Monthly Archives: March 2012

March: In Which I repair my bicycle, see a saloon for children, and Andrew dons a tablecloth or three.

It is now the beginning of March, and I have become disappointed with my lack of touristy-Kuwait-photographs. It seems that I haven’t been taking pictures of things that amaze and amuse as I did when I first arrived in Kuwait. I have been storing my camera only for traveling outside of the country. Upon realizing this, I vowed to spend a week snapping photos of the strange, the silly, and the sunshine of Kuwait. After all, I still don’t think I have convinced *all* of you that you could live a pretty posh life here, too 😉

Below are yet another series of photos that portray my daily events in Kuwait. Keep your eyes peeled, there are a couple gems!

Last weekend my friend Sharon and I walked to a nearby Thai restaurant. On our way back, we stumbled upon the “Saloon Elite 4 Kids”. That’s right. Saloon. In Kuwait. For Kids. It’s actually not a typo—what we call a “salon” in English is written as “saloon” everywhere you go in arab-speaking countries. They know the place where you go to get your hair cut as a “saloon”. It makes it seem a little Wild West-esque… or a little predatory in the case of a “Saloon Elite 4 Kids”.

I don’t think I have explained what a “bakala” is to you yet. A balaka is where all good things can be found for cheap. It is like a 7/11 run by your favorite relative. They’re small shops on every street corner, selling everything from dish soap, salt and pepper, fresh fruits and vegetables, to hairspray and baby diapers. (Not to mention blow-up animals and soccer balls, as you can see in this picture.) Nothing has a price tag, it’s all determined by the old man sitting behind the counter watching television. They are all so friendly, and they even cater to you once they know your “usual” needs : )

I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but when my dad and sister were visiting Kuwait, my bicycle broke when my dad took it for a test drive. (He swears it was already broken…) I finally took it to the repair shop this past weekend, where they fixed it right up for a mere 4 KD! That’s less than $15. It needed a new pedal and crank. I love the repair shop; again it’s run by an old man who just hangs out talking shop with his friends and rummaging through old parts. Imagine their amusement when a young white foreigner walks up with a broken bicycle! I never know who is more amused in Kuwait: me or the people I interact with. What a joy it is to be alive!

After getting my bicycle fixed I decided to head over to a place some teachers recommended I visit, “King’s Coffee”. They sell coffee by the kilo, and grind it fresh there for you. I bought a quarter kilo for 1.5 KD (around $5.50), and the man ground it there for me. I sipped a complimentary espresso while he prepared my beans. Upon getting home, I have to say that it is the best coffee I’ve bought in Kuwait! It is so much fresher than the Maxwell House I buy at the grocery store. You can really find anything in Kuwait, it just takes a bit of time to hunt for it. (That should really be the title of this post, “Kuwait – The Great Scavenger Hunt!”)

While riding my newly-repaired bicycle home from Salmiya, I found some interesting art outside of a floral shop. The sign in the background (the one in English) says “Kuwait Flowers”.

This is embarrassingly enough the view from our front window. The parking lot for our apartment has been plagued by this eyesore ever since we moved in. It was actually covered up completely last week, but then for SOME reason they dug it up again! Imagine not watching where you were going and stepping through the caution tape…

We went into the downtown area one night with our friends, Megan and Andrew. We went to the Old Souq. Sean liked this building, although I don’t know what the ’51’ symbolizes.

*Update: A friend of mine recently told me, “the “51” was for this being the 51st year of independence from G.B. I’ve seen lots of pictures from last year reading “20-50″ which was their big celebration year of 50 years as a sovereign nation as well as 20 years after kicking out the Iraqis.”

I post this picture purely for my sister and father. This is the place in the Old Souq where Emily kept finding bags with bird poop on them. The shopkeeper has hung up a curtain above his bags now so that the birds can’t poop on them! It was the most hilarious thing; Emily SWORE she needed a particular purse, which had bird poop on the side. I was determined to haggle the guy for 1 KD seeing as it was filthy. He would swear, “No! No! 3 KD only!” and throw the bag in the back of the shop, only to grab ANOTHER purse from the rack that ALSO had bird poop on it! We went through four or five purses and he would NOT lower his price. We were laughing so hard by this point that the purchase became irrelevant. Needless to say, he doesn’t have to worry about haggling over bird droppings any longer!

In the Old Souq. Look at the ceiling behind Sean… don’t you love their national pride?

Spices, spices, spices. I bought a half kilo of died sage for 500 fills!

We love this man, we call him the “Iranian Carpet Guy”, seeing as he is Iranian and he sells carpets. He sells the best tapestries, souvenirs, and gifts in all of the Old Souq.

Megan and Andrew were having quite the discussion as to which tablecloths to purchase. I think Andrew was trying to make the decision by osmosis…

And THEN we got a package in the mail from our lovely family in Washington state, Amanda and Aiden! (Sean is Aiden’s uncle, and Amanda is his cousin.)

My absolute favorite thing about this package is the custom’s form. How could you POSSIBLY deny a parcel that claims it contains a “paper heart” on the inside?

We love Aiden’s art – I have quite a collection proudly displayed over all of our apartment!

Which reminds me, I hope that Amanda and Aiden (and the rest of our family in Washington) received the card we sent you guys in the mail? Please let us know if you haven’t yet. We were impressed that this package from Amanda and Aiden only took about 5 weeks to get here! Kuwait has been impressing me with their postal service recently!

We love you and miss you all. I hope that the weather in North America begins to warm up and the sun starts to shine. Here it is a lovely seventy degrees and sunny during the day time. The only thing negative about March in Kuwait is that Sean can’t watch March Madness… but that’s a blog for another day.

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Categories: Kuwait | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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