Philly to West Coast for $76/one way, and 5 cool things to do in Bahrain

Just wanted to throw another flight deal at y’all.  United is running a sale apparently between select West Coast cities and Philadelphia.  The trick with booking this is to enter in ZFV for the airport code instead of PHL.  The trip is to and from Philadelphia 30th street TRAIN station, via Newark EWR airport.  I was able to pick up the fare from LAX for around $180, not the cheapest, but WAYYYY cheaper than going to PHL on the date I needed (last day of finals, peace out!)

My plans aren’t certain for my break.  I need to be in Philly for a conference, anniversary party hosted by my blog-writing friend Amy over at recoveringoboist.com (she interviewed me for one of her posts), some gigs, and maybe a family meetup if I can squeeze it in!  Then I might head up north of the border for KlezKanada.  I am waiting to hear if I got a scholarship, fingers crossed!  While I’m up there it would be great to visit some places like Montreal, Québec City, and Niagara Falls, none of which I’ve been to.

I saw that the $76 fare had been posted again, the only thing was that it was to San Diego, not Los Angeles.  I’ve been meaning to get to San Diego for more than a few hours (did a radio broadcast one afternoon over a year ago with Free Range Orkestar.  Side note: you can watch a video of over on YouTube– ironic for a radio broadcast, right?).  I looked up the costs to get to eastern Canada from Philly both ways, vs getting there from Phily and going directly back to LA.  It would save me well over $100 to fly back to San Diego and take trains to and from Canada ($60-65 with AAA discount), so I hopped on the fare.

I hope to get a ride back from San Diego, but if not, it’s possible to get back for under $10 taking only local transport!  I might go with a slightly more expensive and much faster direct bus ($25) or train ($38 with AAA discount).  I’ll also finally get the chance to spend a day or two in San Diego before a very studious semester studying for the pre-clinical exams at Yo San University.

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Apparently a few people actually read my last post, and were concerned about my trip to Bahrain.  To be honest, I’m not sure if I WILL spend any time in Bahrain.  I saw a RT to Oman for $170 or so, and other places for a bit more.  For instance, as of now, Amman, Jordan is a little over $400, Kathmandu, Nepal is just under $400.  I could go to Columbo, Sri Lanka for $325.  Now, recall that I spent only TWO HUNDRED TEN dollars on my trip.  This means round trip to Amman or Kathmandu, from LAX = around 610, Columbo = $535.  Not a bad deal at all!  And again it will earn me lots of miles to make the trip I’m planning basically free, and earn me free upgrades to business class.

I would, however, like to take the opportunity to check Bahrain out while I’m there, and it looks like there are a couple things to do during a day or two stay:

1. The  “Tree of Life”

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This is a tree that is growing smack dab in the middle of Bahrain’s desert.  No one knows how it is getting water.  The roots apparently cannot reach any aquifer nearby.  One theory is that it’s adapted itself to intake saline water.  Who knows?  I love trees and probably won’t be able to resist taking a peek.

2. Bahrain Pearling Trail

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Back in the days before petroleum became one of the driving forces of global economy, Bahrain made its fortune in the local pearl trade.  In the 1930s, Japan pioneered techniques of culturing pearls, and the trade in the Middle East began a steady decline.  The old buildings of Bahrain’s pearl merchants have been preserved as a 3.5km trail Heritage Site established by UNESCO.

3. Qal’at al-Bahrain (Bahrain Fort)

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As an island nation off the Persian Gulf, Bahrain has been a crucial port for seafaring nations for over 5,000 years!  The Bahrain Fort was first built 3,000 years ago, and the present fort dates to approximately the 6th century CE.  This is another UNESCO site.

4. Al-Fatih Mosque

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This is the largest mosque in Bahrain, and one of the largest in the world.  It can accommodate over 7,000 worshippers!  I am mixed on visiting mosques on my recent travels to Turkey and Spain.  The architecture is just amazing, but I don’t like how often slogans in Arabic, even if in florid, embellished script, seem to me to be plastered all over inside.  At any rate, it is definitely something to check out between the hours of 9-5 (except Fridays), or a walk or drive-by at night.

5. Bab el-Bahrain Souk

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It’s hard to imagine a visit to an Arabic-influenced country without a trip to the market.  “Souk” is the word for bazaar in the Persian Gulf, and apparently Bab el-Bahrain is quite lively.

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3 thoughts on “Philly to West Coast for $76/one way, and 5 cool things to do in Bahrain

  1. Carol Webster

    It looks interesting. However,some extrememists hate Americans and especially women.I don’t want anything to happen to you. You remember that an American woman who was traveling alone was murdered in Turkey right after you left. Find a friend please to go with you. Mom

    1. Hi,
      I appreciate your concern of course. Yes, horrible things can happen to people, but they can happen anywhere. The US is a much more dangerous country than many in the Middle East. If one travels with respect for the culture they are much less likely to get hassled. Research beforehand of EVERYTHING you would want to be doing also is a huge help, it will limit your possibilities to get into a situation you don’t have control over.

      I could go into it more, but this post is just so eloquent: http://twenty-somethingtravel.com/2013/02/female-solo-travel-is-not-the-problem/

      Anyway I DO hope to find a partner for that particular trip. Am looking!

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