Sunday, February 10, 2008
Weekend in Kuwait - I
An enjoyable trip into the "big city" this past weekend (Friday and Saturday). I booked a car and driver who picked my colleague and I up at 9 am and drove us to our first destination: the new "Avenues" mall - the largest mall in Kuwait. (It's still under construction.) We completed our eweekly grocery shopping at Carrefour - a huge supermarket (a French-based chain of stores similar to Wal-Mart in the USA). I like heading into town on Friday mornings as most of the 'Kamikazies' are off the road and driving on Kuwait's highways is noticeably safer! Since our company's camp is situated in the southern most portion of Kuwait (just 30 mins from the Saudi border), we are forced to venture outside and drive at least 35 - 60 minutes in search of a decent sized grocery store in order to get a reasonable selection of food. (Unlike in Houston where there is a major grocery store every mile or so from my home!) In addition, I must cart around an ice chest to help keep the food cool after purchasing the food. Summer time temps here in Kuwait exceed 40 deg C (104 deg F) and food spoils rapidly if not properly preserved. Grocery shopping is typically considered a routine or mundane activity - not worthy of mentioning in a diary or blog. However, when living in remote areas away from our homes, we tend to forget that acquiring food and other of life's essentials can sometimes be a real chore. At least we are blessed with huge markets and malls here in Kuwait!! I remember in Angola we had vistually nothing save for a small commissary.
Following Avenues, we headed over to the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza hotel for the Friday seafood buffet. Excellent food for only about 9 KD ($ 34 USD) per person. A nice treat and a pleasant ending to a very busy work week.
On the way home, we passed by a lot of the "spring camps" (see above picture) that spring up in the desert at this time of the year. Kuwaitis it turns out like to get back to nature and pitching a tent in the desert is, I suppose, their way of keeping their desert-based culture alive. These camps are set up in the Fall (November) and usually come down with the onset of summertime heat in April - May. I've never had the pleasure of being invited inside one of these spring camps / tents, however. Maybe sometime .....