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Starting to build a new social life when you move to a new town is never easy but here its a real challenge just to meet people in a social setting. The hotel bar was occupied with Saudi’s meeting their young female escorts for the weekend and a host of (male) European hotel guests. It was a smoky place, fitted out like a gentleman’s club with a band whose collective musical talent was limited. I found myself to be the only female present apart from the escorts and the waiting staff.

Next we tried JJs, an Irish bar of Weatherspoon proportions recommended by one of the rental agents. Here we found ourselves seriously underage. Fishes out of water in a place where the chief aim seemed to be to throw as much alcohol down ones neck as possible after 9pm accompanied by deafening music that precluded any conversation. (Alcohol can only be purchased in specific bars, mostly western hotels or restaurant chains if you don’t have a CPR – a residency certificate.)

Kevin has just two colleagues located here, both of whom have kindly invited out to us supper with their families later this week so that at least is a start in the right direction. However outside of work it seems you have to join a club and, like everything else here, to do that you need a CPR which as yet we don’t have and we have no inkling of when that process will be completed though HR say they are pursuing it.

The British Club offers one glimmer of light on our social horizon. On Sunday we located it despite the difficulty finding a street not named on our map and wrongly named on Google. Now we have an application form, we couldn’t be shown round cos it was the evening. Fortunately they recognise the time it takes to get a CPR so we can submit our application for approval on the strength of a photocopy of the relevant pages of our passport (details page plus entry visa) plus a passport sized photo. And they will find someone to propose and second us as obviously noone knows us here let alone a club member or two. The next committee meeting is on March 8 so lets hope we can sort out the photos and that they approve us. Once members you apparently have access to the other (mainly expat) clubs here for 1 ro 2 BHD a day.

The bright side of all this is that we will probably lose some weight not being able to imbibe several pints of Fuller’s finest twice a week. Plus our habit of glass or two of wine with supper will almost certainly be broken by the time our CPR comes through!