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Bahrain

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The Kingdom of Bahrain, or Bahrain (Arabic: ????? ???????), is a borderless island nation in the Persian Gulf (Southwest Asia/Middle East, Asia). Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain by the King Fahd Causeway (officially opened on November 25, 1986), and Qatar is to the south across the Persian Gulf. The Qatar-Bahrain Friendship Bridge, currently being planned, will link Bahrain to Qatar as the longest fixed link in the world.

Bahrain is a generally flat and arid archipelago, comprising of a low desert plain rising gently to a low central escarpment, in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia. The highest point is the 122 m Jabal ad Dukhan.

Considered to be one of the fifteen states that comprise the so-called "Cradle of Humanity" in the Middle East, Bahrain has a total area of 688 km˛ (266 mi˛), which is slightly larger than the Isle of Man, though it is smaller than the nearby King Fahd Airport in Dammam, Saudi Arabia which covers 780 km˛ (301 mi˛). As an archipelago of 33 islands, Bahrain does not share a land boundary with another country but does have a 161 kilometres (528 mi) coastline and claims a further 12 nautical miles (22 km) of territorial sea and a 24 nautical mile (44 km) contiguous zone. Bahrain enjoys mild winters and endures very hot, humid summers.

Bahrain's natural resources include large quantities of oil and associated and nonassociated natural gas as well as fish stocks, which is perhaps fortunate as arable land constitutes only 1% of the country. Desert constitutes 92% of Bahrain and periodic droughts and dust storms are the main natural hazards for Bahrainis.

Environmental issues facing Bahrain include desertification resulting from the degradation of limited arable land and coastal degradation (damage to coastlines, coral reefs, and sea vegetation) resulting from oil spills and other discharges from large tankers, oil refineries, and distribution stations. The agricultural and domestic sectors' over-utilization of the Dammam aquifer, the principal aquifer in Bahrain, has led to its salinization by adjacent brackish and saline water bodies.

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Taxi's in Manama are negotiable in price. They will ask for as much as 15 dinar ($30-$40 US) but you should not pay more than 3 dinar for a ride anywhere in the city. Hard negotiation will be necessary to accomplish this. Taxis are supposed to be metered. The drivers will often say their meter is broken, or cover it. Insist they use their meter, or call Radio Meter Taxi (+973 17 682999) or Speedy Cab for a fair honest price.

There are also public buses that run to many parts of the island. Bus fares are low, but understanding the system can be very confusing for visitors, due to difficulties in obtaining bus schedules and maps.

Drink plenty of water. April through November can be very hot (up to 45 ēC) and humid. It is important to stay hydrated, especially if you are outdoors during the day. Bottled water is sold practically everywhere in the city from "Cold Stores" and small restaurants at very reasonable prices. In the souk, walking vendors offer small chilled bottles but you may end up paying more than the bottle is really worth. If you are living in Bahrain for an extended period of time, you can set up an arrangement for a neighborhood Cold Store to delliver bottled water to your flat, or sign up for water delivery through several companies on the island.