Kuwait, Should I Stay Or Go

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Feb 3rd, 2013, 08:38 PM
  #1
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Kuwait, Should I Stay Or Go

During the boarding process of my flight to Kuwait City I engage in a conversation with a flight attendant about my reason for going to Kuwait. My response surprises her as in her opinion not too many people go to Kuwait for vacation as there is really not much to do or see there. She does offer that the Old Souk might be interesting to see and she does enjoy the fresh seafood there.

By the time I am squared away in Kuwait City with a rental car and have checked into my hotel I have time for just a short night drive into the city. I am beginning to agree with the flight attendant's point of view especially after seeing a few of the road signs like running a red light can lead to death or prison. Having to go through a random police checkpoint in the city did not help my impression either.

However, seeing the Liberation Tower lit up night with a full moon in the background was worth the drive. I hope my planned drive tomorrow gives me a better impression of the place few people seem to visit for vacation.
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Feb 4th, 2013, 01:57 AM
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Unless you're Kuwaiti. Extremely unlikely unless you're a third world national and only then if you can tear the police away from their tea.

We lived there for 4.5 years...never did see it as a tourist destination.

Drive safely - drivers in Kuwait are absolutely insane.
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Feb 4th, 2013, 06:32 AM
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Is Kuwait your only stop or are you on your way to somewhere else? I've always imagined Kuwait to be mostly a business destination, but admittedly I don't know much about what is on offer there.
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Feb 4th, 2013, 10:56 AM
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Meln8,

It only took me a day and a half to see why it is not a tourist destination

However, it was still a place on the globe I wanted to see and I did enjoy the short time I spent with a few locals although not necessarily the police at a random check point in the city.
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Feb 4th, 2013, 10:59 AM
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trebex,

Just short backpacking stops through the Middle East on my way to Asia. Next Bahrain and Oman
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Feb 4th, 2013, 11:36 AM
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Oman should probably be the best of the Gulf states.
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Feb 4th, 2013, 12:07 PM
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Sand and Fog

I leave Times Square Hotel in the early afternoon headed south along Highway 30 with my destination about 20kms away. There I hope to see some of the “Super Tankers” that transport Kuwait's most important product to the rest of the world.

Not far along Highway 30 the skies become covered with a dense desert fog. Leaving the highway and driving along the coastline, I have to use my imagination and map reference to know there is a beach and ocean waters beyond the palm trees that line the highway.

I arrive at the port area where I expect to see “Super Tankers” and I looking more at a military secure type installation than a shipping port.

I am told by an employee that with the current conditions it is difficult from our vantage point to see the ships in port. Maybe at night through the haze one might be able to see the outline of the tankers.

At a marina nearby the visibility is so poor because of the fog at 1:30 in the afternoon that you can barely see out to sea. The visibility has to be less than a quarter mile.

After spending time at a nearby fresh meat, fish and fruit market the weather somewhat improves as I drive back to Kuwait City although the skyscrapers are still shrouded in fog.

My next destination is the Kuwait Towers one of the city's famous landmark or eyesore for some. About a US$3 admission fee allows you to visit the observation level of one of these beauties. Approaching the ticket window, I feel like I have just arrived at Wally World.

The Kuwait Towers are closed for renovation. Until when, nobody seems to know. One less thing to do if you visit Kuwait.


Video:http://youtu.be/GnxBv9AU3KU
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Feb 4th, 2013, 02:54 PM
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Ah, memories. Can't say I miss the place.

Enjoy Oman and Bahrain. Oman in particular is lovely.
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Feb 4th, 2013, 10:51 PM
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I agree about Oman and its someplace I want to return. Syria was another magical place but alas, not for visitors right now.
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Feb 5th, 2013, 05:08 AM
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moremiles,

I should have gone to Syria when I had the chance. Hopefully it won't too long before the opportunity presents itself again.
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Feb 5th, 2013, 05:10 AM
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Some Real Fresh Foods

A stop at a marina and I stroll towards a big building that contains a fish market. Bustling with activity, here you can purchase some of the fresh catch of the day and some of the biggest shrimp that I have ever seen. I have to make several “I am just looking” comments as the fish merchants are eager to do business.

Connected to the fish market in the building next door is a fresh meat market. Here I get a first time experience inside a real butcher shop thanks to the locals who are so friendly and willing to satisfy my curiosity. Realizing that I don't speak Arabic they call over a gentlemen that speaks English in order to extend their hospitality.

I get to watch the shop in action although it makes me nervous seeing one of the butcher cut small pieces of the meat with a buzzing chain saw. I do get to have my picture taken next to some home grown Kuwaiti sheep that are so fresh they are still dripping in blood. Sorry, PETA.

Next it's the fresh fruit and vegetables vendors with all sorts of goodies that make me want to get a huge stir fry going. Instead, I go into the supermarket portion of The Sultan Center to do a little shopping and hopefully find a date or two. After all, It's Just Lunch, Time.

I find my dates but they are not Kuwaiti Nationals. They are from Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. I get then wrapped up to go and then get an order of Lamb briyani from the deli area.

I hope it is as delicious as it looks.


Video:http://youtu.be/QFqIVit0tUw
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Feb 5th, 2013, 03:22 PM
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Home grown Kuwaiti sheep? Are you referring to Najdi sheep?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think most live sheep are imported into Kuwait from places like Australia and NZ and then butchered in Kuwait.

Not much to graze on in the desert.

Middle-Eastern meat markets always put me off, something about that overpowering smell of blood.

Interesting video DMB, thanks for sharing.
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Feb 6th, 2013, 02:42 PM
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Melnq8,

I think you might be right about sheep being imported. However, I asked the question and I think that is the answer I think I got
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Feb 6th, 2013, 02:43 PM
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The Old Souk

Although by no stretch of the imagination would I consider myself a shopper, visiting the famous markets in the Middle East is something worth doing. Seeing the tons and tons of “stuff for sale” that makes the world go around is always interesting.

At first entering the Old Souk in Kuwait City is not that impressive as I enter through an area that looks like a war zone. Dilapidated empty buildings everywhere with stray cats and dogs roaming around the alley ways filled with garbage and trash.

The real meat of the market area comes a few more steps away where the Liberation Tower can be seen in the background. Like most other markets, The Old Souk is filled with rows and rows of all kinds of items for sale. From fresh meats and vegetables to clothing, nuts and even a fresh fish market.

In one area I watch craftsmen demonstrating their skills on old Singer sewing machines while making various types of bags and curtains. However, for me the most interesting area of the market is an open spot where it seems like it is mostly men who are doing the shopping and bargaining.

As I walk among them I not only see all types of electronic goods and DVD's for sale but I spot what I think is one tough seller. Sitting somewhat off to the side is a female merchant in what is no doubt a primarily male dominated area.

You go, girl!


Video:http://youtu.be/oBcGBaO8xrI
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