Little Miss Drama

Stop-over at Manama, Bahrain

on February 26, 2013

I was flying to Amman from Manila for a business trip. I had a stop over at Manama for just an hour before flying to Amman. However, my flight from Manila to Manama got delayed in leaving Manila for almost an hour. By the time I reached Manama, the flight to Amman that I was supposed to take has already left.

I was traveling alone and none of the Filipinos I was with from the plane were going to Amman. And this was also my first time in Manama so I was not really familiar with the airport. Most of the people who were in transit were men and the line going through the checkpoint area took forever. Nervous that I have already missed my flight, I asked one Filipino guy in front of me where he was bound and he said in KSA. He told me that they were also already late for their flight.

By the time I reached the counter to ask about my flight to Amman, the guy behind it told me that the next flight was already bound for the next day. I asked him, “Seriously?!” I really thought he was just kidding but he was not. He said it would be around 7:30am the next day. He changed the boarding pass I had with me and asked me to go to another woman in the counter.

The woman behind the counter looked scary. She asked me if there was anyone else going to Amman from the line of Filipinos behind me. Nobody answered so I went over to the group of Filipinos waiting in line and asked again the same question. No one else was flying to Amman. It was just really me. Oh well.

The woman behind the counter told me that I would be staying at Golden Tulip Hotel for the night and dinner would also be provided by Gulf Air. She also told me to give that piece of paper outside to the Gulf Air’s rep and just wait for the bus that would pick us up.

From that area, I could not find any exit unless I go through the checkpoint area again counterflowing the swarm of people coming in. I was not sure if I could do that so I decided to go through the escalator going to the airport’s lounge first. I kept roaming around the lounge but of course there was no exit from there unless I go down again, which I eventually did. Then, I went to one guy and asked how I could get out from that area. He told me to follow him so we could both go to the Immigration area. We definitely did a counterflow on that checkpoint area and he asked one airport crew to remove the block from one side so we could pass. Hmmm…

And so, I was tired, starving and still waiting in line at the Immigration counter. I did not know on whether I still had to get my luggage or I would just get it once I am in Amman. One friend I was texting with told me that she knows that I would have to get it. I asked the Immigration officer and he said that there was no need. Not convinced with the Immigration Officer’s answer, partly thinking that he did not really understood my question clearly, I asked another guy working at the airport and he also said no. So I went out and looked for the Gulf Air’s rep to ask about the hotel. It was already around 7:30pm, Manama time. The rep told me to wait and they will just call us once the bus arrives.

I waited for more than an hour. I was really starving but I could not leave because they might just call at any time and I might get left behind. The number of people sitting where I was, started increasing that I got to feel annoyed with the noise and the smell and just felt more tired. And alas! the bus was there. There was no line or a system for the throng of people who were to take the bus to the hotel. The bus started to fill up and then there was only one seat left, which was very obvious, but the girl with her child and husband in front of me seemed not to grasp the idea that her family won’t fit that freakin’ bus anymore. I really wanted to yell at her for being so stupid asking the Gulf Air crew on whether they can still fit all in. Ugh! The crew eventually told her that there’s only one seat left and he needs one who’s just alone (duh?!) and that the rest had to wait for the second bus. I said I’m alone and then went inside the bus. I was seated just near the door of the bus so I was also the first one to come out and go to the hotel. Thank goodness!

I was the first one to be given a room. I went right away to my room, refreshed a bit, and went outside to have my dinner. One of the attendants pointed me out the restaurant where I was supposed to have it. Naturally, I dined alone. There were no other Filipinos in that restaurant. Most of those dining alone were men. After that, I asked the Filipina from the reception area how I could make an international call (mainly because I didn’t have any credit anymore on my roaming phone) and I still had to call the guy in Jordan about what happened to my flight so that the driver could come back to Amman airport to pick me up the next day. I also asked her how much an internet access is for an hour.

When I finally got to do and have everything that I needed, I started to take photos of my room.

Image

The room I stayed in at Golden Tulip Hotel

I wanted to go out and actually explore Bahrain but one of my friends, Cher, who lives there now was flying out to Thailand that night with her hubby and Hanson, another friend who works in Bahrain, had no car and he said his place was far from where I was staying. I tried to go out of the hotel and checked whether there were nearby places I could check out but the hotel was situated in a kind-of-deserted place so I decided to just stay in the room and surf the net instead.

I hit the sack around 1am already. I was told we would leave the hotel at 5:30am. I was informed from the reception that I was flying with two more people. I was up at 5am and by 5:30am I was at the hotel’s lobby waiting. Two more men were waiting as well.

When the van that will bring us to the airport arrived, we three silently went inside until we reached the airport. Just after we passed security, I talked to the guy in front of me. When he found out that it would be my first time to see Amman, he told me to just stick with him. His name is Yassin and is a Jordanian national.

We were early for our flight so there was no gate assigned yet. We decided to have coffee at Starbucks while we waited. There, we saw the other guy we were with from the hotel and we also joined him. I didn’t get his name but he was going to Palestine (if my memory serves me right) and he is a Nepali national. Both him and Yassin came from the same flight.

We three waited for a long time until the gate was announced for our flight. Once we boarded the plane, I never saw these two men again.

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