrain海灘去消暑。海灘規劃得非常優美、整潔,海上有許多供孩童遊玩的大型海上遊樂場。年輕人則喜歡玩先進的海上運動或開小汽艇。海灘上經常擠滿游泳以及玩水的人潮,大多數是男人和小孩,女人甚少,但還是可以看到穿著黑袍的女人牽著小孩走在海水裡的阿拉伯海灣國家特殊景觀。

English Version / 英文版:
al-Bahrain” means “two seas” in Arabic. It is said that according to pearl divers, the upper layer of the seas in Bahrain is salty, whereas the bottom is sweet, hence the name “double sea.”
Bahrain is an island. Hence, the top attractions for tourists are the beaches. Summers in Bahrain are unbearably hot and humid. Marassi al-Bahrain beach is one we can stand. The beach is beautifully planned and clean, large-scale water amusement parks for children are built on the sea. Young adults play water sports and boat. Most of the time, the beach is crowded with mostly men and children; women are rare. Watching women in black abayas walking down the sea with their children is something you won’t see in other places.

  • 巴林中國城:「龍市場」/ Bahrain’s China Town – The Dragon City:

我們聽說2015年巴林興建了「龍市場」,立即聯想到中國城。這座建築採用中國式設計,裡面約有七、八百家商店,以不同的色彩來代表不同的商品買賣,譬如紅色是兒童商品店;綠色是建築材料與設備商品;黃色是電器與照明設備產品。在阿拉伯海灣國家中我們沒見過這類商場

English Version / 英文版:
We heard that a “Dragon City” was built in Bahrain in 2015. Dragon City is a mall inspired by Chinatown, hence incorporates mostly Chinese designs in its complex. There are about 700 or 800 stores in it, with different colours representing various commodities. For example, red is for children’s products, green is for building materials and equipment, and yellow is for electrical and lighting appliances. The commercial complex is one-of-a-kind in the Arabian Gulf countries.

  • 巴林傳奇景點:「生命樹」/ Tree of Life, Bahrain’s Legendary Attraction

巴林「生命之樹」/ Tree of Life, Bahrain
巴林「生命之樹」/ Tree of Life, Bahrain
(By കാക്കര – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27547139)

我們參觀過幾座著名的清真寺、博物館和阿拉伯傳統市集之後,便開始找尋傳說中的「生命之樹」(Tree of Life)。這是巴林人最喜歡介紹給外國人的一景。巴林朋友告訴我這棵灌木牧豆樹屬生長於1583年,地點距離首都馬納馬約三十五公里,它特別之處是生長在毫無水源的沙漠地帶的沙丘上,樹齡超過四百年。樹枝向兩邊延伸,長約十公尺,形狀非常優美,尤其在黃昏時刻、太陽餘暉之下,流露著古老的靈氣。由於它四周毫無生物,卻屹立不搖,引起許多植物學家研究的興趣,認為其樹根或許深入到超過五十公尺以上的地底。在巴林發展觀光之初,許多來此參觀的人喜歡在樹幹上刻字或留下痕跡,為了保護這株老樹,巴林政府將樹幹四周用鐵籬隔開。近年來生命之樹更吸引每年約五萬的遊客。

English Version / 英文版:
After visiting several famous mosques, museums, and traditional Arab markets, we head to the legendary “Tree of Life.” This tree is one of Bahrain‘s most famous attractions. My Bahraini friend told me that this tree started to grow since 1583. It is about 35 kilometers away from the capital, Manama. What’s mysterious about this tree is how it has survived for over 400 years in a barren area of the desert with no water source. The branches extend to both sides and are about ten meters long, creating a picturesque sight, especially at dusk. The afterglow of the sun accentuates its ancient auras. Since it is the only standing tree in the area, it has attracted many tourists since the beginning of Bahrain tourism. Many travelers in the past carved and marked their names on the trunk. To protect this tree, the Bahraini government built an iron fence around it. The Tree of Life attracts over 50,000 tourists every year.

  • 生命之樹的給我們的省思 / The Inspiring Tree of Life:

這踏旅程我們滿足了好奇心。如果問:生命之樹給了我們什麼啟發?現在的我可以說:連沙漠植物都能具有無窮的毅力與生命力,更何況是理性的人類。再艱困的環境也千萬不要放棄自己。

English Version / 英文版:
We are deeply inspired by this mystical tree: If a tree can have such empowering perseverance and vitality, We human beings with consciousness should be able to get through any obstacles, no matter how difficult life gets.

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