"Where's that?" asked my mom.
Loud sigh, "IT'S IN THE MIDDLE EAST, GLENDA," said my dad. He was not impressed. I was, though. I'd started learning to belly dance in earnest when I was in Korea, and I was eager to live in the culture, to learn about it unbiased by the media, relying on my own perceptions and experiences. Those experiences taught me that no, Muslims are not all terrorists. Some of them are zealots, some are hypocrites, some are heartfelt believers (so, basically, just like Christians, apart from a few points of doctrine). The men can be total and utter assholes, but aren't necessarily. The women may be extremely kind and utterly gorgeous, or they may not. It isn't my favorite place I've lived - in fact, I think it was the hardest year of my life, but that had less to do with the culture than it did with the school. But anyways.
I mentioned in yesterday's post that being Mormon is really helpful when it comes to finding your feet in a new country. The church in Bahrain organized a sightseeing day during that Eid, and I brought my heinous, bitchy roommates with me (don't let anyone tell you I don't try to be nice). We visited Qal'at al-Bahrain, the World Heritage fortress on the north end of the island that is one of the few preserved historic sites in the country. We also visited the "Tree of Life." Bahrain is one of the suggested sites of the Garden of Eden, with this big tree in the middle of nowhere supposedly being THE tree. But my favorite part of the tour was the camel farm. I got to take a short ride (that didn't even remotely prepare me for the camel trek I would go on when I visited Wadi Rum in Jordan) and even did a camel (a belly dance undulation) WITH A CAMEL!