Today’s tales are for the adventurer in you. Kuwait, this tame country of shopping malls and family picnics, has burst out of it’s hum-drum shell to offer me quite the blogging treat this month.
Two, seemingly-to-be-average, trips into Kuwait City and Salmiya ended up showcasing crowds of people with wide eyes and slack jaws. One was for a festival held in the street, and one was for an exploded car.
That’s right. A car exploded. Don’t ask me how. Let’s start at the beginning…
My friends and I board the public bus to get to the Old Souk (Mubarakiya) in Kuwait City. When the buses are crowded we sit in the “Ladies Seats.” When I ride the bus alone (which is often, it’s really safe!), I also sit in the ladies seats. They’re the six or so seats up near the bus driver. If you ever board the bus and it’s over-crowded, men will stand and ensure the ladies get their “Ladies Seats”. To be honest, it’s pleasantly convenient to know I’ve got a nice spot to watch traffic : )
When we arrived at the souk, we stuffed our faces at our favorite restaurant. What a feast it was! We dined on hummus, salad, rice, chicken, pomegranate and cucumbers, beans, and endless flat bread. It was delectable.
After dinner, as usual, we strolled past the shops selling all sorts of sweets and treats. This guy was making Nutella pastries. I had to take a picture of the menu to believe it.
If you look at the last item on the menu, “Pie nutella chocolate” is where it’s at. For just the equivalent of $5, you get a 10″ pizza-sized pastry baked in an oven and filled with Nutella. Pair that fact with the lack of sidewalks in Kuwait and you’ve got a recipe for a heart attack.
Ahhhhh, the strange items at the souk. Portable sauna, anyone? I think you sit inside and your head pops out the top. “Deep cleansing of the body through perspiration”. Yum.
This was where our night took a strange turn. We left the souk with the intent to wander the surrounding area, when we came across caution tape and a crowd of people. We nervously inched closer and saw they were all gawking at a car in the middle of the parking lot. Not just any car, a torched car.
A car that had completely exploded. Everything inside it was torched. Never to be repaired. Ready for the landfill.
We had absolutely no idea how this happened, so I asked the nearest guy standing next to me. The guy spins quite the yarn saying, “Well, his car exploded, and there was 20,000 KD inside of it.”
Stop right there.
20,000 KD is $70,000 USD. The man’s car spontaneously combusts and he has seventy grand inside? Yeah, right.
No, the man insists, “His car exploded. The man must have had bad luck with money.”
And that was it. Everyone was standing around, looking like, “Eh, an exploded car. Weird, but not too weird. Unlucky man.” They continued to tell me that the car caught on fire and burnt with all the money inside of it.
What are the odds, that in the middle of a parking lot, a car just goes up in flames? Not only does it go up in flames, but it continues to burn to complete, melted, irreparable cinders? NOT ONLY does it become decimated, but it does so with $70,000 inside of it?
I smell something fishy in the Persian Gulf.
Since this date I have been scouring the internet for any follow up news article, and haven’t found a single one. This was, hands down, one of the strangest things I’d ever seen in my two years in Kuwait.
Regardless, we soldiered on through the souk, and Abby and Kyle popped into a perfumery to contemplate some fine scents.
Thus concludes the evening of the exploding car. Not to leave a sour taste in your mouth, I thought I’d finish with a cute story of a street festival I found a few days later. Everybody loves a carnival!
It was a sunny Saturday afternoon, and I decided to take a walk. I just had to snap a picture of this… “Medical Laboratory” I found in Salmiya. Suffice to say, I didn’t stick around. They sure have different medical licensing issues here than in the States!
When I got to the main shopping area, I was surprised to see the street completely blocked off. There were balloons, music, dancers, food, and happy families.
Grimace even made a guest appearance!
I took this picture not only to show the crowd, but to show you the conglomeration of restaurants on this street! They stretch on as far as the eye can see. (And if you can’t make it out, there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts right after the Subway.)
As if the mascot Grimace wasn’t enough, McDonald’s even had their own break-dancers It was a happenin’ place. These guys were pretty talented! I wish they danced like that while they made my McFlurries.
At the Wisconsin State Fair we have corn on the cob, in Kuwait they have kebab stands.
Just like every state fair in America, the police had a cautionary and informational booth. This guy was to demonstrate the dangers of alcohol consumption… (Remember, this is a dry country, so they take it pretty seriously…)
I hung out with the police for a while and learned how they dust for fingerprints at a crime scene.
I’m not a big missile person, so I didn’t ask any questions here. Maybe you weaponry buffs can identify some of them?
Lastly, like every event in Kuwait. There are fancy cars. There are always fancy cars.
Overall, it was quite the eventful weekend. I sure had a lot to write home about!
I’ve got quite a few more blogs on Kuwait up my sleeve, so stay tuned!