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Friends and Family,

Since Thailand we have continued west and are now in the Persian Gulf We passed through the Straits of Hormuz a couple days ago and pulled into Bahrain for a 3 day working port visit. We had a lot of work to do while there but I managed to get a couple hours here and there to get off the ship and into town. Bahrain is a pretty interesting place. Ihighly recommend it as a vacation spot, if you are a devout Muslim. If Muslims feel a little constrained at home they tend to go to Babrain to let their hair down a little. It is relatively western compared to Saudi Arabia or Kuwait.
Because of my limited time there, I did not really get to see too much. Both nights out we went into the Souk (sook) which is a type of open air market. It kind of reminded me of a China town you may find in a big city in the U.S.. It certainly was a change of pace from our nights in Thailand but we still had a good time. Unfortunately, I did not do to much souvenir shopping due to a pretty bad exchange rate ($3.77 = 1 Babraini Dinar). I did pick up some local spices that I was told were significantly more expensive in the U.S.. Anyone eating in the Caricato house for the next year or so can expect a lot of saffron and curry.
As always I had to test my guts with some of the local cuisine. I figured you can't go much more native than getting in line with a bunch of Bahrainis at a street vendor selling shwarmas. A shwarma is like a gyro. Plus they were pretty cheap. After night #2 I realized a couple rules of thumb when eating shwarmas: #1 They taste really good following a couple beers. #2 They don't taste as good prior to those beers. #Do not ever, under any circumstances watch the vendor prepare your shwarma or look too hard at it while you are eating it. Needless to say, my guts decided it was time to send me a message and I was down hard for about a day after that. The moral of the story; you are safer sampling this cuisine at a gyro stand in the food court of your local mall and even that is a 100% guarantee.
I wish I had more to write but we have been pretty busy preparing for our next evolution. By the time you receive this letter I will be ashore in Kuwait for some training. For this reason I will be incommunicado for a while but will be looking forward to hearing from you all once I am back on the ship.

Good luck to the athletes from Inland Inferno and everyone else competing in Ironman California next week. I will be thinking about you guys on the 19th and I am looking forward to hearing all the details.

12 May, 2001