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Surveys have consistently shown eating out to be one of Bahrain’s most popular pastimes, with close to 90 per cent visiting a restaurant at least once a fortnight.
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Around the island in 24 hours
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Around the island in 24 hours
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Stopping for a smoke and coffee - Arabic style: Although it feels as though half the day is already gone it isn't quite 8.30am when we arrive in Manama for an early walk through some side streets of the city. We visit a couple of shops selling shisha pipes and items for this most traditional way of smoking in Bahrain, sometimes known as `hubble bubble'.

The pipes and bottles, with their wide range of vivid colours set against a clear morning sun, make good close-ups. I also get some other interesting photographs since just around the corner are two tobacco shops preparing whole tobacco leaves whose pleasant aroma unfortunately cannot be captured on film.

A few metres further on and we stop for a welcome break at a typical Arabic coffee shop in one of the pedestrian-only side streets. An excellent local yoghurt and tea goes down well after all the recent activities, made all the more pleasant by striking up a conversation with two Saudi men at the next table who prove most interesting and friendly to chat to. In fact so much so that I have one of my more unusual moments of being in front of the camera to have my photograph taken with them. More unusual still is their insistence on paying for our breakfast and being treated as their guests!

The coffee shop has its own bakery, presenting another very photogenic subject before we move on - though not very far, for just around the corner is another similarly friendly coffee shop, this time frequented by locals who came to exchange and sell their own range of jewellery of rings and beads. My Australian friends have a most enjoyable time viewing and bartering for some items so again I have more subjects for my camera.

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