Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Mangaf, Paradise Garden and Beit Ash-Shar

Last week, AdventureMan and I were out looking for the private farm in Mangaf / Abu Halifa that blogger Bu Yousef wrote about. Imagine – fresh produce, locally produced. It is unbelievable that it exists in a burgeoning house-to-house suburb like Mangaf. Once Bu Yousef wrote about it, we couldn’t wait to find it and try it for ourselves. We LOVE local, and I am waiting for Yasmine Farms spinach to re-appear in the Sultan Center.

It is an OASIS!

AdventureMan said “it looks like Paradise!”

We got a little lost trying to find it – thank God! As we were driving around, looking for this farm/garden we spotted this:

In Jordan, these were called Beit (Beyt) ash-Shar, House of Hair. The panels of the tent were woven on small looms by the Bedouin women – the looms were made of sticks that could easily be assembled and disassembled. They had herds of sheep and goats, and the tent panels were woven of hair from their own sheep and goats. In Jordan, the nomads lived in these tents, picking up and moving as it was time to pasture their sheep and goats in the next place.

I can’t tell you how much this thrilled our hearts. Someone is using this tent – we believe – as an outdoor diwaniyya.

It’s a great day in Kuwait.

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October 17, 2008 - Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions

21 Comments »

  1. We still use these tents (bait sha3ar) to this day when we go camping in the bur (desert), and it is made of camels hair not sheeps πŸ™‚

    Comment by Yousef | October 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. Yousef – will you post a photo for me? I want to see how the weaving differs from the one above. . . or is the one above just like it, and it is not sheep and goats wool but camel wool?

    Can people still buy these panels? Or do they make bag-like pillow covers that can be used as diwaniyya furniture? Are these panels still woven here? (She says with an excited gleam in her eye!)

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 17, 2008 | Reply

  3. we call them bayt ash-shar as well here in Kuwait
    I will ask dad if there are any for sale πŸ˜‰

    Comment by Ansam | October 17, 2008 | Reply

  4. I’m really interested in Paradise Garden…care to share the directions to this little gem? πŸ™‚
    The whole “outdoor diwaniya” thing is too much for my squeamish soul… on my one trip to a friend’s compound in the desert I inadvertently shared my camel hair pillow with a large and well-armed insect. Ugh. Photos will do nicely. lol

    Comment by DaisyMae | October 17, 2008 | Reply

  5. Well done… Hope you enjoyed the visit and sorry about the bad directions.
    Did you buy anything?
    Nice photos.

    Comment by Bu Yousef | October 17, 2008 | Reply

  6. Intlxpatr . you have revealed so many secrets and gave us alot of information during your last visit to the states which i am sure is appreciated by alot of your readers , now in an attempt to repay you i will reveal a secret not known to many expatiates nor to many kuwaiti people especially the younger generation and it has to do with Mangaf area .

    This farm area is what is left of old mangaf farm land , Managf has famous trees it is called Athel , you can see two
    trees in the foreground of your photo , it is used to mark the border of the farm and to protect farms from sand storms during the summer season.

    there were open land areas between the farms , Kuwaitis (almost all of kuwait city residence )used to go for picnic between the farms in spring time because of its greenery .

    The girls used to go there for walks and giggling , to enjoy the scenery and the mild warm weather and whatever flora and Fiona that can be found and to celebrate their relative freedom from the stifling conservative old kuwait city life .

    Long and behold true to desert tradition in spring time , kuwaiti girls skinny who were also semi dark (chilhan color) at the time (dare i say ugly )ducklings were always followed by you guessed it ,by non other than the kuwaiti dudes who were equally ugly and chilhan ( so nobody gets upset ), no escape anytime or anywhere thats was their motto.

    Those romantic outings in Mangaf and adjacent Funtass area , were really famous and even a kuwaiti song was made in their recognition . It goes like this ” ohh the coast of fintas ,,,, the playground of the gazelles ” meaning girls ehehehehe
    it maybe found in you tube , i will check that

    so there you have it the Mangaf romantic background , maybe when you are there you will feel the remnants of old love stories

    Comment by daggero | October 17, 2008 | Reply

  7. surprise surprise

    i found the link and even a bigger surprised it is recorded by an egyption female singer Najat el sagheera (little najat ) i bet she had an outing or two there lol ,

    i hope you enjoy a little bit of kuwait romantic past

    Comment by daggero | October 17, 2008 | Reply

  8. Nicely summed up daggero… Thanks and please visit my Mangaf website if you can: http://www.mangaf.net

    Sorry about my marketing intlxpatr πŸ™‚

    Comment by Bu Yousef | October 17, 2008 | Reply

  9. You can find the pillows at friday market for 2.5 kd, and probably the tents too.

    Comment by MiYaFuSHi | October 17, 2008 | Reply

  10. lovely, a real paradise!
    I’d go there every weekend too!
    And the tent looks gorgeous! You can see the strips too. I always thought they were made of goatshairs?

    Comment by Aafke | October 17, 2008 | Reply

  11. DaisyMae – I can, but I am not sure how well you know the area – so either from Gulf Road or Highway 30, take exit 212. From 212 you will want to drive north (towards Kuwait City) on the street they call Mecca Street or Restaurant street, it is a major intersection with stoplights. When you see the Sultan Warehouse Center on your right (you can’t miss it!) make a U-turn. There is an apartment building complex across from the Sultan Center, and you can take the road into that. On the right you will see water trucks and trees – drive across the small field to the trees. You will see an entry – driveway – into the farm. (It is not called paradise farm; that was just what we called it) You can drive in and buy fresh produce.

    If that is not clear, it is in Mangaf, just around the corner from the fire station, near highway 30 – drive around and you will have an adventure. πŸ™‚

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 18, 2008 | Reply

  12. Bu Yousef – didn’t buy anything this time, this was our reconnaisance trip. I am eager for some of those fresh veggies! I loved your directions – I was the “do not eat here ever” restaurant, etc. I didn’t have your directions with me, or we would have found it sooner, I just remembered the fire station and three roundabouts!

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 18, 2008 | Reply

  13. Yousef – AdventureMan wants to know what “bur” means specifically. He thought “sahra” was desert. Can you help?

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 18, 2008 | Reply

  14. Daggero – we were watching TV last night and AdventureMan read your comment aloud – oh, what fun! I could see the girls dancing and running, enjoying themselves as girls do when on a day-holiday, I could see the boys watching the girls, the whole scene. Thank you, thank you for sharing that wonderful memory. I will never look at Mangaf and Fintas the same way. πŸ™‚

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 18, 2008 | Reply

  15. Miyafushi – I can hardly wait to hit the Friday market! Thank you for the good information!

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 18, 2008 | Reply

  16. Aafke – It was wonderful! I would say goathair, but Yousef – who is Kuwaiti – says in Kuwait it is probably camel hair. Camel hair is really SOFT when woven! Goat’s hair is coarser.

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 18, 2008 | Reply

  17. intlxpatr ;

    You welcome , did you listen to the song and recognise the name el fintas in the first opening line .

    Najat el sagheera (little Najat) is a very famous Arabic singer she was ranked top of the female singer list maybe third or fourth after Um Kalthoom the Egyptian Diva and najat was an actress with many movies she played leading lady in most of them .

    Comment by daggero | October 18, 2008 | Reply

  18. Yes! Yes! And it also sounds to me like “al Fintas” is in the chorus when the musicians sing, too! What fun!

    I used to have a little friend I called Najmati sagheera!

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 18, 2008 | Reply

  19. Oh that tree, get to see it a lot around here, Abu Halifa. It has this Weeping Willow look, the only difference being its brown most of the time. Ya they do look pretty though. So its called ‘Athel’! πŸ™‚

    Comment by onlooker | October 20, 2008 | Reply

  20. Isn’t it cool to know what the name is, Onlooker? And it is close to Abu Halifa, in Mangaf, where Daggero tells us there used to be many many farms bordered by the Athel.

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 20, 2008 | Reply

  21. Sahra and bur are almost synonymous in Kuwaiti, but we use the word bur not Sahra. However, when we do use ‘Sahra’ then we’re refering to a bigger bur, where people are less likely to go camp there.

    Hope this helps AdventureMan πŸ™‚

    I will take pictures of my uncle’s Bait sha’ar when we go this winter πŸ™‚

    Comment by Yousef | October 20, 2008 | Reply


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