These are not part of The Great Kuwait Market Magic Challenge. (If you haven’t voted, please go there and vote for your favorite.) These are photos I take to document what places “used to look like.” In Germany, I took photos, but twenty years later I could take the same exact photo. Most of the buildings built a couple hundred years ago are still standing – even some built three or four hundred years ago still have the same foundations (and problems with seepage, etc. )
Not so in places like Kuwait and Doha. You look away for a second and something is gone. Can anyone tell me where the Tarek Rajab Museum store has gone? Do they have a new location? It used to be in Salmiyya; the last time I took people there – it was gone. Just gone! And entire block of stores has disappeared.
So here, for posterity, are some photos I have taken of Mubarakiyya Market, because I love the quirkiness of the place and because there is some really interesting public art there. Also, because so many of my readers are in schools across the US and Europe, and they are hungry to see what different places look like.
Delicious olives, every one different!
I am totally addicted to these dried pomegranate seeds, which are also called anardana:
These portraits of two different butchers show such individuality. These are not some stylized ideographs; these portraits give the impression of being real butchers. I wonder if I could find the originals and stand them next to their portraits?
Look at these painted carpets! They lift the entire mood of this utilitarian area. Look how bright and clean this area is, easily washed down, entirely of tiles and washable surfaces:
Look how this artist extended his painting to include the store on the right:
Where does anyone else sell slingshots these days? I fear for the poor market cats, when young men get their hands on these.
I think this is a total hoot! Along with the Pacific Coast scenery and fish, we have a Swiss Cow, with a bell, and Alpine scenery.
Here is one I love, a genuine Kuwaiti butcher – I love the glasses! Faces and hands are hard to do, and this artist caught his individuality. I wonder if he is still in one of the smaller meat market shops? Also note the bloodstains on the cutting table!
And here is a treasure, just outside the older section, near the date souk, badly damaged, and someone has strung a power cord across it, but one of the best pieces in the market. Love the colors, and look at the stone entry – the artist truly captured the feeling of stone. Look at the depths in the door and the window, the shadows and highlights. Look at the folds in the men’s thobes. This artist had some training.
There are so many things I like about the Mubarakiya market. I believe it suffered enormous damage during the Iraqi invasion, and was substantially rebuilt. They did it nicely. The ceilings are high and spacious, and there are beautiful decorations in unlikely places. I found some Fish Market paintings I hadn’t photographed before.
One thing is kind of funny – wouldn’t you think in Kuwait you would have dhows or showies, the Arab Gulf fishing boats? To me, this looks like the Oregon Coast, with the big boulders and rocky coastline! I am thinking those look like Pacific Coast fish, and isn’t that a whale with the seagulls? Are there whales in the Gulf?
I couldn’t take this one without the two guys taking a break, so I just included them – they ARE part of the Mubarikiya scenery:
The weather has definitely cooled. We grab out friends and head for one of our very favorite places, the Mubarakiya market downtown, one of the few places still in existence with a flavor of old Kuwait.
We’ve visited in recent months, but the heat defeated us. Last night, our closest 4,000 friends were down there with us, shopping in the markets, having a bite to eat in the outdoor restaurant area (you can only tell which restaurants are which by the different colors of the chairs and tables) relaxing, visiting, just enjoying a beautiful mild weekend evening.
And it was beautful. We have eaten there in the heat, with cooling fans to keep things bearable, we have eaten there in the cold of winter, with little stoves on the table to keep the tea hot and to warm our hands (a little) but this night was utterly perfect. Warm enough, cool enough, and fresh, well prepared local food – it was a perfect evening.
Some new Mubarakiya photos: