Most people crowding into the Kingdom of Bahrain's tent at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games don't know what it is (a tiny island-nation in the Persian Gulf) or what it does (oil, banking, pearls and equestrian sports).
They do know that it gives out the best free stuff.
"I want one of them silver boxes!" a schoolboy shouted Tuesday, groping across the front counter for a silver jewelry box, one of the few giveaways remaining. Other freebies, such as a handsomely illustrated book on Arabian horses, were long gone.
"OK, but where are your manners?" asked Farrah Duff, a marketing officer with the Bahraini Economic Development Board, speaking with a crisp British accent. "What is the magic word?"
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"Um. Please?" the boy offered. Duff handed him a jewelry box with the admonition, "There. Now, give it to your mother as a present."
Bahrain is the only country to host its own tent at the Games, reflecting the deep interest of its ruler, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, in equine endurance competition.
The tent is decorated with photos and videos showing the modern skyline of Bahrain's capital, Manama. It promotes the kingdom as an open, progressive place for business investment.
"People are interested. They want to know more about our people, about our culture," Duff said.
"And we have the good giveaways," added one of her colleagues, Mohammed Abdulla al-Muharraqi.
Steven Blumrosen of Georgetown, a volunteer security guard at the Games, became so intrigued by Bahrain after he toured the tent last weekend that he searched the Web for more information. Blumrosen returned Tuesday to chat with the Bahrainis.
"Your country is supposed to be very diverse," Blum rosen told Duff.
"We are very cosmopolitan," she agreed. "We have different nationalities and different religions living there. We even have a Jewish family."
"One family?" asked Blumrosen.
"It is a big family," Duff replied.
"I'd love to visit that region," he said. However, he explained, he is of Jewish ancestry. "I keep remembering the stories about people like me who would be killed if they go there."
"Oh, good heavens!" she said. "Absolutely not. Whoever told you such a thing?"
"People who just barely escaped that region with their lives," he said. "I'm older than you are. I can remember a different time."
"It is different than what you see in the media," she said. "We are a very warm, loving people. We're not all terrorists because we are Muslims."
Blumrosen thanked her for her time and exited the tent with two jewelry boxes.