Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

National Day Crazies

How was I to know?

Where was I last year on Liberation Day?

Yesterday, I was finishing up a project around 6 and heading to my next appointment when I turned onto Gulf road. Big mistake. I should have taken my clue from the barriers guarding entry to the left on Gulf road, but as I was turning right, I didn’t give it more than a second thought.

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Big mistake. Suddenly I am caught in semi-gridlock, and the worst kind, gridlock with gangs of adolescents wandering the sidewalks on both sides of the car, gridlock with main routes being barred, gridlock with people in adjacent cars spraying each other with high arching streams of foam – it’s like suddenly being in the middle of a nightmare.

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Except this is a very contained nightmare. These people are having a lot of fun. Although we are inching along, children are hanging out of windows, I suddenly realize – yes, their parents know where they are – their parents are driving.

No one sprays foam at me. There seem to be rules; the only spray I see exchanged is between people foaming at each other; they leave me alone. As we inch along, horns start the beep-beep beep-beep-beep of weddings and soccer cup wins,
and people seem to be relaxed, not anxious, not speeding and aggressive. Although it takes me about half an hour to make my turn on to the expressway (the turn lane is blocked by celebrants) I eventually get through.

Later, I get a desperate call from AdventureMan.

“The roads are blocked! I can’t get through! I have to get over to the right turn lane and I don’t think I can get through all these cars! It’s gridlock!”

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He is in a different part of the city, but same problem.

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Where were we last year on National Day/Liberation Day? We don’t remember the traffic being so heavy, so gridlocked! And at the same time, it is fun seeing everyone having such a great time.

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February 26, 2008 Posted by | Adventure, Community, Cross Cultural, Entertainment, Holiday, Living Conditions | 9 Comments

Liberation Day Sunrise

It is already 61°F / 16°C at 0800 in the morning – looks like another fabulous February spring day ahead . . . but maybe a little grey. It was grey at sunrise, grey an hour later, and grey even now. Do you think it might burn off?

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February 26, 2008 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Lumix, sunrise series, Weather | 2 Comments

Mabooch Kuwaiti

I am on an endless quest to find things actually made in Kuwait. I have actually found a few things – The Sadu House on Arab Gulf Drive, up near the Souk Sharq has a fine selection of hand woven trimmed gift items, from time to time I can find something originally Kuwaiti in the antique souks or at the Friday market, I have found locally grown vegetables in the Sultan Center and yesterday I found Mabooch Kuwaiti in the local co-op.

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It looks a lot like the hot peppery sauce used in some Chinese cuisines, so I thought I would give it a try. As I looked a little closer at the jar, I saw this:

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Do YOU see it?

It is less hot and more vinegary than the Chinese peppery sauce. Can you tell me how it is used?

February 25, 2008 Posted by | Cultural, ExPat Life, Experiment, Humor, Kuwait, Shopping | 24 Comments

Gulf Moonlight

It has taken me months to get this shot. It helped that I discovered my camera had a night scenery mode, and then it just took taking enough shots with enough stabilization for the camera (can’t find the tripod) so that it didn’t look like three moons because I breathed during the 2.5 seconds the shutter had to be open to catch the glitter on the glassy waters of the Gulf:

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February 25, 2008 Posted by | Kuwait, Lumix, Photos | | 5 Comments

Stealing My Ideas?

Yesterday I was happily working in the project room. The Qatteri Cat, feeling neglected, came yowling back a few times, then went and got his baby and came back to be with me, and went to sleep. He looked so sweet. We don’t know what the baby is all about. Maybe he is lonely? Maybe we all need something small to comfort us when we are feeling neglected? All we know is that wherever we are, the QC will bring his baby back to be with us – and then, often he will leave it, as if we are the baby sitters or something.

So here is the Qatteri Cat and his baby:

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You know when your cat – or your child – does something so sweet, you kind of think he’s the only one in the world that has ever done something that cute?

When I checked in with I Can Haz Cheezburger? this morning, I found this:

Humorous Pictures
Enter the ICHC online Poker Cats Contest!

I think they must have plucked the thoughts out of my brain. :-/

February 25, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Joke, Pets, Relationships | 9 Comments

Drama Queen Sunrise

Drama drama drama – there was a thick band of something on the horizon today, and then gorgeous fluffy clouds above. The sun couldn’t even fight it’s way through the sludge of the thick band, but finally, it began to rise above:

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It is a warm 54°F/12°C early this morning and going up to 77°F/25°C at its peak today. Just warm enough – nor warmer, please!

February 25, 2008 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Statistics, sunrise series, Weather | 5 Comments

Kuwait Tradition?

Last night, out along Gulf road, we got to see first hand all the celebrations for Kuwait National Day and Kuwait Liberation Day. I’m like a kid; I love to see the bright lights! Sorry if these are a little fuzzy, but there is no place to stop when you are dragging along Gulf Road. There are some fabulous lights in downtown Kuwait, sparkling and BRIGHT but impossible to photograph while you are driving along, and – well, you know what it is like to try to find a parking spot, right? Ho ho hohohohho!

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I love to see people out having a good time, I love all the cars covered with Kuwaiti flags – even motorcycles with flags. It’s like one continuous long parade. I love all the decorated buildings, I love the atmosphere of celebration and gaiety. . .

And I found myself wondering how this one particular “traditon” started? How does it get to be something you expect? Those skinny little adolescent boys with their cans of spray foam? People driving with their children hanging out the windows? People in convertibles with their kids sitting on the back seats, goofing off? Where are their parents???

Where traffic is jammed up I can understand that the kids aren’t really in any danger, but once traffic gets going, parents, please, pull your children into the seats where they belong!

Also, I have never seen such a huge police presence. While everyone else is having a five-day holiday, these guys must all be on duty! There were police everywhere, trying to make sure the jubilation didn’t get out of hand. They were polite, they were kind to the youngsters, and they kept a highly visible presence which, I am convinced, is probably necessary. I think they are doing a great job. I like it a lot when protection is gently provided. 🙂

February 24, 2008 Posted by | Adventure, Community, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Holiday, Kuwait, Living Conditions | , | 15 Comments

Iranians “We Do Not Want an Islamic State”

I found this reference on Global Voices: Kuwait:

#Several bloggers including Schrr have reported[Fa] that today in Sadeghyeh in Tehran,while security forces wanted to arrest a young girl,many people came to help her.Here is a video film about this event where people chanted “we do not want Islamic State”.

The video is a little chaotic, but I love it that bloggers/U-Tubers can share all this news quickly and efficiently.

February 24, 2008 Posted by | News, Women's Issues | | 3 Comments

Tired Sunrise

When I got up this morning I walked out to see how the sunrise was looking – and just had to laugh. You know how there are some mornings you wish you didn’t have to get out of bed? I think the sun was having that kind of morning, looks like he is struggling a little – it was just a tired sunrise this morning:

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February 24, 2008 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, sunrise series, Weather | 8 Comments

Saudi Men Arrested for Flirting

This is in today’s BBC News.

Saudi men arrested for ‘flirting’

Relations between the sexes outside marriage is against the law

Prosecutors in Saudi Arabia have begun investigating 57 young men who were arrested on Thursday for flirting with girls at shopping centres in Mecca.

The men are accused of wearing indecent clothes, playing loud music and dancing in order to attract the attention of girls, the Saudi Gazette reported.

They were arrested following a request of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

The mutaween enforce Saudi Arabia’s conservative brand of Islam, Wahhabism.

Earlier in the month, the authorities enforced a ban on the sale of red roses and other symbols used in many countries to mark Valentine’s Day.

The ban is partly because of the connection with a “pagan Christian holiday”, and also because the festival itself is seen as encouraging relations between the sexes outside marriage, punishable by law in the kingdom.

You can read the whole article HERE.

I wonder . . . is this what is going to happen in Kuwait? So like they segregate the university. . . then they segregate all the schools, EVEN THE PRIVATE SCHOOLS, so there is no choice. . . then they start patrolling the malls?

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I lived in Saudi Arabia, and I remember the mutawaaeen were NOT police, but sometimes they took on the prerogatives of the police. So I have to wonder, like who made the arrest in the malls? Was it the police? Was it the mutawa hitting the boys with their little sticks? Did they call the boys parents? I have SO many questions!

February 23, 2008 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Generational, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Political Issues, Privacy, Relationships, Saudi Arabia, Shopping, Social Issues, Spiritual | 14 Comments