Every so often I come across a batch of photos that I parked and somehow, forgot about – either forgot to post or edit or share or all of the above. Bahrain was one of those trips, taken last year, and a little bit by mistake no less (let’s call it a last-minute woe of passports and visas and overlooked expiration dates). So what was supposed to be a desert camping and beach trip to the Emirates, ended up being a bit of an impromptu turn to Bahrain… if people are interested, I can talk more about the trip (and specifically how to plan time with tots there if you have no pre-existing plan, and how to spend time outdoors in a place in that doesn’t normally make plans for spending time outdoors…) but in the meantime, I thought I’d share a few colorful snaps of a surprise play area we found in the Adliya district of Manama.
I say “surprise play area” since playgrounds outdoors aren’t normally a thing easy to come by in the Gulf, and certainly not in this non-import format. We actually had a lovely playground on our hotel grounds, but that caters mostly to expat children that were hotel guests. We came to the Adliya district to eat at the yummy Cafe Lilou (seriously, drop by if you find yourself expectedly or unexpectedly in Manama), and took a walk around the neighborhood after visiting the Old Town area and the main mosque, and stumbled on this colorful area.
Adliya is isn’t quite as historic as the Old Town but much more so than the contemporary corniche developments, so the ability to walk and explore is something rather rare in the Gulf, not to mention to find that in combination with a play space as well as with a public space that supports the arts. The three together is a bit like finding a Holy Grail of sorts.
So while this space doesn’t fit the mold of many of the natural playgrounds that we feature here, I still appreciated how much it must have taken to build a space of its kind in an urban center….still with some greenery (even the occasional cactus – seemed more of a hazard here but still, I’ll take green in any form) to round out an otherwise raw space. I loved the bright colors that softened the rougher textures of the materials. And as of our tot, she didn’t love playing here any less!