Even as hundreds of thousands of roses are being shipped into Bahrain for Valentine's Day, florists say the figure is down from last year amid concerns that home deliveries could be disrupted tomorrow (February 14). Wholesaler and importer Rolanda Chocolates and Flowers pre-ordered 150,000 roses this year, 110,000 less than a year ago. 'Last year we brought 260,000 roses into Bahrain and this year is slightly less, but this has nothing to do with the demand,' said owner and wholesale manager Ahmed Malik. 'This year, the owners of flower shops said they were a little scared to make large orders as no one knows whether the roads will be shut or not. But now they are suddenly ordering more and we have had an extra order for 35,000 red roses.” 'The demand is still excellent and at the end of the day, people still love each other and they want to buy flowers. They are ready to pay what they want for red roses, which are the most popular this year, and while we cannot make magic happen we will try our best to get the orders in for the shops. I thank the Interior Ministry for keeping the roads open and supporting us,” he added. His wife Rola Adnan, who is in charge of the retail operation, said business had been brisk, although orders had not been as extravagant.
'Unfortunately, my biggest customer - who decorated his boat last year with roses - is not celebrating this year,' she said. 'Our biggest order yet is 300 red roses from a customer who comes every year. 'We are not afraid of anything when it comes to deliveries, especially as it is a Tuesday so the majority of orders are going to offices during the morning. We have also been supplying some hotels and restaurants with flowers to decorate their tables and I have been working on one large project. 'One customer has asked for us to decorate his table at the restaurant with roses, candles and balloons so that it stands out from the rest. It isn't as big as the yacht order, but it is still special.' She revealed a large number of customers had been women, who said they were decorating their homes for their husbands. 'I have found a lot of women ordering large quantities of roses for their houses and I suppose it is because people are not going out as much at the moment.' Singapore Flowers owner Steve Vlajic said his delivery team would take extra precautions tomorrow, but the shop would continue to deliver and be open for business. 'Of course we will be open and delivering on the run up to Valentine's Day and on the day itself, while taking double precaution on February 14,' he said. 'We have an order of BD1,500 ($3,978) of roses to be delivered today and this year we are offering a huge variety of roses, with the expectation of last minute orders.' Valentine's Day this year is characterised by uncertainty, coinciding with the first anniversary of the start of anti-government protests last year.
Street violence by anti-government groups and concerns that some roads could be closed also mean many couples will be celebrating at home. 'My boyfriend Richard normally buys me flowers on Valentine's Day and it's not really in celebration of Valentine's, but it's still nice to receive flowers,' said secretary Sarah Fraser, 25. 'This year we will have dinner at home as it's more relaxed and feels more personal. 'The situation in Bahrain hasn't really affected our decision about what we are going to do. We don't really celebrate Valentine's that much, but it's a good excuse to spend some quality time together.' A British couple, who asked to be identified only as Ben and Victoria, have chosen to delay their Valentine's Day celebrations until the weekend - when they will travel to Oman for a short break. 'We have been living in Bahrain for nearly two years and we both work long hours which makes it difficult to spend as much time together as we would like,' said Victoria. 'Because we don't know what is going to happen and the state of the roads, we have decided to stay in tomorrow and have a meal at home.'
A Bahraini couple decided to celebrate Valentine's Day last weekend due to uncertainty about the situation tomorrow. 'We already celebrated a few days ago because we were worried about the situation and what might happen on the actual night, and also we are both working tomorrow so it is easier to celebrate it in advance,' said the woman who asked to be named only as Sara.