Coming from Sitra you reach the Alba roundabout and turn left to hit the road leading to Al Dur. Not long after you’ve left the last of the red lights behind, the aspect of the landscape changes and you seem to enter a totally spartan world – of silence, solitude, and a strange sort of beauty.
The linear highway virtually devoid of traffic could be the road to heaven. On the left you occasionally catch a glimpse of the blue streaks of the Gulf waters and on the right lies the illimitable stretch of the desert. No manmade object interferes with the view. There are no roadside hoardings, no kiosks, no vendor on the streetside.
It’s the desert pure desert. The classic stretch of sand with not a blade of grass or a shaggy bush or a clump of date palms to ‘distract’ the view … the vision. Bahrain otherwise is not a desert country in the sense that the UAE, or Saudi Arabia are imagined to be. Remember the 1962 film ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ or the minutely descriptive accounts of Rab Al Khali and the Abu Dhabi deserts by the greatest 20th-century explorer Wilfred Thesiger?
But this stretch of Bahrain desert is neither daunting nor menacing nor desolate. Because we all know the size of our island and realize that though the desert might look vast it is indeed a not-all-that-immeasurable stretch.
Like anywhere, the desert changes its hues with the passage of the day. We drove past it in the late afternoon and it was the colour of an overripe peach. And the dunes undulated like the contours of a beautiful woman lolling languorously…