The cool thing about living in Qatar is that they tell you when the festival is about to happen, and encourage you to go. The Dhows – all the different kinds – are beautiful and graceful, and my happiest memories in Qatar include a night ride along the coastline with its twinkling lights on a blistering hot evening, but the sea breeze and the movement of the boat makes it pleasant.
Traditional Dhow Festival opens
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
The Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage H E Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari checking a pearl at the opening of the festival yesterday and (below) some of the boats docked at the Katara Beach. Shaival Dalal
BY RAYNALD C RIVERA
DOHA: A total of 105 Arabian dhows of different types are moored at the Katara Beach for the third edition of Katara’s annual Traditional Dhow Festival which opened yesterday.
Compared with the previous editions, this year’s festival provides visitors with an idea about types of dhows still used in the region.
“Last year we had 107 boats, 70 to 80 percent of which were of the same type — sambuk. This year we have 105 boats of 22 types, mostly jalboot, baggarah, bateel and shoi,” Katara General Manager, Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, told the media after the opening.
While most dhows came from the Gulf; some are from Iran, Zanzibar and India, he said.
“We are looking forward to having some boats from China next year,” he said, adding the Chinese ambassador, who was present at the opening, was forging relations with Katara to participate in the festival next year.
New at this year’s festival is the Fath Al Khair’s journey to the six GCC states. The dhow, currently part of Qatar Museums Authority’s collection, would leave Katara shores on Friday and return on December 18.
Al Sulaiti said the 27-day voyage is “just like what our forefathers did in the past when they left Qatar for a couple of months to dive for pearls. Through this, we would like to refresh the minds of our new generation with the culture and heritage of their forefathers.”
Inaugurated by the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage H E Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari, the five-day festival features heritage lectures, performances by regional bands, boat-making demonstrations, dhow cruises, light and fireworks shows, children’s activities and exhibits from museums across the Gulf.
There will also be maritime competitions, including sailing, rowing and pearl-diving in which the public is welcome to take part. Winners will be announced at a special award ceremony at the conclusion of the festival.
Ahmed Al Hitmi, Dhow Festival Committee Manager, said: “The festival pays tribute to our ancestors who worked effortlessly to build a future for our country. It provides a platform for cultural exchange, promoting Qatari history, and educating the youth.”
The festival runs until Saturday. It is open to the public today and on Saturday from 9am to 10pm, tomorrow from 9am to 11pm and on Friday from 3pm to 11pm. Public schools may visit from 9am to noon.The Peninsula
As an Alaskan girl, I grew up on the water and could not help falling in love with these old boats. I have hundreds – maybe thousands – of photos of boats, fishing, fishermen mending nets, fishermen making traps – I’m a sucker for a marine photo op :-) Some of these are Kuwait, some Doha.
“What do you mean?” I asked the elegant grinning lady who was asking me the question. Three former military wives, one Army, one Air Force and one Navy, and we had been talking about our world-wide lives and adventures.
“How are you doing? You haven’t been here long. Are you managing to settle in?” asked with enormous sympathy.
She caught me off guard.
Yes, I am happy. I’ve settled in. I have friends. I’m connected.
But her question caught me off guard, and all of a sudden I couldn’t answer.
“I’m doing OK” I managed to start. “But it’s like this church. I love this church, and at the same time, there are times I walk in and oh, how I miss our churches in the Middle East, where I would walk in and think ‘this is what heaven must look like’ especially at Christmas, with all the Indian families in their saris and finery, and the Africans in their brocades and elaborate head-dresses, and the people from all over the world. The music was simpler, and at the Christmas Eve service, we sang ‘Silent Night’ in every language in the church . . . I miss that.”
There are times the memories catch me unaware, and leave me breathless.
AdventueMan and I went grocery shopping today and when the cashier told me the total, AdventureMan almost gasped. I just laughed and told him that’s why I never took him grocery shopping with me in Kuwait – the sticker shock would have killed him.
Life here is definitely easier.
On the other hand, we have had to revise our ideas about Kuwait drivers. At first, we just thought there were a lot of Kuwaitis living in Pensacola; now we have realized that there are people who just drive as they please. Some of them are stoned out of their minds. I witnessed an accident last week where when I checked the driver of the car that was hit, she grinned at me loopily – and then disappeared. It was bizarre, and I wonder how many people are on the roads as impaired as she was. She went right through a stop sign as if it weren’t even there, and if the car had hit 6 inches more forward, she would have been dead. She didn’t have a scratch. And she was not at all concerned, just that loopy grin. “Elegantly wasted” said the driver of the car who hit her.
We both have a lot going on. With connection comes commitment and obligation. We try to coordinate our schedules at the beginning of the week so we can help one another out. The highlight is that each afternoon I am taking care of our new little granddaughter. AdventureMan/Baba often comes by and naps in the peaceful environment just to be with us. She is a sweet, laughing little baby, never very fussy. He offers me a day off, which occasionally I take, or he takes a time when I have a meeting or an appointment. We have both discovered how very much we like the ‘work’ of grandparenting. :-)
We’re managing. :-)
My good friend and commenter, Daggero, left this comment for us yesterday announcing the new Islamic year:
For your information yesterday we entered the Islamic year 1435 Hijri ( hijri = immigration ) which marks the year the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, emigrated after 13 years of calling people to Islam from Mecca to Medina, ( where he is burried in his Mosque , Masjid an Nabawi, the second holliest mosque in Islam after the Mecca )
So total Islam time from begining to now is 1448 years, and on this auspicious occasion i wish you , AdventureMan and your family and the little ones a happy and a blessed New Islamic year.
We wish you the same, Daggero, and I smiled as I read that you discussed the topic we were discussing with your daughter on the drive to school in the morning. I remember those days so well, as young people begin to draw off into their own lives and the time we spend with them in cars can be so precious. Happy New Year to you and your family.
We had a friend from Libya whose family name meant “from Madina;” before we had ever lived in any Middle East country, he had told us a little about Madina, and what a beautiful city it is. The mosque is very beautiful. I think the tradition is that green was the prophet Mohammed’s favorite color?
Happy New Year, too, to all our Moslem friends.
“Fractious” isn’t a word you often hear. Clearly the veterinary tech had just read the word off the record, perhaps there is some warning in there about the Qatari Cat.
The Qatari Cat was born on the streets of Qatar, and had a bumpy start with another owner. While the man and his daughter liked him just fine, the wife and her mother did not. When the Qatari cat came to live with us, he was very wary of me. It took a couple years for him to fully trust me. He watched my feet all the time. He quailed in fear, ears back, if I used a loud voice. He was terrified of the sound of plastic bags.
Slowly, slowly, we built a relationship. Today, ten years later, he is a sweet cat.
He is a sweet cat every single day of the year, but he still has his street instincts. AdventureMan has learned that you can’t play rough with the Qatari Cat; you play rough, you lose. I never speak loudly to him; it just won’t work, it just gets his back up. Because he knows I am the boss, I speak sternly, but softly to him and he will do just what I ask him to do.
Our first visit to the vet went badly. You can read about it here. He was fine until the buzzing razor hit his bottom and then all his survival instincts kicked in. He’s been back twice, and he has been as good as gold, but somehow . . . that notation has stuck.
“No!” I replied, maybe a little bit too loudly.”No! He is a sweet kitty! He is snuggly and loving and quiet and good! But if he is scared, he wants to defend himself.” I told the tech about the Italian vet the Qatari Cat fell in love with in Kuwait, she snuggled him and told him how beautiful he was and how much she loved him and he was putty in her hands. I was almost jealous. I thought maybe she distilled some catnip and mixed it with her perfume or something, Qatari Cat’s eyes glazed a little in sheer adoration when he was around her, and he even drooled a little. She could take his temperature, give him a shot and check his innards and he never complained, just looked at her adoringly.
The tech shot a skeptical look at me and exited the room. I could hear her repeat this to the vet, and muffled laughter before she entered the room again.
So the vet came in and snuggled Qatari Cat, and told him he was pretty, and while she did not say it with an Italian accent, Qatari Cat was clearly intrigued – and on his best behavior. It doesn’t take much . . . he’s a male. Snuggle him a little, rub his fur the right way, chat him up . . . it doesn’t have to be rational, it’s all in the tone of voice and the flirtation. He totally digs it, he eats it up. A little grope here, a quick look at the teeth, a quick injection and he’s finished, not a fractious moment in the entire visit.
On the way home, we laughed thinking of our sensitivity at having our cat called “fractious.” We remember the indignant response of friends whose cat was annotated as “vicious” by a German vet. The cat was diabetic and objected to the roughness with which the vet wanted to take his blood. I think if you are a veterinarian, you might have an understanding that a sick animal, or a scared animal, might act unpredictably or defensively, there are big thick gloves you can wear if an animal seems wired up.
Does this look like a fractious cat to you?
The presentation is a little confusing, but I have to guess that if 19% of the divorces are “non-Kuwaiti” by which they mean that one member of the marriage is not Kuwaiti. So what they are not saying is that 80% of the divorces are Kuwaitis married to Kuwaitis.
They also did not say how long marriages lasted – how many of those marriages were divorced in the first year, how many after many years? If the statistics are accurate, Kuwait is doing OK – more than half the marriages are succeeding.
OOps – found second report in the same Kuwait Times! See below
9,404 Kuwaiti marriages, 4,067 divorces in 2012
KUWAIT: More than 9,000 Kuwaiti couples married last year and more than 4,000 marriages ended in divorce the same year, a local daily reported yesterday quoting official statistics.
The statistics released by the Ministry of Justice and published by Al-Qabas daily indicate that 9,404 marriages between Kuwaitis took place last year compared to 4,067 divorces, or 43.3 percent.
The same statistics also indicated that 4,910 marriages took place between a Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti spouse in 2012, compared to 2,605 divorces in the same category. In detail, the statistics show that 814 Kuwaiti men married non-Kuwaiti women in 2012, while 648 Kuwaiti women married non-Kuwaiti men the same year.
The percentage of Kuwait couples in the total number of marriages last year reached 65 percent, according to the statistics, while 19 percent took place between non-Kuwaiti couples. 10 percent of marriages took place between a Kuwaiti man and a non-Kuwaiti woman, while marriages between a non-Kuwaiti man and a Kuwaiti woman also reach 10 percent.
Regarding divorce percentages, the statistics show that 19 percent of divorce cases happened between non-Kuwaiti couples; 12 percent between couples in which the husband is Kuwaiti and the wife is non-Kuwaiti, and 7 percent between couples in which the husband is non-Kuwaiti and the wife is Kuwaiti.
Regarding academic qualifications, the statistics show that 35 percent of women married last year have university degrees, 30 percent have high school degrees, and 19 percent have diplomas, whereas 29 percent of men have university degrees, 24 percent have high school degrees, 21 percent have middle school qualifications and 20 percent have diplomas. On the other hand, the statistics show that the majority of women divorced last year have university degrees (29 percent), while the majority percentage of divorced men have middle school qualifications (29 percent).
55% couples married in last 4 years seek divorce
KUWAIT: Almost 55 percent of couples filing for divorce in Kuwait have been married for four years only, including 25 percent who are yet to celebrate the first anniversary of their wedding, a local daily reported yesterday quoting official statistics. The statistical report released by the Research and Statistics Department in the Ministry of Justice and obtained by Al- Qabas daily further indicates that out of 5,662 couples who sought marriage counseling, only 20 percent had their issue successfully resolved.
Lack of willingness to coexist was identified as the primary cause for divorce requests, with 32 percent of the requests made by husbands and 23 percent by wives.
The statistics further indicate that 77 percent of couples who attended marriage counseling were Kuwaitis compared to 22 percent non-Kuwaitis.
Meanwhile, 62 percent of those couples do not have children, 34 percent have one to three children, and 2.7 percent have between four and six children.
Regarding age groups, the statistics show that 42 percent of couples seeking marriage counseling are aged between 25 and 34, 22 percent aged between 35 and 44, and 20 percent aged between 15 and 25. And according to the couples’ academic levels, the statistics indicate that 28 percent of husbands have middle school degrees, 22 percent have high school degrees and 21 percent have university degrees, whereas 27 percent of wives have high school degrees, 23 percent have university degree, 22 percent have diploma and 20 percent have middle school
KUWAIT: Traffic police in the area of Hawalli have set a record by booking 995 drivers and motorcycle riders in a one-day campaign to fight chaos on the roads. “A large team of traffic policemen was deployed in the area to check the extent of discipline and compliance with the law on the roads,” security sources told local daily Al-Rai. “The policemen detained 20 people and impounded their cars. Among them, there were five people who did not have a driving licence, seven who were utterly reckless in their driving, three who staged a race and five who did not have licences to ride their motorcycles,” the sources said. According to the figures he revealed, 23 cars and five motorbikes were impounded in the crackdown conducted on Friday.
Lesser violations included uninsured vehicles, tinted windows, not wearing seat belts and parking in areas for people with special needs, the sources said. Traffic officers in Kuwait have been actively engaged in relentless campaigns to restore order in a sector plagued by a high toll of accident fatalities, reckless driving and non-compliance with administrative procedures. Foreigners who repeatedly broke the law have been deported for endangering lives while citizens have been deprived of their vehicles or licences.
Abdul Fattah Al Ali, assistant undersecretary for traffic and the force behind the campaigns, who had come under attack, mainly from the opposition, for his strong approach towards foreign drivers who commit several traffic offences, said that the trend to end the chaos and impose road discipline would continue.
“I am not an abusive person, but I do apply the law and assume my responsibilities to save lives and protect people from reckless drivers,” he said. “The expatriates who do not respect the law should be sent home. We will deport the irresponsible expatriates who do not respect the laws of the country,” he said. “We have also extended the vehicle impounding period from two to four months and drivers can now be held for 48 hours for the sake of the investigation and the normal procedures.”
The crackdown led the authorities to discover that 20,000 forged driving licences had been issued since 2010. “We have withdrawn 7,000 forged licences, and we are working on tracking down and cancelling all the others,” Al-Ali has said.
He added that expatriates summoned to the traffic directorate should come forth and hand their licences, assuring them that there would be “no questions asked”. However, those who fail to show up to hand back the licences will face forgery charges and will be deported, he said.
Comment: 20,000 forged licenses??? 20,000???