Friends, gather round, and I shall tell you a tale of a brave few souls who traveled through the dark of night facing sifting sands, blowing winds, carnival rides, cotton candy jousts, burqas, and dishdashas to reach a bookstore that the fates had deemed closed.
And if that didn’t seem the least bit odd to you, I will buy you a ticket to Kuwait, for it appears that you belong here more than I do.
A few nights ago Sean received a text from a friend saying: A few of us are heading to the teacher bookstore at 8pm. Meet in front of building #2 if you’re interested. We thought to each other, “Yeah, I need some filing folders, some sticky-tack, and some popsicle sticks, that sounds like a good plan. Let’s go.” So we all set out, a group of seven, to the bookstore named Jareer. Our friend in charge said it’d be a twenty-minute walk, but we didn’t mind. We wanted to see more of our neighborhood.
Our first stop was at the “Titanic Mall”, which claims to have been built with the same dimensions and specifications that the Titanic itself was crafted. I don’t buy it; I think an expat dreamed that up while sitting at the Starbucks in the center of the mall writing a blog very much like this one. Regardless, it was a beautiful mall. Sean had control of the camera at the time, and the only photo we managed to take was of this spa, who’s name Sean found particularly amusing:
After our jaunt in the Titanic Mall (and a brief stop for some gelato…) we continued on to Jareer, crossing a bridge that our guide said, “It kinda sways when you walk across it. It could very well collapse, but there’s a first time for everything. Or should I say, a last time for everything.” Sure enough, sway the bridge did, and scream did I.
Once across the death highway, we came upon a music store that Sean wanted to stop it. Not wanting to delay the group, I said to our guide, “Sean and I want to stop here, so where exactly are you going? We can catch up.” Without a moment’s hesitation, he pointed across a megaparking lot full of cars, to a mock castle that seemed to house a carrousel, Ferris wheel, carnival rides, fireworks, loud music, dry ice, and lots and lots of children. “The bookstore’s right in there.”
I looked at Sean and thought, “I guess we can wait on the music store.”
Whoever dreamed of putting the largest bookstore and teaching supply store in the center of a six-flags/carnival/playland should be awarded a Nobel prize. Children should actually be DENIED books until they can win at Skee-ball. Maybe there’d be some twisted reverse psychology at work.
Anyways, once inside the castle-o-fun, we passed a pet store. It being the first pet store I’d seen in Kuwait, I had to take a peek. (What follows is not for the faint of heart.)
Turns out, that in Islam most animals are seen as dirty and evil, and seldom do people have pets. These pet stores targeted another demographic of people, but certainly not me.
Moving on, we entered the castle, passed the hybrid pet store, gawked at the carnival rides that were blasting American rap exploding with profanities (which doesn’t really matter when the words f**k or n*gg*r don’t mean anything in Arabic, right? It’s like hearing a song in French where people are swearing left and right. I surely wouldn’t know or care.) It was just strange to see families lounging and playing while Jay-Z and 50 Cent were condemning society on surround sound.
Okay, okay, you’re probably saying, “So where is the bookstore?” Well, remember how I claimed at the start of this exposition on Arabian nights, that the fates had deemed it not to be?
Yes, it was closed. It was the first day after the end of Ramadan, which is called “Eid,” and it like the equivalent of Christmas Day to Muslims. The adventure park was open, but nobody was going to be buying anything to edumucate themselves on a night such as this.
So, thus concludes the tale of our trip to Jareer. We still haven’t been back. I did get to participate in the age-old tradition of cheering on the tilt-a-whirl as Arabic music played and spinal injuries incurred.
Sean still claims he has a tale about felines for you… Until then, I wish you all the best. Maybe those of you in the education field can bring this idea of combining fun & learning into your communities?