A Cocktail of Red Velvet Cake, Art and Birthday Presents

Melissa's Bday Portrait by Loredana. In front of Al Riwaq, they are sitting on grass sofas by a local artist. Notice the mural of the women. Only in Bahrain will you see that.

“Please join me on the terrace of the Al Riwaq Gallery to celebrate my birthday with tea and cake – 10:30am”

Only my friend Melissa van Maasdyk could glam up her birthday in the morning.  As I fooled around with the clock last night, Mojo asked, “You are setting your alarm on a holiday?”

“I don’t want to miss Melissa’s party,” I told him.  “I’ll need time to get ready.”

Ready because I knew Melissa’s cafe table would be surrounded by a stylish coterie of interesting women.

Known as one of four original saviors of Bahrain’s Modern Art Scene, Melissa’s universe is filled with artists, writers, poets, musicians, photographers, architects, clothing designers, chefs and restaurateurs.  She is a whirlwind of excitement and always has at least a dozen fantastically fun ideas on the tip of her tongue.

And her tongue is quick.

When I first met Melissa I could only stare her mouth trying to absorb her South African accent.  Luckily she accommodated this aMERican and kept me as part of her circle of stylish, globe trotting friends.

A fellow Scorpio I appreciated Melissa’s choice of sitting outside on a BEAUTIFUL November morning in the slowly awakening 338 district which became more vibrant after everyone had their coffee.

Scene around Block 338 in November

Fellow spiritual seeker Dierdre and I helped light the candles on the two layer, red velvet cake as Melissa greeted a Kenyan friend who just returned from visiting monks in Tibet.

Pic as I arrive to the Birthday Tea - Melissa in front of Al Riwaq

The rest of the table was filled with Melissa’s group of working women: Amy the British CEO of a branding company, Nicola a fashion/style writer, Loredana the Italian photographer on call 24/7 for royal gatherings, and tri-lingual Salma, a Syrian who taught Melissa Arabic.  BTW Salma’s gorgeous daughter is the lead in the upcoming Faulty Towers next week at the British Club.

And of course who arrived in gold high heels and a leopard skirt?

Maeve the Irish queen of storytelling and travel writer.

Melissa is nearly done with her new guide to everything modern and fashionable to do in Bahrain.  No boredom allowed.

Accompanied by her photographer she has interviewed Bahrainis to find the best of the best.  She sampled, tasted, and explored every alley to come up with this must have guide for anyone visiting Bahrain.  Her city guide will reflect Melissa’s background as a food critic, style editor and travel writer for international magazines.

As Melissa’s ideas poured out, we laughed when we noticed each of us had pulled out a notebook to write down names and places.

This month Happy Birthday Melissa.  Next Month HAPPY BOOK LAUNCH!


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