Friday, November 19, 2010

Return to Kuwait

Photo: Whatever this iis, it's in downtown Kuwait City. I call this the "corkscrew" building! Not sure who owns it but it sure looks strange!!

Apologies for not posting sooner but I have been so swamped with work, that I could not take time out to tend to my blog. I arrived into Kuwait three weeks ago on October 29 and have been blessed with such amazing weather - no sand storms and no excessive heat. Just sunny and cool/warm weather all the time ... so far!

The first two work weeks (October 31 to November 4 and November 7 to 11) were devoted to meetings and to an SPE (Society of Petroleum Engineers)Oil Conference where yours truly presented a technical paper in front of about 140 people. Thankfully the audience was most receptive and asked many questions. The venue was the Hilton resort in Mangaf, Kuwait. A nice, seaside resort complex.

This past week was devoted to the Islamic Eid Holiday!! The Eid Holiday is actually only about three days in length but the company decided to give everyone off the entire week! I, however, was in the office most of the week. However, I did mange to take off early each day and head into town a few times to enjoy lunch at some local restaurants and take in the scenery.

Just a personal note: like on all my prior visits to Kuwait, I find the local people most friendly and the overall atmosphere quite accepting of Westerners such as myself. Despite the fact that America has a bad reputation amongst Muslims worldwide, the Kuwaitis can differentiate between America and Americans - such as myself. Although they may not like my country's political policies, Kuwaitis have generally been welcoming and hospitable to me during all my travels here in this country.

And now some pictures taken during the past three weeks:

A new unusual building in downtown Kuwait City - about an hour's drive north from where I am housed in Mina Al Zour.

Lots of new buildings springing up on the way into town. These are on Highway 40 ....

Another interesting building ....

Part of the skyline in downtown Kuwait City.

Always need to slow down when passing camels along the road to work in Wafra!!!

I could not resist taking this picture. I had lunch at the TGI Friday's restaurant in Fintas and this place was next door. Nowadays, with everyone being so health conscious, you'd think a name such as this would be avoided!! I Binged the name "Fat Burger" and sure enough there is actually a chain of burger joints in the USA under this name!! Yuk! THE last thing I need in my body is more fat! Couldn't they have thought of another name??!!

Eid Mubarak - Arabic for Happy Eid Holiday!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dubai and The Burj Khalifa: The World's Tallest Building

Photo: The Burj Khalifa - the world's tallest building.

I am pleased to report that I had a smooth flight from Houston last week. I departed Houston's IAH Airport on Tuesday, Oct. 26 aboard Emirates 212 (Business Class, thankfully!!). We landed in Dubai after exactly 14 hours of flight time. In precisely one hour I was in my room at The Address Hotel - one of the newest hotels in Dubai. Despite what you hear about the financial crisis, hotel rooms in Dubai still are extremely high-priced! Including the 10% tax and 10% service charge, my room cost me about $425 PER NIGHT! I chose this hotel because it was right next to the world's tallest building - the Burj Khalifa. There are reported to be 160 floors total in this building. Visitors can only ascend as high as the 124th floor where there is an open air and an enclosed / air conditioned observation deck. Amazing views abound. The ride up takes only 60 seconds and costs 100 Dirhams (about $27 USD). Unless you are afraid of heights, I recommend this attraction. Book early in the day as time slots fill up fast. I purchased my ticket at 10 am and waited until 12 noon for my assigned time to ride the elevator up. I used the 2 hours strolling through the Dubai Mall to which my hotel is literally attached.
Some photos of my short (two-day) visit to Dubai are presented below. Enjoy - and PLEASE take some time to comment and share your thoughts!!
The Address Hotel
(my room was on the 28th floor)

The Gold Souk (market) at the Dubai Mall, adjacent to my hotel.

My mother's favorite store. When I was growing up in the BRONX (New York City), I shopped at Bloomingdales in New Rochelle so many times.
Emirates 212: Houston to Dubai in 14 hours.

Believe it or not, this is Baggage Claim at Dubai Airport's Terminal 3. Probably the fanciest baggage claim one will ever encounter anywhere!