Before I begin, don’t be fooled. I wish I could speak volumes on the delicious, creamy, frothy, sweet, spiced, fragranced pumpkin spiced lattes that I have had here, but I cannot. While they have just about EVERYTHING you can imagine within a twenty-minute walk (including NERF balls that Sean is planning on using in his classroom… I’ll let him explain), I have been craving those fall flavors that only the Midwestern seasons can provide.
Pumpkin spice lattes, orchard-fresh apples, honey-comb honey sticks, farmer’s market hot spicy cheesy bread, Sunday morning kringle, and of course, the coming season of the Oktoberfests…
It’s official: These are the first things that I miss! (Aside from my family, but inanimate objects are so much easier to put into words.) I have been eating hummus, baklava, stuffed grape leaves, tahini, babba ganoush, and falafel so much that it makes the Middle East Feast at Trader Joe’s look pathetic. But it’s the things that make Wisconsin so very fall-weathery that I miss right now. Thus is the explanation for the latter half of this blog title. Now I shall move on.
Another mantissa that I’d like to treat you to that is Wisconsin-themed is a little surprise I found this morning while walking into the middle school office. Apparently they got their supply shipment over the weekend, and there were at LEAST forty boxes stacked floor to ceiling. The very first thing I saw was scrawled across the front of each box in size 72 blue cursive font, the name “NASCO”. That’s right! All the way in Kuwait they buy their school supplies from Nasco in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin! Below the company name was the line, “Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin”. I, of course, started grinning like an idiot and stopped myself short before I blurted out the most touristy-annoying lines to the poor secretaries who were up to their elbows in tardies. I will bring my camera with me next time to document this phenomenon. Nasco in Kuwait, I can’t believe it.
Speaking of camera, let’s get on to this post’s photographs! In case you didn’t know—and I just found this out a few days ago—Friday is the holy day in Islam. As a result, our weekends fall on Friday & Saturday, and our first day of the workweek is Monday. That being said, this Friday I went to one of the most interesting places I’d been to so far while in Kuwait, which is called the Friday Market. With the word “market” in it’s title, you’re probably picturing a sand lot with crates of chickens and old refrigerators for sale. Combine that preconception with the State Fair grounds and you’ve got a fairly accurate idea.
This place was HUGE! It’s an open-air market that sells everything from sunglasses, JLo perfume, Gulf War memorabilia, to used and new furniture from India to China. They also sell some of the most beautiful textiles, carpets, and fabrics I have ever seen.
When you get there, it’s a sensory overload. I immediately headed towards the old guy selling antiques, while Sean stepped back and said to himself, “Let’s take a fair look around and see what this whole place has to offer first.” And I’m glad he stopped me—by the end of our time at the Friday market, we bartered a $100 rug down to $25, I found a beautiful Indian skirt for $3.50, and did my first haggling ever all by myself for some Arabic fabric for our apartment!
We swore to ourselves that we’d go back. You can really buy anything you need there, and for a fraction of the price you’d find at any department store. If you look in the picture above, you see large, circular roofs, right? Under each roof is a “genre” of the market. Under one roof is ALL couches and ottomans, under another is ONLY coffee tables, under another is used clothing, under another is only gold, silver, metal, and brass, under another is curtains, under another is household appliances (and I mean ALL household appliances: generators, shower heads, mops, bidets, garbage cans, dish detergent, slippers, you name it), and under ANOTHER is artwork. And that’s just a list I made right now while thinking back on it; that’s only a fraction of what is there.
All in all, I think the Friday market could be an all-day event. We were only there for a few hours, but with enough water to keep you hydrated, a back-up camera battery, and an open mind, you could stay until dusk.