Today we’re meeting an Australian family who’s been living in the Kingdom of Bahrain for 5 years. Tamara and Darryl have two children : Oliver, 8, and Esther, 6 1/2. Tamara stopped working 8 years ago and Darryl is a Project Director for an international engineering firm.
I met Tamara a few months ago through Instagram where she’s got a fabulous account : @ararabiansunshine.
What do you like in your city?
I love the weather which is well for 8 months of the year. It gets oppressive during summer holidays and the country becomes a ghost town!
Then, I like the cultural mix of my friends who come from many places around the world.
We also enjoy exploring our old town with all its old doors, winding alleys and old palaces and the exotic forts. One of my favourite things is the sound of the Call to Prayer 5 times a day : it’s such a lovely soothing exotic sound!
Is it easy to live here when you’re a family?
In many ways life here is very simple and centred around families with young children. All the compounds offer a family friendly environment. The children are free to wander to my close neighbour’s homes. They share tennis lessons with other friends on the compound and the shared pool is always a hub for the kids during the warmer months.
We also have a local large sports club which offres weekly soccer, rugby, netballs training and games for the kids. It’s far from glamorous, but the kids have a degree of independence to run around and it’s a relaxed inexpensive social outlet for families.
The beach clubs at the resort hotels are also very family friendly with lush green gardens, beaches, music and palm trees for a relaxing but active afternoon.
But, as there is very little nature, walking paths or museums for exploring here, the above routine is quite repetitive…
What do you like doing with your kids in the city ?
I have two favourite things to do with my children :
- Firstly a desert BBQ with friends out on a reclaimed deserted island : the boys and men play cricket and soccer, the girls collect shells and run down sand hills. We start a fire and cook our meat, share salads and always finish with roasted marshmallows.
- Secondly our fort, ‘Qal’at at-Bahrain, has an 800 meter walking track surrounding it, striking views down to the water and at sunset turns a beautiful golden colour. Locals riding horses are everywhere and it has a lovely exotic yet community feel in such an ancient historical setting.
In which museums do you go with your children?
There are very few museums in Bahrain. The Bahrain National Museum is a large and beautifully designed museum on the waters edge exploring Bahrain’s culture and history. There’s a couple of interactive exhibits.
Once the kids get bored we catch the boat across the waters to Bu Maher Fort Visitors Centre, which explores Bahrain’s pearling history and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The location of the National Museum is simply striking and is located alongside our National Theatre, another beautiful landmark.
In which restaurants or coffee shops do you go with the kids?
There are many chain restaurants in Malls and new buildings in Bahrain but we tend to gravitate to the independent cafes and restaurants in charming older buildings.
We frequent Words Bookstore and Cafe for instance : it’s A beautiful and light filled independent boutique bookstore and cafe, with a well curated selection of books. The cafe has a simple selection including the best carrot or gluten free chocolate cupcakes in town. They also have regular story times for children (and an active program for adults including cooking demonstrations, independent film screenings, book signings, book clubs etc).
What is your favourite and easiest meal with children?
My son, in particular, is a very fearful eater : homemade burgers and homemade pizza on the weekend are his staples. My daughter enjoys a much wider variety of food such as sushi, risottos, curries and soups …
It makes dinner time stressful trying to cater to everyone’s likes and I often end up making two or three versions of a meal each dinner time!!!
My favourite recipe is a cold cucumber soup * (see recipe below at the bottom of the article).
When the weather is bad, what do your children do at home?
When there is bad weather (sandstorms and heat) my children will tinker at home.
Oliver loves playing Wii games (which he is allowed for an hour on both weekend days), reading, playing indoor soccer or hockey or play pretend battles with his army men, war planes and blocks and of course his Star Wars LEGO!!
Esther enjoys drawing, certain and crafting (we are crazy for the Djeco craft and art kits). Pencils are scattered everywhere throughout the house. She is also the master of all tinkering so Lego, Sylvanian Families and her Maileg are often spread out too. She started learning violin this past year so her she is often practising this.
As a family we enjoy playing Monopoly, Blokus, Flipper Soccer, Djeco Sardines and Bird Bingo and Battleships.
What books do your kids love?
My 8 year old is currently obssesede with Harry Potter. We introduced the books to him in April and he just finished book 4 last night!
This year alone he has read all the Tom Gates series (by L. Pichon). He also enjoys child appropriate books about World War 1&2, Battleships and War Planes.
My daughters favourites are numerous too : The Sandwich Swap by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah (of Jordan) or also All Through the Year and Today We Have No Plans by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker (Australian)
Cold Cucumber Soup*
- 1 large Cucumber peeled, seeded and diced (or 6 small)
- 1/2 cup yellow raisins
- 4 tbsp walnuts
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped mint
- 1/2 dried mint
- 2 spring onions finely chopped
- 1 tsp sea salt
- pepper to taste
- 1 tsp rose petals
- A mix of yoghurts such as greek, natural, low fat – approx 600-800g
Mix all the ingredients together except the rose petals. Garnish with rose petal. Can be served as a soup or side salad alongside kebabs and leafy salad.
Thank you very much, Tamara, for this great interview. We now have tips and good addresses to visit Bahrain with our family!
See you soon for a swimwear sélection for all the family members!