Parking, Bahraini-style

An interesting (and often dangerous) set of behaviors to learn in a foreign land is how to drive. Bahrain is no exception. In fact, every single day I am surprised by something I see someone do on the roadways. 

In Bahrain, we drive on the right side, just like in America. That’s about as far as the comparison in driving goes. 

On the roads, the “Insha”Allah” (God willing) mindset is alive and well, which sometimes means the drivers are not. 

Seat belts? No need. 

Turning left from the far right hand lane? Why not? 

Driving 130 kph and weaving in and out of 4 lanes of traffic? You bet! 

Creating a lane for yourself on the shoulder or between cars already in their lanes? Of course. 

Roundabouts? Don’t get me started…

Today, however, I have to admit. I crossed over to “Bahraini-driver” status. How, you may be wondering? 


Parking is a fascinating endeavor here. People park anywhere and everywhere in any way, shape, and form that’s convenient. Imagine a Jenga game turned horizontally, and you have a vision of most parking lots here. And where there is no parking lot, people simply make one.

When I went to the bank today (another interesting, though not dangerous set of behaviors to learn), there was no parking available. I drove around the entire lot. Nothing. And you can’t just reenter the lot, because the bank is on a divided road. So, what else was I going to do? I saw a place and I took it. 

Right up on the sidewalk. 

And the best part was the car that followed me through the bank lot had no hesitation in pulling up right behind me on the sidewalk! 

As we exited our cars, we gave each other a knowing nod and smile.

Because that’s what Bahrainis do. 

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