Friday, April 28, 2006


Note: Be prepared for a long post

I hope that you are all waiting in anticipation for a more detailed post on my latest destination. You have all guessed well, dear bloggers. Middle East was close but Kuwait was accurate. How did you do it, pray tell? Palm trees, large malls overlooking the marina, sea, sun and sand, fushia and white petunias in bloom, who would have guessed?

I spent 7 nights in Kuwait, with the arrival back at KLIA on the 9th day where the time difference was 5 hours. You wouldn't believe it but Emirates, Qatar Air and Thai Airways were full leaving me with Sri Lankan Airlines available on the dates of travel. I didn't bother checking with Kuwait and Gulf Airlines because they were way above budget. It was about 4 hours flight time to Columbo and 7 hours to Kuwait.

To sum up very quickly in random, the country is beautiful but expensive to live in, people are rude but filthy filthy rich, weather's hot but low in humidity, food's great and lots of variety, too many foreigners who are labour in the country - Indians, Filipinos, Egyptions, Lebanese etc and Asians are nothing more than labour in the Middle East, Kuwaitis are a minority in their own country, uses Kuwaiti Dinars where KD1 = USD3.4 (1000fils = KD1), great infrastructure, reckless drivers, left-hand drive, 4WD/Sports cars are a common sight, jeans + tshirts = maids/GROs/labour (so dress well), do not expose arms and legs, fish/rice/potatoes and fastfood are a popular diet (BurgerKing, PizzaHut, KFC, McD, you name it), no fishing out camera as you wish in public, Middle Eastern men in their white dish-dashas look dashingly handsome in contrast to women in their black abayaas, they purchase gold by the kilogrammes, obesity is a problem, do not make eye contact or stare at men (if you're a woman) - Phew!

*take a breather*

And now for some pictures...

The buildings are boring, squarish and have no proper tiled roofs with water tanks above. It's got thick walls to withstand heat and notice the colours of white, beige and brown - colour of dessert.


Al-Kout mall overlooking some (oil?) refineries beyond from it's observation tower


Souk Sharq (Sharq market) overlooking the marina. Kuwaitis who own personal boats will park them here


Rows and rows of shops selling sequinned head scarves and gold


Fresh catches and l-a-r-g-e fish

You can get everything from household stuff to nice machine-woven carpets (Persian lookalike) to used goods to junk!

Look at the sea of people

Guess what the wheelbarrow is for? Pay the men 500fils (half a USD) and they will follow you around with your shopping cart at the market

Women in their abayaas bargaining. See that man with the wheelbarrow waiting on them?

Alongside herbs/spices/vegetables, you will find lots of stalls selling dates and they are delicious but costly.

Assorted sweet preserved dates

Icons of Kuwait

Water towers spotted in each housing district

The Liberation Tower brightly illuminated at night

The Kuwait Towers - they are water towers. 185 metres high with a restaurant in the tower with the double bulb

View from the (revolving) Kuwait Towers' Observation Deck

Twenty kilometers east of Kuwait City lies Failaka Island, pronounced Fai-la-cha in the local dialect. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, this is one of the first islands which the Iraqi forces attacked. Traces of damage and post-war still seen around the island.

It's now a heritage village

The train which took us around the island


Military tanks left behind after the Iraqis have destroyed the island

Fancy a camel ride, anyone?

View of Failaka Island from the sea (far, far away)

I met Samar while exploring the island, a 27-year-old Palestinian refugee who has been in Kuwait for the past 24 years


Street sign

Car plates

Kentucky Fried Chicken - see the "All You Can Eat" notice stuck on the window? Told you obesity is a problem there

Starbucks Coffee - men in their white dashing dish-dashas enjoying the day's brew

Beautiful petunia blooms found almost everywhere

Beautiful palm trees lined near the sea, along the main roads and spotted in housing areas. I guess palm trees could withstand heat and harsh weathers

A larger-then-fishing-boat called a Dhou

Road to no-where with cables along the dessert

In the midst of a sandstorm

Oh yes, it's Hard Rock Cafe!

And I'm not supposed to do this in the Middle East.

But I did. Oops, my bad! Look at the potrait above me. Ain't the last ruler of Kuwait handsome in his dish-dasha? He passed away in January.

Kuwait, I must say, was a real eye-opener. No, it's not a usual traveller's destination nor a tourist's spot but it is good for an experience (of a lifetime) or a peek to the "other part of the world". This is the best that I could do to put together a country that is difficult to describe any further.

They always say that the best to feel a place is to visit it.

22 flowers for this post
I hear that Kuwait is nice at this time of the year. Missed you, PrincEss. Glad to have you back again.
Friend For Life | 24.04.06 - 4:10 pm | #


the water tower give it away...
i hv thought is north america
Zbjernak | Homepage | 24.04.06 - 6:41 pm | #


no prize;
no gas.
welcome back
travelled by keleta lembu?
OR Camel's back?
ylchong | Homepage | 24.04.06 - 9:39 pm | #


i have no idea mannnnnnnnnn

where have u been??? nice pix =)))
cyber-red | Homepage | 24.04.06 - 11:56 pm | #


hmm... i thought it's Arab...
kruy | Homepage | 25.04.06 - 12:01 am | #


Dubai? Wow, you pergi holiday! So nice
bkworm | Homepage | 25.04.06 - 10:04 am | #


Wow wee... Such a lovely place. Is it Dubai??? =)
Amie.Lee | Homepage | 25.04.06 - 6:53 pm | #


it's kuwait. i'm smart.
michaelooi | Homepage | 26.04.06 - 10:48 pm | #


The real question, though, is...
How many pairs of shoes did you buy there?
Friend For Life | 26.04.06 - 11:34 pm | #


Arab. Tee hee hee... this is definitely correct. :P
fish fish | Homepage | 27.04.06 - 12:06 am | #


So where did you go..??
Mama BoK | Homepage | 27.04.06 - 4:00 am | #


Missed your travel posts. Always been my favourite, and this one's no exception. You sound like you enjoyed yourself

When's your next holiday going to take you, I wonder! Good to have you back though.
M | Homepage | 28.04.06 - 10:48 am | #


Ha! Ha! Ha! The picture that piqued me was the one with Starbucks in it!
bkworm | Homepage | 28.04.06 - 11:04 am | #


FFL: How did you guess? No, didn't buy any shoes. Didn't buy anything at all. It was way too expensive.

Zbjernak: Many ppl don't even know that the water tower is a landmark of Kuwait

Desi: Nope, no prize. How about a story in full?

Reta/kruy/Amie/fish fish/MamaBok: The title tells all now.

michaelooi: Hannah hannah, smart lah!

M: I don't know where I'll go next but I sure will be looking forward to reading YOUR travel stories soon. 5 weeks of travel, eh?

bkworm: Starbucks in Arabic, eh? Share why...
Primrose | Homepage | 28.04.06 - 11:59 am | #


great writeup! i would love to go to kuwait, it's definately someplace for a traveler to go to. it's definately not on the common destinations lists aka the usual suspects. nice...

anyway, does the kfc and starbucks in kuwait have different menu items?

nice photos, i felt like i was there. good work!
killuminati | Homepage | 28.04.06 - 3:09 pm | #

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- jealous liao
foodcrazee | Homepage | 28.04.06 - 8:12 pm | #


Hello dearie,

Well said Primrose! you never visit the place, you never feel it how good the place is...Overall, it's a beautiful place, country. Primrose, are you travelling alone! I always wanted to travelling on my own.
Charlene | Homepage | 29.04.06 - 1:02 am | #


Guess, i'll try for lonely travel sometimes this year..i must try, methinks it'll be fun and adventurers.

TGIF! & Labour day!
Charlene | Homepage | 29.04.06 - 1:40 am | #


I guess I've been away for too long because the last I was here, you're still preparing for your trip and now you're back! OUCH!

Anyways, I never thought a beautiful flower petunia exists in such a dry country as Kuwait! I'm bad!:P

nice to have you back in KL, or else I might read about a primrose in need of fresh air and water! =)
arGlene | 30.04.06 - 10:39 am | #


Hi killuminati, I have only checked out the StarBucks menu and the coffee items seemed the same to me. Not sure about KFC but McD had some specialty vegetarian burger.

Aiyah foodcrazee, no need jealous. I am still so happy to be home.

Hey Char! Must try, must try!

Haven't seen you for long, Arglene. Back from Kuwait and have a different perception of the country now... Good to travel. It's widens the mind.
Primrose | Homepage | 30.04.06 - 4:35 pm | #


yes, primrose:
expand the words to a feature worth publisgingin a nu'espaper, just don't de-nude the woemn in veil and purdah?
Ooops, hope this won't get the Prim(e)Rose in trouble!

Besides the magoes, any dates left over?
ylchong | Homepage | 01.05.06 - 7:41 pm | #


Interesting place wor especially the crowded market place. Wish I was there with you.
chiki | 02.05.06 - 9:54 am | #


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