Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Kuwait Camels

When we used to drive around Qatar, we would see camels out roaming everywhere. I imagine it used to be that way in Kuwait, too, until the Gulf War, when the retreating Iraqis seeded the deserts with explosive devices. Even now, every month a shepherd or two loses a limb to an unexploded piece of ordnance in the desert. We don’t just jump in the car and go out exploring here – sadly, it’s not safe, or it’s only safe when you are with people who know where it is safe and where it isn’t. We have friends who tell us, with a sigh, about the beautiful places they would go to see the wildflowers, but no more.

Now and then we will see a camel in a large, empty nearby plot of land, under the sparse trees, sometimes a mother with a baby. Most of the time, I only see camels when I go to shop at the Sultan Center in Al Kout. There is also a very large fresh vegetable, chicken/egg, meat and fish market there, and when I see these unsuspecting and unconcerned camels in the back of a truck, I have a bad feeling that they are destined for the meat market.

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December 16, 2007 Posted by | Adventure, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Qatar, Shopping | 18 Comments

Mom’s Rosemary Tree

One of my philosophies – no, no, don’t run away, this isn’t all that deep – is that things have a way of working out. No matter how too horrible everything can get, things work out, this passes, and in today’s hurried, bustling, transitory world, even the worst events fall into oblivion much of the time.

Mom phoned with a request – Lowe’s was having a sale on Rosemary trees, only $8.97, could we get one for her? She likes to have a sweet smelling Rosemary tree outside on her balcony. We went to Lowe’s immediately, first thing in the morning, and . . . they were already gone! There were more expensive ones – like double the price – but all the on-sale ones were already gone. Honestly, there must not have been very many to start with.

(You are probably asking why I didn’t just go ahead and buy it for her anyway. It’s not allowed. She gives her daughters envelopes of money and when we buy things for her that she has asked for, we have to pay from out of that envelope, or she won’t ask us anymore; it’s a matter of pride.)

From that day on, I kept an eye out for Rosemary trees (just maybe 16″ high), Home Depot, Fred Meyer, some of the larger local floral shops – nothing, or double what she wanted to pay.

Then, on my very last day in Seattle, I took Mom to Trader Joe’s. We all like Trader Joe’s, who carried foods and candies and cookies and wines that other more conventional grocers don’t carry. Mom needed to stock up for all her Christmas guests and Christmas entertaining. And there – for only $8.64, not even on sale, was the perfect Rosemary tree. It smelled divine. Here it is, safe in Mom’s basket:
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December 16, 2007 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Christmas, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Living Conditions, Seattle, Shopping | 2 Comments

“Marionette . . . or Moron?”

This was sent by a good friend, 8 minutes by Keith Olbermann, ending with “Mr. Bush, you are a bold-faced liar.” This is from his December 6th broadcast.

December 16, 2007 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, Crime, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, Financial Issues, Language, Leadership, Political Issues, Relationships | 1 Comment