Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Cheesecake Factory in Alpharetta, GA

“You’ve never been to a Cheesecake Factory?” my Kuwait friend would ask me (more than once) in astonishment. She loved the Cheesecake factory. She could describe the dishes on the menu at length, fondly, nostalgically, and all the desserts, how delicious each was, how big they all are, how she would love one right now! In all these years, I just haven’t been in the same area as a Cheesecake Factory restaurant, which I understand is a chain.

We were visiting Alpharetta, GA, visiting old friends from our time living in Qatar, and they invited us to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Wooo HOOO! Now’s my time to find out what it’s all about, but before I go, I go online and check the menu, and wooo HOOO again, now they have a Skinnylicious menu. I had dreaded that everything on the menu was huge portions and like three days worth of caloric count and a week’s worth of glycemic index count, but no, now they have a Skinnylicious menu!

We had a wonderful time. First, you know, anyplace is special when you are with people and the conversation flows fast and furious. These were people you could talk about the important things with, like how we live our lives, what we want, what place compassion plays in our lives – you know, the important stuff. It’s all good when you are together with people that share your vision.

Now – the restaurant. It is clearly THE place to dine in Alpharetta, GA. They don’t take reservations, and we waited about 45 minutes to get in. When we left, around 9:30 pm, there was still a waiting line, maybe 30 minutes instead of 45, but the place was teeming with customers.

When we got seated, AdventureMan was up at one end with his friend, talking business, and I was at the other, and I think we had more fun 🙂 My end of the table was Skinnylicious!

Even though my Chinese Chicken Salad was Skinnylicious, I couldn’t eat it all, there was so much, so I took it home and had the rest the next day.

Skinnylicious Grilled Salmon:

Skinnylicious Pasta:

Club Sandwich:

Sirloin Steak

The Skinnylicious End of the table all carried food home, LOL!

We had carrot cake for dessert, two pieces and 6 forks, but we still couldn’t eat it all, and I am sorry, it was so good and I didn’t even take a photo. They have a lot of really really good desserts. They also do take-out cheesecakes.

Good friends, good conversations, good food! It was a very fun evening with people we like.

July 3, 2012 Posted by | Doha, Eating Out, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Food, Health Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel | Leave a comment

Confiscated Liquor in Kuwait Came in Under US Army Guise

From today’s Kuwait Times

Concerns About Liquor Smuggling

After stopping two containers loaded more than 1500 cartons of alcohol on June 12, 2012 by customs authorities and drug enforcement officials, it was learned that those containers were consigned to the US army. I have started researching that case and collected information with one question in my head, how smuggling happened through goods consigned to the US army and are there parties in the army involved in this smuggling or had this been a case of good intentions by the official who signed the order?

I collected too much information using official documents and am publishing this with the hope that officials in the US Army or Ministry of Interior stop this smuggling, which might harm the American army or our state. Today, the American Army seems to be penetrated, to some extent.

When the American army forces were in Iraq, they contracted with many local and international companies for logistics and transportation of its equipment and personnel and to provide basic services and foodstuff for the army.

In the beginning, the US army used to monitor every small thing happening, but after withdrawing from Iraq, and keeping their forces in Kuwait, things have changed. The army’s main concern is to guard its equipment and personnel, which arrives in Kuwait from outside and is brought to its camps in convoys. Similar concerns apply when they export this equipment from their camps to Kuwaiti ports. Up until loading equipment aboard vessels, the cargo remains under guard.

Regarding food supplies, this was assigned to local and international companies, and have deployed officers from the American army whose role was only to stamp the order papers, as those contracting companies brought whatever they wanted, claiming it was for the American army.

According to the information I received, about 1,000 containers are shipped daily from Kuwaiti ports to the American army, including 700 containers through Shuwaikh Shuaiba port, and these containers are loaded with whatever the American army needs.

Looking at carton declarations, I found large number of containers loaded with oil, battery water, and coolant water for radiators for the American army vehicles, though most of the vehicles do not move and have stopped in their place. These were the same cargo containers found to be loaded with liquor.

We do not know if other containers were smuggled before, although the information supports that theory. Also, there are several containers still in the port awaiting completion of customs formalities. The contents of the trailers stopped by Kuwaiti officials had been unknown, though they were monitored by drug enforcement officials beginning immediately after leaving the port of Shuwaikh and heading to Arifjan camp, along with a convoy of trailers.

When the trailer deviated from the convoy and headed to the Subhan area, it was stopped and the driver was arrested, along with the person who brought the shipment and another container was stopped after the completion of the formalities. When transporting containers to the American army, some contracting companies or persons might bring in whatever they want, under the guise that it is cargo for the American army and cannot be inspected, as per agreement with the two countries.

If the American army is careless in protecting itself, and the army knows very well that war is not only a showdown between two armies, but also of how an army can be harmed through keeping poisonous materials in their food or through chemicals in their equipment, even if those materials were not important.

We thank the ministry of interior for stopping the two containers, yet the ministry is requested to take necessary precautions to apprehend those containers which might be loaded with arms or explosives and can cause harm to the security of our state. The American army can monitor those containers loaded on trailers through convoys traveling to their camps and know the number of containers that left the port and the number that arrive at the camps. – Al-Anba

By Hamad Al Sarie

July 3, 2012 Posted by | Crime, Cultural, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Kuwait, Law and Order, Living Conditions | 2 Comments