As you step out of baggage reclaim at Bahrain Muharraq, the first smells that assault your senses are cinnamon and coffee, exotic spices from the lands of “Cinnabon” and “Costa”. We drove through the eternal traffic jam that is Bahrain, spotting the BHS, the Debenhams, the Carrefour. We drove across the causeway to Saudi Arabia, its passport control presided over by the twin golden arches of a McDonalds. I drank Coke on the way to the compound.

I am not sure whether I should be mourning the loss of individual countries’ culture, or rejoicing in the fact that the vast homogenous human monoculture that the 20th Century spawned has reached every corner of our planet. Our world may be far off social and economic equality, but at least we share the same memes, and that’s probably where it starts.