Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

12 Rules to Help you Enjoy Life in Kuwait

By Meshary Alruwaih, Staff writer, Kuwait Times with his permission.

(Actually, even better than with his permission – because it never showed up on the online KT, I had to ask him to send it. And because my computer doesn’t read the file he sent, my husband had to run it off, and I am having to enter the whole thing the old fashioned way, by typing. So any garble, any mis-spellings or wierd grammar is mine, not his.

If you haven’t seen this article, I would love to hear your impressions. I found it very matter of fact. What do you think? Is his experience your experience?)

Life in Kuwait can sometimes be pretty boring. No matter how biased one can be in favor of one’s homeland, it’s always beneficial to acknowledge the limitations and deficiencies of it. Such acknowledgements serve as a gate to self-criticism, which is a necesary prerequisite to making recommandations and offering solutions as to how to improve the experience of living here.

This article provides basic recommendations on how to enjoy your life in Kuwait. The lack of development in all aspects of life in Kuwait has meant that people here – Kuwaitis and expats alike – have a harder time and less options for enjoying life than their fellows in other neighboring countries like Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. I mean, as Kuwaitis, we are stuck here, but for the expats, why would you come here if you could be in Dubai or Doha instead?

Returning from the US, I’d been hoping for a myore dynamic government attitude towards turning Kuwait into an open society, business hub, financial centre, and all the other meanlingless promises we have been hearing for so long. Going by their words, Kuwait is supposedly always on the brink of turning into a vibrant, go-ahead society, where different types and varieties of activities and exciting new venues are always just about to evolve.

Having pretty much given up on all those governmental promises, I’ve formulated some suggestions and rules of my own for helping to enjoy life in static Kuwait, apparently frozen in it’s very own time warp, so here they are:

1. Follow Politics. Do not miss political intercourse in Kuwait. All political actors here have their special sense of humour, whether comical lies and promises by ministers, or stupid proposals by MPs. It gets even funnier when people take to the street to protest, you get women dancing, swearing at ministers, and all kinds of amusing slogans.

2. Don’t get involved in the Kuwait stock market. Do not let your life become dependent on colors, today green, tomorrow red. Rational economic and political order is missing in this country, which is reflected in the market. But let’s face it, it’s always fun to watch how people react to instantly making or losing moeny when it’s not your money.

3. You NEED (Wasta) connections. You cannot enjoy your life in Kuwait without having Wasta. You will certainly need to renew your driving license, get a job for your visiting younger brother, extend his visit if he cannot find a job; these simple procedures will turn into pure suffering if you do not know someone who can help facilitate the process.

4. When June comes, get out as fast as possible. It’s oven-hot, and there is neither water nor electricity, do not come back before September.

5. If you do follow rule number four, do NOT use Kuwait Airways. Truly a horrible experience!! (My note – see previous article on Kuwait Airways here.)

6. Friendships? If you are a Kuwaiti, make friends with expats; if you are an expat, make friends with Kuwaitis. The interaction and exchange of views and insights are fun.

7. Visit a diwaniya. At least once a week even if you don’t like it, it’s important. It’s where you achieve Rule #3.

8. Do not watch Kuwaiti football. Do not watch Kuwaiti football league as it is extremely weak and very boring. And definitely do not support Kuwait National team, as you will end up suffering all the ills in the world. The Gulf Football Championship is coming up soon; don’t say I didn’t warn you.

9. Join one of those health clubs or spas. Well, if you can afford them, of course. They are nice and you will enjoy your time there, but they are ridiculously expensive.

10. Movies: forget about cinema in Kuwait. The Kuwait Cinema Company is months behind its counterparts in the west and even those in the region. Get smuggled DVDs from one of those places in Hawally or Salmiya. Sorry, IPR guys!

11. Starbucks: Make peace with Starbucks, you have to like it, they are everywhere, and chances are you will end up in one of them, so accept the fact that Starbucks is a part of your life.

12. Read Kuwait Times – every day! It will keep you up to date on local politics, provide funny stories about not-so-smart criminals, give you material to discuss with your Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti friends, and it can easily be found in any Starbucks. Oh, and you get to read my column twice a week!
(Meshary@kuwaittimes.net)

My comment: There’s a fine line between tongue-in-cheek and telling it like it is, and I think the column writers at the Kuwait Times are very brave in their reporting life here as they see it. I disagree with number 4 – when everyone else leaves, it is so much easier to drive here! I haven’t had any major electrical outages. And honestly, there is some major infrastructure work – and planning – that needs to take place here yesterday.

Having said that, I usually do leave for a while in August! It can get HUMID!

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January 18, 2007 - Posted by | Blogging, Communication, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Middle East, News, Political Issues, Qatar, Social Issues, Weather

17 Comments »

  1. ROFL! The naked truth.

    Comment by MacaholiQ8 | January 18, 2007 | Reply

  2. too exaggerated, #4 and #10
    and #1 is exaggerated also, we dont have ppl swearing and dancing that much, it only happened this year, and it wasnt funny at all.

    Comment by puppylove | January 18, 2007 | Reply

  3. Here is what I think:

    1- Can be true to an extent. Yes some people involved in Kuwaiti politics can be funny but the reason why we have “some” inappropriate people active in politics is No. 1 itself, bored people getting into politics just for the sake of having fun.
    2- Agree
    3- Agree
    4- I disagree. Summer time can be so much fun in Kuwait. Most people travel, and there will be no traffic. Kuwaiti beaches are amazing and one can enjoy hell a lot of sea activities.
    5- Agree
    6- Agree
    7- What if you were a female? Didn’t notice that the article is directed to men only!
    8- Agree
    9- Those clubs “can” be fun, not always.
    10- I say download movies and TV shows
    11- Agree
    12- Kuwait Times, update to local news? I so not agree. I stopped reading it long time ago fed up with some stupid stuff they have there and the bad grammar and spelling mistakes. Please note “Some” as some articles published there are fun to read.

    Comment by shopa | January 18, 2007 | Reply

  4. re: 1 and 7:
    I was in Kuwait (looking after the Qatari cat and his babies) during the elections. I kept receiving diwaniya invitations on the khala’s mobile, which I was using as my local number. Since they weren’t specifically addressed to “muwa6tinin” (citizens) I was quite tempted to go. But … I noticed that all those invitations (and there were many) came from one man, whose name I have now forgotten. Was he the only one willing (or able) to pay for all those sms’es, or was access to the mobile networks limited to certain ‘special’ candidates?

    still wish I had been brave enough to go :-).

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | January 18, 2007 | Reply

  5. I know women here call on one another, but I don’t know if they have “salons” for discussing politics and civic actions . . .

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 19, 2007 | Reply

  6. I disagree with all of it.

    Only one rule applies, always have a little of Purgatory along, and for women only, have more than a little.

    Comment by Purgatory | January 19, 2007 | Reply

  7. Oh Purg, LOL.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 20, 2007 | Reply

  8. Hello I am an elementary school teacher. I am looking for HONEST information and feedback as to the life a teacher might expect working for an international school. Smiles Mariam

    Comment by mariam | February 18, 2007 | Reply

    • Teachers are gaay,

      Comment by meggaann | January 26, 2012 | Reply

  9. I love Kuwait and its nationals….come what may,
    (an Indian expat)

    Comment by Chris | August 4, 2009 | Reply

  10. I have only visited Kuwait 3 times, but returned each time with a distinct bad taste in my mouth. It’s got to be one of the most wretched places on earth – I saw no evidence of any education or culture in the locals. They were all consistently miserable (which is justified), ill-mannered (which is not, because hey its your wretched country, not mine), and incompetent at work (there is no excuse for that, ever).

    I can understand the Indian and Filipino workers going there to make an extra buck, but why on earth the locals would continue to live in that miserable place, I will never understand.

    Unless of course, no other country would let them in, which I can completely understand.

    Comment by Darshan | March 3, 2010 | Reply

  11. I have lived in kuwait for sometime as a technical advisor for a telecom firm. Kuwaitis are one of the most repulsively racist ppl i’ve ever seen. There are absolutely no rules on roads. Poor asian workers are subjected to worst of humiliations. and its hot as hell….

    Comment by kasier kasier | January 23, 2012 | Reply

  12. And – and Kuwaitis can be some of the most generous people on earth, can be the first to stop and help a stranded motorist, give millions to peoples hit by devastation, like tsunami or hurricane . . . it seems Kuwaitis are capable of great good and great evil, just as the rest of us are, no?

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 24, 2012 | Reply

  13. Hiii (: Im at school. (:

    Comment by meggaann | January 26, 2012 | Reply

  14. Megan: focus!

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 26, 2012 | Reply

  15. Worked and made friends with a group of Kuwaiti’s in the Australian military. Can not speak highly enough of them. Great friends, great fun, and honest, and true to their word always.

    Comment by Todd | March 17, 2013 | Reply

  16. Todd, I agree. Some of the finest people in the world. I hope you get a chance to visit there one day. 🙂 March is beautiful in Kuwait.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 18, 2013 | Reply


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