7 things about Kuwait

So I’ve been here a little over two weeks and have noticed a few things and thought I’d point out seven that stood out for me. (In no particular order)

1. Their bread is big. At least that which I’ve run across so far. Their bagels are huge and their Ethiopian bread even bigger.

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2. Everyone has a very clean bottom… I presume. Every bathroom I’ve been in so far has one of these hoses next to the toilet. I believe it’s like a hand-use bidet.

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3. Hospitality is a well-known trait of Middle Eastern cultures, and here they take it very seriously. I have not seen so much food at events in … ever. And restaurant meals are HUGE with appetizers and complimentary bread and hummus. So far dessert doesn’t seem to be a big part. While it may be tacky Western, I’ve been bringing home a doggie bag because I can’t deal with just tossing away another meal’s worth of food. It’s all delicious too. It’s certainly cutting down on my food bills. 🙂

This is not one of my meals, but is indicative of a medium sized meal. Some I've received are bigger. *keels over dead*

This is not one of my meals, but is indicative of a medium-sized meal. Some I’ve received are bigger. *keels over dead*

4. Mocktails/juice. Kuwait is a dry country. Yes, as diplomats we have access to a certain amount of alcohol for use on our premises but while out at restaurants no alcohol is available. However, they have all kinds of interesting juice combinations in place of the usual long cocktail or wine list. I have had some really tasty combinations and it’s fun to explore. They are also far less expensive that a traditional cocktail back home. I’ve also discovered strawberry juice which is very popular here. It’s delicious and when you mix it with lemonade, even better.

14177736-tequila-sunrise-blue-lagoon-rum-runner-et-bahama-mama-cocktails-sur-fond-noir-sur-la-surface-de-reflThe strawberry juice is thicker (hence it’s nice with lemonade if you aren’t used to the texture). It’s not strained and clear like cranberry juice, it’s more like tossing strawberries directly in the blender with some sugar and then straining out the seeds. I love it.

strawberry-juice

5. Camels. Or lack-thereof. Unsurprisingly, I have not seen any camels in the city. I did read in some statistics that there are over 10,000 camels in Kuwait (domestic if you will) and I’m trying to find out what they do with them exactly. Everyone kind of shrugs. Maybe meat, maybe milk. They’re not sure, but there are some who can sell for over a million dollars because they are “an ideal camel”. I was promised that most diplomats are invited to a ranch out in the desert in February and that I will get a chance to see a camel up close and personal.

CAMEL

6 Space. While Kuwait is a relatively small country and Kuwait City looks small on the map, it’s much bigger than you suspect. In part because nearly all the population lives in the city or the extended city, and because there is so much space, there is often a lot of open space between buildings or complexes. Sure my residential neighborhood is pretty tight, but out on the highways, there is a lot of open space and not many tall buildings except in the core. So sometimes on the map it doesn’t look that far, but then when I check it will be 20km. It can be deceiving until you get used to it I suppose. I’m not sure how old this picture is below, but you still see large open areas/lots like that when you are driving.

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7. The heat. Yes, Kuwait is hot. Every day the weather has been pretty much exactly the same, sunny and 42C (107F). However the humidity has been usually around 10% or lower. The definition of a dry heat.  I missed the August humidity and I have to say, while I’m not going out for a walk in the heat or standing in the sun, sometimes it’s not bad and it’s all relative. The other morning I went out to the cab to go to work around 7:30 and I was “It’s a beautiful morning today. Nice and cool.” His response was “Yes, ma’am. It’s very nice, 36 degrees.” I can tell you, if it was 36C (96F) in Ottawa, I’d be whining and bitching. 🙂 We’ll see what I have to say when it hits 50C (122F)in July. But I have to say, I thought it would be worse and I really think it IS the humidity which is the bitch.

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There you have it. My first impressions of Kuwait. So far, so good. I can certainly get anything here I could get in Europe or North America, probably more. 🙂 The people have all been super friendly and patient when I’ve completely forgotten who they are after meeting them in a crowd. The last of my things arrives tomorrow or Wed. so I’ll be able to put up pictures and decorate some. Right now it’s bare-wall-beige chic. It will feel more like home and less like I’m just squatting.

I will keep an eye out for camels. I was told the caught a lion out on the 7th Ring Road (I live between 3rd & 4th – but remember the distance) as apparently wild animals as pets, (that you can no longer look after so get away) are common here, especially cheetahs. Go figure.

If things keep going the way they are, I’m really going to enjoy it here. Although I’m sure once I start driving I’ll be able to do a whole post on idiot drivers. 🙂

Conversations with my kid #4

Baked goods
I haven’t chatted with my kid on-line for awhile, of course it quickly turned into our usual twisted conversation.


 This bakery near by is hiring!
Shifts are from 2-7am


 Tam Ames  Right up your alley.
If you don’t have class until 4:00 you can sleep from 8-2
Free buns
You need someone hiring in Sept. not May.


  i know I just want to know what people do out here on the west coast for work


Tam Ames  Same things they do in the rest of the country I presume.


  so many more hotel jobs out here than in ottawa


Tam AmesI suppose. More tourist oriented things year around.


 FOOD TOUR GUIDE JOB ugh that’d be great
 25 an hour PLUS TIPS
 AND FOOD


Tam Ames  LOL That’s a deal.


 “Star of the show mentality” is one of the qualifications
 “advanced story telling skills”
 “theatre experience”


Tam Ames  There you go.
Wear a boa to the interview.
The feather thing, not the snake.


 YOU HAVE TO WRITE A “WITTY EXPLANATION” OF WHY THEY SHOULD PICK YOU. why aren’t i here this summer


Tam Ames  Sorry.


 i could’ve been somebody. I COULD’VE BEEN A CONTENDER.


Tam Ames LOL A contender for the food tour guide job.


 YOU GOT PRIORITY IF YOU UPLOADED A CREATIVE VIDEO TO THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE AS YOUR APPLICATION
  Tiffany and Co. is hiring


Tam Ames  Ohhhh. Employee discount?


  Moxie’s is hiring as well, too bad I’m not 5’9, blonde and size 2


Tam AmesTo be a sales clerk? Sheesh. Hoity toity.
LOL
I say if you want to be a waiter you need to get in the Keg. Because the bills are high you get big tips.


 OMG OMG I JUST REALIZED
 SECOND TERM OF NEXT YEAR I’ll BE ELIGIBLE TO BE A TV EXTRA


Tam AmesYay!!!!! Then I can say I know someone famous.
Um. Why?


 So there is a huge company here who organizes extras, but you have to have at least a full 24 hour day in your schedule FREE that’s not a weekend. in order to be considered




So keep an eye out for my kid next year as someone sitting in a diner on Supernatural or something equally inspiring.


Sunday she leaves for Japan for two weeks vacation on her own. Let’s hope she’s not kidnapped by white slavers or something. 🙂


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A great loss in our family

mom

 

On Saturday, my grandmother passed away. She was 90 years old and until the last 14 months had a pretty active life despite losing her eye sight in the later years. A series of strokes made things difficult and she was forced to move from her apartment. Her last months were not happy ones, and while I hate knowing that she’s gone, I would not wish to prolong a life that she wasn’t enjoying. I got to see her last summer and spoke with her at Christmas.

The great dilemma came as to whether to attend the funeral. My parents are in Texas and would have to fly back and then it’s a 6 hour car ride north. And if the weather is bad (which lord knows the centre of this continent has been prone to hissy fits in the weather department), we may end up stranded. My uncle has suggested that we not come, spend all the money and risk not even making it. It feels wrong not to be there, but given my work load this week, I know it’s for the best. My uncle’s attitude is who cares what the people who don’t know us and understand the situation, say. Both my uncles are okay with us not attending, my aunt… well. My mom can deal with that.

We have decided that those of us who can not attend (I have some other cousins who may not go and my grandmother’s sister) will write a “letter”, saying we wished we were there and relating a small story about what she meant to us. We will ask the minister to read it during the service. It’s not the same as being there, but at least everyone will know we haven’t just blown it off.

She was more than a grandmother to me. Some people know, but I was raised by my grandparents. My mom was a single mom and while she and I have a very close relationship, I grew up on my grandparents’ farm. I had an amazing childhood. I certainly didn’t suffer from a lack of love, I was probably spoiled rotten and never questions I was loved and wanted, even if I arrived rather unexpectedly. 🙂

She taught me practical things from baking and sewing and cooking, to putting family first and always being there for people when you could. No one was ever turned away from our door no matter then time or need. I am the person I am in large part because of her, and of course my grandfather who passed in 2002.

I will miss her, but I will remember the good things and know that she is no longer unhappy and frustrated by a body that no longer cooperated. I will say  my private good-byes when I go to visit in May, hard though it may be.

roses

Yellow roses were her favourite.