Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Hotel Souq Waqif Summer Promotion! (Doha, Qatar)

HotelSouqWaqif

This is a lovely boutique hotel with a view in the heart of the new and lively Souq Waqif, where the nightlife in Doha is happening! It has its own good restaurant, and is surrounded by more.

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May 31, 2009 Posted by | Customer Service, Doha, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Food, Qatar, Travel | 3 Comments

Kuwait Paper Dump Badge

I admit it. When I saw Ansam on her new blog had a Kuwait Paper Dump certificate, I was green with envy! I knew I didn’t deserve one – I have only contributed once, and even my contribution wasn’t truly acceptable because I don’t have a fax, so I took photos and sent them to Abaid.

Yesterday, when I opened my e-mail, I almost cried. He sent me a badge for my support and positive mentions. Honestly, it is the best badge I have ever sported on Here, There and Everywhere.

I’m from Seattle, remember, where recycle cans are issued, and sorting and recycling is mandatory. I’m also from the hippie generation, the back-to-the-earth movement that springs up every now and then, you know, make your own paper, make your own soap, grow your own tomatoes and basil. That my son, his wife, my sisters and my nieces and nephews and this new generation of Kuwaitis are all into saving the environment – it is just icing on my cake. And the candle on my cake is the new badge. You can see it here, and you can see it for the rest of the life of the blog under Kuwait Paper Dump in the Blogroll.

Q8PaperDump

For those of you not familiar with the website, 3baid gathers up paper from around Kuwait from restaurants, service providers, Kuwait resources, events, etc. and publishes them all in one place, eliminating our need to keep track of all those papers. When you want to know what the possibilities are from a particular restaurant, you will find the menu there. When you want to know who has mushroom pizzas, you can click on “mushroom pizzas” and find out which places have them. It is an amazing public service they provide at Paper Dump, and they do it entirely as volunteers, serving the community.

The Kuwait Times did an full article featuring Kuwait Paper Dump and its origin – and its originators – back in February. You can read it here.

I am so totally honored. Thank you for the badge. Thank you, too, for your quiet, persistent leadership in the Kuwait environmental/Green movement.

May 31, 2009 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Blogging, Blogroll, Communication, Community, Cultural, Customer Service, Kuwait, Leadership, Living Conditions, Social Issues | 5 Comments

Windy Kuwait Sunrise

The wind is blowing; if we were in Alaska, I would think it is a huge snowstorm outside from the whistling around my windows, and the curtains blowing, even though the windows are closed and “sealed.” (Yeh, right.) Last night, I could feel it coming – I don’t have asthma, but I can feel a dust storm coming in my lungs. AdventureMan was using his puffer frequently, not a good thing.

Out on the balcony, early early in the morning, we can not see the Kuwait skyline; it is obscured by dust. The wind has totally transformed the surface of the sea; it is pushing waves which are crashing against the shore. Well, small waves. The sea has been flat and glassy for weeks; this is a significant difference.

Picture 1

The sun is coming up before five in the morning. I had a restless night, and couldn’t sleep any later:

00Sunrise31May09

Have a great day, Kuwait.

May 31, 2009 Posted by | ExPat Life, Health Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, sunrise series, Weather | 2 Comments

Kuwait Miscellaneous and Photo Dump

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–

(From Lewis Carrol’s Jabberwocky)

I was in a hurry to fix breakfast, which was two lovely eggs in a little fresh Kuwait butter, but I was too hungry and grabbed a handful of walnuts from a nearby jar to chew on while breakfast cooked.

“hmmmm. . . ” I thought “these walnuts taste like Japanese rice crackers. . . ” but I knew my very favorite smoked almonds were all gone and . . . and . . . it dawned on me in horror, and I ran to the sink and spit out the “almonds.”

00MyBad

Not paying attention, I had grabbed the wrong jar, and had a mouth full of CAT FOOD!

“How did it taste?” my good friend asked, when I told her about it, in disgust.

“Fishy.” I said. “Actually, probably not that bad, except that it was CAT FOOD.” I couldn’t get past the cat-foodness of it to really judge how it tasted.

00MaidanHawallyMosque

This will probably be my last Kuwait mosque photo. We shot it in Maidan Hawally, and the light was fading so quickly, I just took the photo, knowing the background was totally awful. The mosque – aha – thanks to my readers, I know it is Shiite, because it has a green dome! See! I was listening! But what graceful decoration on the minarets. What a delight!

00DreamBoat

You can have your power yachts, all sleek and white and sleeping a hundred – I will take this dream boat any day. I love the wood, and the lines. Whoever owns it taunts me by parking outside my window and fishing. I would love to be fishing off this boat.

00EarlyMorningShimmerKuwait

A rare, clear summer morn in Kuwait when I can see the shimmer of the sun off the buildings in Salmiyya . . .

00ParkingHallofShame

Reviving the Parking Hall of Shame, Al Manshar Mall only has like 40 parking spots for the whole mall and this nincompoop (pardon my language) takes up two spots with his careless parking. AAARRRGGGHH!

00TakeMeTooDad

The Qatteri Cat hates it when AdventureMan gets out his suitcase. He sent a very clear message – “Take me, and Baby, too!”

May 30, 2009 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pets, Qatteri Cat | 13 Comments

Down to the Sea in Ships

Even though I grew up in the capitol city, Juneau was a very small town, really a village, and fishing played a major role in people’s lives. Everyone had a locker, where fish caught during the summer and meat from hunting season was frozen and stored for the long Alaska winter. It’s probably one reason why I have loved both Kuwait and Qatar so much – while few – if any – Kuwaitis or Qatteris – need to fish for a living, there is still a love and respect for fishing and water sports that is probably hard wired into their souls.

Being in a boat on a sea makes believers of us all. The sea and the desert have this in common – when you go out beyond the sight of civilization, you realize, no matter how big your boat / ship is – you are very very small. You realize how powerless you are. One rogue wave, one unexpected sand storm can do you in.

These are verses taken from Psalm 107, part of today’s reading in the Lectionary that make me think of Kuwait.

23 Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the mighty waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the Lord,
his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their calamity;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunkards,
and were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out from their distress;
29 he made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they had quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

May 30, 2009 Posted by | Community, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Random Musings, Spiritual | Leave a comment

Busted

Today, as I was getting ready to leave the church services, one of my very special friends hugged me and said farewell, and then said “But of course, I can keep up with you on your blog.”

It was as if time stopped for a second, then started up again.

“My blog? You read my blog? You know?” I stammered, not loudly because there were other people around.

She laughed.

“I figured it out when you described this guy,” she said, punching AdventureMan lightly on the shoulder. “I KNEW it was you.”

When we got into the car, AdventureMan had a big smug grin on his face.

“I almost told her I read your blog quickly first, to see if I’m in it,” he said, “but then I was embarrassed that I am so vain.”

LLLOOOLLLL!

I’ve gotten less careful. It’s becoming less and less relevant as I get closer to leaving.

May 29, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Blogging, Community, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Kuwait, Privacy, Relationships | 11 Comments

Don’t Mess with Seniors!

A while back, one of my commenters said she had read a book with an “old” couple just like AdventureMan and me.

“Old??” we looked at each other in horror!

“Old people with a son getting married” is I think what she said, so that makes just about every person over 45 “old.”

We will have our revenge. Time flows only in one direction – but the older you get, the farther away “old” looks.

My 85 year old mother visits friends, now and then, who live in retirement homes, from modest to posh.

“What do you think, Mom?” we ask, knowing how lonely she is without Dad and wishing she had more companions around her to do things.

She sighs.

“They are all so OLD!” she says. “I don’t want to be surrounded by all old people!”

And she is right. She lives on her own, she cooks her own meals, cleans her own home, with only a little help from a cleaning lady and her family. She keeps herself in good shape. She is far from “old.”

I found this in today’s news on AOL – some young idiots thought they had an easy target. They thought wrong.

OldGuy

Two would-be carjackers learned the hard way not to mess with this grandfather. Ted Mazetier, 84, stopped to help two men with a broken-down car in Tacoma, Wash., April 22 but ended up fighting them off when they attacked and demanded his keys. Mazetier kicked one in the groin and the other in the stomach. The two were later arrested, KOMOnews.com reported.

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Aging, Character, Crime, Family Issues, Health Issues, Living Conditions, News | 12 Comments

Who Is My Neighbor?

You would think when someone so special is talking, people would listen. You would think that when he is trying to tell us what God expects from us to enter into his kingdom in the after life, people would be listening, and indeed, they listened, many listened. There were others who did not. There were also those closest to him who misunderstood! That always baffles me, that those closest could misunderstand.

Today’s lesson is one of my very favorites in the world. You can substitute any two races who hate one another and the story is equally clear. The man who was asking the question was setting Jesus up, or trying to, and Jesus used the occasion to teach a stunning truth – that love is stronger than hate.

Luke 10:25-37

25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.* ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’

26He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’

27He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.’

28And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’

29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’

30Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii,* gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’

37He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’

I have seen this in my own life. I have seen hopeless situations, with no solution in sight, totally change because one person chooses to love, instead of to hate. Choosing to love, in the face of hatred, takes a lot more character, a lot more strength. It has the potential for changing everything.

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Character, Charity, Community, Cross Cultural, Experiment, Living Conditions, Spiritual | 2 Comments

Breathless Day

The air is still, and there isn’t a single wave on the vast, flat glassy Gulf. At eight in the morning, it is already breathlessly hot:

0800

It’s not getting any better. Maybe by the beginning of next week, as you can see, a little “cold” weather will be moving in 😉

28May5Day

The only way you can determine the difference between water and air is the layer of yellow tinged haze on the far horizon:

00BreathlessDay

Here is what my life looks like right now:

00PackedBoxes

Yesterday, a sweet friend dragged me away from all the packing and focus on moving and treated me to a day at the Aquatonic Spa. I admit it, she had to drag me – I can get so immersed in my misery that I don’t even want to do something fun.

In spite of my churlishness, we had a great time. Playing around in that fabulous pool, and then having beauty treatments afterwards – it just took all the misery out of me. I felt great for the first time in weeks. I slept last night without waking, and awoke refreshed, thanks be to God, and thanks to my friend who knew what I needed better than I did.

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Biography, Community, Exercise, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Health Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Moving, sunrise series, Weather | 5 Comments

Selling My Car

I have a darling little car, I bought it in Doha six years ago. Aye, there’s the rub. While the company agreed to ship the car for us, Qatar won’t accept a car older than 5 years old. My sweet car has less than 40K km on it, has been lovingly maintained, and I totally love it – I was outraged at Qatar. But being outraged at a bureaucracy is a loser’s game, it isn’t going to change, the rules aren’t going to be excepted for me. So I had to sell the car.

I looked up the blue book price, and I knew my car was better than that, but these are hard times for selling a used car. I just put it out word-of-mouth, and within a week, I had my buyer.

She came. She sat in the car. She said “I will take it.”

I said “but you haven’t even driven it!”

She said “I can look at you, and look at this car, and I know it is a good car.”

We talked about a price. We agreed to a price a little higher than the blue book price, a little lower than I wanted. We were both happy.

She paid me in cash.

When we went to transfer title – this is Kuwait – the administrative section was closed! It wasn’t supposed to be closed! The area was full of Kuwaitis, Jordanians, people like us, wanting to transfer title. Fortunately, the woman knew another administration place nearby, so we went there, and after the normal finagling, the title transferred and all was completed.

We really wanted this woman to have the car. It has so many good years left on it, and this is a good woman.

AdventureMan laughs at how quietly all the decisions were made, all the negotiations done. The day after we sold the car, we got an SMS from the buyer saying how happy she was, and asking God to bless us richly. We feel already blessed, having sold the car to a fine woman.

May 26, 2009 Posted by | Community, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Interconnected, Kuwait, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Relationships | 9 Comments