Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My First Week in Kuwait: Bureaucracy, Extreme Desert Heat and Doughnut Day!


Hello again from Kuwait! I arived safely last Wednesday evening on time. Turns out Thursday (July 23) was declared a Holiday. The actual holiday fell on Monday (July 20th) but the Kuwaiti parliament (bless their hearts) decided to let everyone have a three-day weekend and made Thursday the actual day off for all workers. So I had three days during which time I was able to recouperate from the loooooong journey over here.

I ran around Fahaheel on Thursday and got in a little too much sun for my first day in country so I chose to stay home and rest all day on Friday. Saturday was my 'grocery-shopping-day-of-the-week' and also the day when a colleague drove me to Kuwait International Airport to pick up my rental car - a GMC Envoy. Then lunch at Applebees in Mangaf.

The first week here in Wonderful Wafra Field (located inside the Partitioned Neutral Zone - a strip of land between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) has been rather hectic. One pleasant note: Tuesday was DOUGHNUT DAY! A local contractor has a tradition whereby they bring in doughnuts for us office people and we gorge ourselves on all that 'health food'. The doughnuts have all the basic food ingredients: fat, sugar, carbs ..... but they sure are Mmm-mmm good! The least pleasant note came also on Tuesday. I attempted to pick up my company car but a bureaucrat sniffed and said he needed to see proof of insurance. I replied that since I was a company employee, that should not be necessary. He said it was and without an 'insurance certificate', well, there'd be no car for the Traveling Chemist! Frustrated, I returned to the office and employed the help of our capable office admin person who - hopefully - will contact the appropriate people and secure whatever paper the bureaucrat needs and maybe (or "inshallah" as the locals say) I shall have my car by the end of this week. Maybe. Stay tuned. But that's the way things work over here in the Middle East. Once you solve one problem, the 'system' manages to create another roadblock somehow, someway!

For your information, the day time high temps have hovered around 115 - 120 deg F!

Until my next posting ....
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PS: The black cat, whose image I managed to capture above, graced my front door a few days ago. It stared at me for about one minute or so. Not sure if this is a good omen or what? What do some of my Followers have to say? Comments??

3 comments:

Madame Lefty said...

Well I gave my sister, who will be moving in with me soon, a black cat that use to look exactly like that, before she got spayed. Now she's big and fat. And usually when Isis looks at you with her big eyes she just wants attention. I noticed that among black cats. Maybe they don't feel the love, because of all the superstition surrounding them? Just a thought. =)

Dan Denardo said...

115-120!!! wow! Take care. Stay hydrated. All the best to you.

Love the story about your Canon camera! I guess it's not just me!

John said...

Yeah, that's super high temperatures man! Drink plenty of fluids frequently, especially those isotonic drinks and fruit juices.

So did you managed to get the car in the end?

Could it be the rarity of black cats and hence the association of bad luck with it? I haven't seen one for ages!