The Inshallah Paper

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A meeting with the Ruler...

...minutes later I was escorted out of the hall and into a tiny nearby room, the floor covered in fine silk Persian carpets, where Isa was waiting on a settee. He rose to his feet and came towards us. "Welcome to Bahrain." His English was beautiful, with barely a trace of an accent. "We wish you luck. If you have any problems, come to me." His smile was warm, his courtesy old-style, his manners impeccable. He shook hands, the highly perfumed scent he was wearing still clinging to my palms hours later. The doors closed behind us.
Little was I to know just how important this diminutive regal man was to become to me, and how vital his support would be in this forbidding project of launching - and running - this newspaper, the first English language newspaper in the southern Gulf.

Variety can be the spice of life!...

A dark-haired petite girl, one of a coterie of lesbians, who was personal secretary to a prominent Bahraini merchant, was always sweetness and light when I would see her on my way in to chat with her boss. But she had a dark side. A young British technician, quite a lothario in his way despite being very publicly married, managed to secure a date with her when the coast was clear and his wife was back in England. "I thought I had it cracked," he told me. "She invited me back to her apartment and we started getting down to business. Then she opened the door of her closet. Inside was an array of whips, canes, rubber headmasks and bondage gear. She thrashed me black and blue. I left with a mass of welts and bruises - she even drew blood." A sadder and wiser man, perhaps, but I did not notice that this particular philanderer mended his ways. As an electrician, he should have learned not to confuse his A/C with D/C.

Palace Banquets...

These formal dinners were carefully orchestrated, but there was at least one occasion when things did not quite go according to plan. Through a misunderstanding, perhaps a mistaken signal, the sentries, drivers and servants were let into the banqueting hall before the guests had gone in. The food was cleared in a matter of minutes in a frenzy of snatching, clawing, gnawing and gulping. One who was there told me how one guard thrust his arm deep into the rice, to have another opportunist guest opposite seize it and sink his teeth in it. The real guests, still outside in the courtyard, were treated to a bizarre silhouette show through the windows as dark figures leapt on the tables, arms flying as the food was scattered in this unexpected banqueting bonanza.

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