The advantages of lockdown

During the Corona Virus lock down, I decided to do a spot of Spring cleaning of my study. All went well at the beginning until I started to find things that I’d forgotten about, so of course I welcomed the distraction by checking out my own bits & pieces, which I had not seen for years.

I found an old wallet that I’d used about fifty years ago, so instead of just tossing it in to the bin I opened it and found some money!!

50 Rials

The problem is that I cannot spend the money that I’ve found – as you see the face on this Iranian 50 rial note would not be welcome in Iran today. The face is of the Shah of Iran who was in power from 1941 to 1979 when he was overthrown during the Iranian revolution.

220px-Mohammad_Reza_Pahlavi_2

The Shah died in 1980 – he was 60.

50 reverse

The reverse side of the bank note.

20 rials

I also found a 20 Rial note

20 rials revers

I must have received these notes sometime between 1962 to 1968, and in 1965, based on the information on the internet, a USD was worth 77 rials, so if I try and cash in the two notes I’ll be lucky to get $1 or $8.19 in today’s money, allowing for inflation, but as the Shah is no longer in power . . .I doubt that the Ayatollah will offer any exchange rate.

Khomeini

Ayatollah Khomeini

I also found Bahraini money –

BAH clean In Bahrain 1000 fils equals one Dinar, now this money can be reasonably accurately dated because the Bahraini dinar only came in to existence in 1965, which was six years before they gained their full independence from the British.

BAH clean reverse

Reverse side of the 100-fils note

The use of the word ‘dinar’ is based on the Roman currency denarius, only in a word not in value.
Currently the Bahraini dinar is the second most valuable currency in the world – the first being the Kuwaiti dinar.

Prior to the use of the Dinar, Bahrain used the Gulf rupee, as did most of the Gulf States, and the rupee was issued by India at a rate of 13 & 1/3rd Indian rupees to the British pound, and ten rupees to the Bahraini dinar.

Even today there is a local ‘hark back’ to yesteryear because 100 fils is often referred to as a rupee.

So, my note was worth 2/- (two shillings) in 1965 or in today’s money £1.42 (USD $1.77).

BAH

They also issued notes that were a quarter of a dinar as well as a tenth, as in 100 fils. So, I assume that the above is worth 350 fils when combined or £4.97 (USD $6.21) today, which is about the price of a pint of beer.

BAH reverse

Reverse side of the pint of beer notes . . . .

From memory in the 1960’s Bahrain was the only port in the Gulf that sold alcohol, and in the heat of a Gulf summer a cold Red Barrel was a life saver when ashore.

watneysredbarrelbeersign

In addition to the Iranian and Bahrani currency I also found a couple of India rupee notes.

one rupe

The top one was issued in 1966 and the second on in 1967, I must admit I thought the 1966 note had been issued much earlier until I looked at the note with a magnifying glass.

rupee reverseThe same two notes reversed and if you look closely under the figure ‘1’  you will see 1967 on the cleaner note.

Two rupee

At first, I thought the above two 2 rupee notes were Indian until I realised that they are Sinhalese currency (Ceylon), one issued in 1965 (well used) and one in 1967 (the cleaner note).

Ceylon did not become Sri Lanka until 1972 when they were granted full independence from Britain.

Two rupee revse

Reverse side of the  Sinhalese currency . . .

Japan

My final currency ‘find’ was a 50 sen (Yen) Japanese note. This note was issued during the war between 1942 to 1944, but I think the above was issued around 1942/3, because of the ’96’ stamp.

Japan reverse

Reverse side

When I first visited Japan in 1963 the exchange rate against the British pound was 1060 yen, and at that time the farthing was still legal tender and there were 960 farthings in the pound sterling, so the Japanese yen was worth less than a farthing.

Today the British pound will buy 133.5 Japanese yen which is an 87.4% drop in value, but if I wished to buy the above currency note it would cost me about USD $2.00 or £1.60 or 214 Yen which is 328% increase on the stated value of the note.

The final item that I found in the wallet was a four-leaf clover . . .

4 leaf

Qatar – Bahrain Island & Dammam.

Everyday Life of Doha in the 1960s (5)

The history of Qatar can be traced back 50,000 years. Throughout history various empires controlled the peninsular on which Doha stands .

qatar-crisis-where-is-doha-middle-east-970676

Qatar is the purple bit which is a peninsular, not an island. Manama is the capital of Bahrain and not part of Qatar.

Qatar became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1872, and in 1893 the Ottoman administration imprisoned 16 Qatari leaders. Later a battle took place and the Ottomans lost.
It wasn’t until 1913 that the Ottoman Empire finally renounced sovereignty over Qatar and in 1916 the ruler of Qatar signed a treaty with the British under the Trucial States system. This treaty required the ending of gun running, slavery and piracy by Qatar.

Oil was found in 1938, but due to WW2 it was not exploited until 1949. Qatar suffered from constant unrest for some years and when the British decided to withdraw its military commitment to the area, Qatar became an independent State, it did not join the Trucial States which created the UAE.

We in the Juna arrived in early February 1968 and worked cargo – once again we anchored off and labour came out to us in dhows (see photo at the top of this blog) to unload into cargo dhows, shown below

9568783583_09a9ba372d_5k

Qatar has become the country with the highest per capita income in the world and is regarded as the most advanced Arab state for human development.

They have gone from this –

Al_Zubarah_(6989829695)

to this

Corniche_Doha_Qatar

thanks to having the third largest natural gas reserves in the world.

We had one incident while at anchor, one of our engine room oil pumps blew-up and caused a problem for the engine room, which became covered in oil. One of the engineers was injured, but fortunately not seriously.

A short time later we sailed for Bahrain and this time we went alongside, which allowed us to at least walk around on solid ground that didn’t move all the time.

The one thing that sticks in my mind during our visit to Bahrain was that we could buy cold draught beer – called Red Barrel!

watneysredbarrelbeersign

The only place in the Gulf where you could get a cold beer, other than private clubs such as the British Club in Basrah.

Bahrain has belonged to quite a few empires, from the Persian Empire to the Greeks (who used to call the island Tylos), to the Portuguese, the Omani and eventually the British in 1820 when Bahrain signed a treaty of friendship with the British.

Once again it was the advent of oil in 1932 that brought modernisation to Bahrain, and in 1935 the Royal Navy moved its entire Middle Eastern Command for Bushehr in Iran to Bahrain.

Bahrain in 1820 was the first of the Trucial States, but when the Trucial States became independent in 1971, and they created the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain did not join this creation.

Via a referendum, controlled by the UN, Bahrain voted to become an independent country.

After independence the British moved out and the Americans moved in, and they took over the British facilities, which later became the HQ for the US 5th Fleet.

From Bahrain we sailed a short distance to Al-Dammām, in Saudi Arabia, it is also spelt  Damman with an ‘n’, one of my least favourite destinations.
When I tried to find information about Damman, which is what we used to call the port in the 60’s I failed, so I’ll stick with Dammam, which is the capital of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932, and the area around Dammam lived off pearls and fishing.

In 1936 oil wells were drilled to prove that there were commercial quantities in the Dammam area, and it was well #7 that proved the drillers correct that the area was sitting on a huge ‘lake’ of oil.
More wells were drilled all around Dammam in the 1940’s and 50’s that confirmed that that Dammam was sitting on top of about a quarter of the world’s oil.

A number of times a day one of the officers or a cadet would go on to the quay to check the draught of the Juna.

Each time I went the overpower smell of raw oil would fill my nostrils and take me back to my first, ship which was a tanker.

We carried oil from Mina a Ahmadi in Kuwait to Little Aden in Yemen, sometimes to Europe, and once in mid-winter across the Atlantic to Marcus Hook on the Delaware River near Philadelphia, followed by a back load from Venezuela to Germany.
It took years for me to be free of the taste of crude oil, particularly when I had a bad cough.

At that time the draught was measured in feet and inches – in the illustration below the top left picture shows 27 feet – each figure is six inches high and the gap between each number – 27 to 28 – is 6 inches, so the water level will tell you how much of the ship is underwater at the bow & stern (there were a set of markings at the bow and another set at the stern).

image1448

drat

The above picture shows feet & inches
Since I left the sea the markings are now all metric.

Dammam was ‘dry’, as in the lack of rain & beer, but it was hot, sandy and dry all day and every day, so I doubt that it will ever be on anybody’s ‘bucket list’.

We were only there long enough to unload.

Our next stop would be Kuwait, and their flag is shown below.

Flag_of_Kuwait