I never thought I would be so happy to feel an open breeze blow across my face. Or to hear the sound of complete and utter silence. Or to smell the wet scent of sand and dirt dance with the freshness of the wind. Welcome to the desert!
Over our 9 day break, Sean and I took a trip out to Mutla Ridge in Kuwait. It’s the highest point in the country, even though it’s only 475 feet in elevation. In order to get to Mutla Ridge, we had to drive on the “Highway of Death”. It’s the road the Iraqi’s took to high-tail it out of Kuwait when the American troops arrived. For a long period after the war you could still see abandoned Iraqi trucks and military vehicles alongside the famous highway. (Addendum: Courtesy of my father via email, “The reason it is called the highway of death is because of the US Air Force. When the Iraqis fled Kuwait their tanks, trucks, cars, everything was stuck on the road in a hugh traffic jam as they knew they lost and had to escape. Our planes bombed everything on that road all the way to Bagdad. It was the biggest massacre of the war. Many of them looted Kuwait and thought they could take it back with them. They all died on the road.“) Mutla Ridge is about forty-five minutes outside of Kuwait City. Once we got off the Highway of Death, we followed a side road until we found the following view:
Here I am overlooking the Kuwait desert from Mutla Ridge. It felt SO good to be outside the city!
Our friends who enjoyed the afternoon with us. It was a great time playing around on the dunes and exploring!
This is the idea of a Kuwaiti picnic…
This is our favorite picture from the trip. I like to call it our “wedding pose”. You can see the Kuwait skyline on the right side, the Arabian gulf spreading out, and the happiest couple in Kuwait 🙂
I love this picture because it is so quintessentially Kuwaiti. They take there 2012 edition Range Rovers out into the desert for off-roading. They completely demolish them on the rocks. While walking we saw two separate cars smash their passenger doors in on the rocks. They have these cars torqued at 45 degree angles at times. But you know, they are probably watching us and thinking, “Poor, uncivilized, fools. Dragging themselves across the hot desert on foot, torturing themselves. They just don’t know any better.”
This is where your gasoline comes from! (Should I mail some home for Christmas?)
After Mutla Ridge, we decided to head North to the Iraq border, just to see how far we could get. (Well, I suppose that’s a dumb sentence; we obviously can’t go any farther than the Iraq border…) Anyways, on our way along the highway of death, we came upon a few of these government issued road signs. It made us feel good… in a strange way… kind of like a, “Well that’s good to know.” Kind of thing…
Again, an oil rig. How wild, to see with my own eyes to force that controls much of the world.
Here we are at the Iraq border. (Note the “No Photography” sign. It will come in to play in a moment.)
Here is Sean and our friends Eric (second from left) and Jeremiah (far right) with the guards at the Iraq border. They’re the ones who wanted me to take their picture! Despite the no photography sign… They were SO welcoming. They smiled, asked us where we were from, and when they heard we were all Americans they said, “We love America! America very good! Welcome, welcome! You want arabic coffee? We have coffee.” And sure enough, there was a man with coffee. We made a few jokes with them, just standing around talking. It sure was different than the US-Canada border… every time I try to enter Canada I get pulled over and searched thoroughly. The border patrol always treats me like I’m smuggling something. This, on the contrary, was a pleasant experience! (Despite how nervous I was when we first got there!)
My friend Rachel and I at the border. All the land you see behind us is bona fide Iraq!
After we left the border we headed back into the city. When Sean and I got home, we collapsed on the couch and ordered “6alabat”. It’s an online delivery website that acts as a hub for basically every restaurant in Kuwait. McDonald’s, Cinnabon, Lebanese, Chinese, Japanese, you name it. You order online and they deliver the food to your doorstep in 45 minutes.
All I’ve got to say is that it’s a rough life 🙂