CBWC : Black and White Trees from Kuwait

Kuwait has very little nature, it is a desert country and you cannot find a lush green field. When we drive along the desert, it is so barren. Nothing to see except the power lines, camels, and dust.

I can count with my fingers the trees that survive the natural hazards like Dust storms and intense heat.Date Palm trees are the most common tree that I have seen during the entire time I was living there.I remember that when date trees starts to bear fruits, the owner would wrapped the fruits with a plastic bag to protect them. We had a supply of the ripen dates ( or T´mar), especially during the months of Holy Ramadan. It´s the same culture where friends would give me pears and apples during harvest time in Fall here in Germany.

Leaning tree in Salmiya Park, Kuwait

This leaning tree in the photo above is quite special. I dunno its name but I find it really nice, with its fine foliage and bended branches.I wonder how it had branches like that? Stretched by life or trying to show it´s tenacity and flexibility through harsh weather. I guess probably I am the only one who notices it since I this impression that many people there just don´t care about gardens, nature or environment.

On the other hand, I remembered this leaning tree very well. My daughter was 1 year old and she plays under it. Now she is a master of climbing trees . I really wonder if this tree is still alive and thriving.It is one of the few trees adoring this playground aside from the hedges surrounding the park.

I see trees from Kuwait as a symbol of tenacity and not for aesthetic purposes. What survives there is really because they have managed to survived and passed the natural hurdles, and not because they were cultivated and cared for. Sadly many plants as well face extinction.With almost zero chance of rainfall every year, what can you expect? How can you expect a natural growth of trees with almost zero irrigation and less water?

Another barren, fruitless tree in the Green Island, Kuwait which survives 50+ degrees temperatures and humidity in Kuwait

But then something amazing happened. The great initiative of Kuwait Oasis, started the project ” Great Green Wall of Kuwait.” The enormous tree planting begun using Groasis ´s Waterboxx® plant cocoon and the results are really more than you could imagine.Ghaf trees were planted and you can see the updates and photo gallery showing the gradual growth of the trees planted in the challenging southern part of kuwait deserts.

Someone believe that doing something as simple as “trying” could actually made a big difference. It all started with a great initiative and now serves as an inspiration to the world. Of course you can´t make a desert into full lush green fields and because it´s a desert by nature, but doing something for the environment has long term effects.

There are over 400 plant species in Kuwait, but there is only 1 native Tree that is native to Kuwait and that is the tree known as “Talha“.It´s a kind of Acacia (acacia pachyceras) and normally found in the Sabah Al Ahmed nature reserve .I took a shot of this while visiting the Wafra Farms in Kuwait and it shows radically how barren the surrounding environment is. Powerlines are actually more than the trees itself.
Rows of Date Palm Trees in the grounds of Scientific Center in Salmiya, Kuwait

In the end, I have seen the great side of it, the sunsets and sunrise beneath these rows of palm trees are quite special. And that´s one thing why I would always remember the “Trees of Kuwait”.

This post is inspired by Cee´s Black & White Trees Challenge and also timely for this month´s theme for the Squares, TreeSquares hosted by the charming Becky.

One question, have you ever planted a tree?

Until then, I can almost smell the weekend. Tschüss.

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

From where I stand

From where I stand … here somewhere along the way fascinated with Manholes.
Journal about Manholes around the World

Do you love taking photos of your feet?

As I sorted out my gallery, I noticed that I have quite a few photos that shows where I stand, like a compass indicating my bearings. It’s funny because I haven’t realized that I’ve got this habit of looking down and when I see something interesting, I snap my phone and take photo. I’ve thought about the idea of collecting these photos and make a post out of it showing that wandering can be life changing.

This photo brings back lovely memories in me. The first year of my life as a Mother and I think the last year before we moved to Germany. My favorite pastime— I usually do morning run and long walks along the shores of Arabian Gulf. Watching nature and sunrises are my thing. Every week it gives me different panoramic views of the beach and the sound of the waves was really something therapeutic.
From where I stand here in the sand patterns of Arabian Gulf in Kuwait
From where I stand on top of Kuwait Towers

Isn’t it wonderful that we make a pause in order to admire where we are walking and not always in haste?

Well the road system and pavements and everything is totally different from Kuwait to Germany. Here, the roads are better, smoother, and well paved. There are actually plenty of foot paths and the manholes are worthwhile to look. Not so in Kuwait where it is very hot outside and there are no beautiful thing to look down on the ground, only dust.

The feel of sand on your toes…

I started taking photographs of manholes or drainage lately and develop a habit of looking down for some things that is mostly written down.When I came to Germany, I followed the path of “Stumbling stones“or Stolpersteine which wakens my curiosity about its interesting story about the victims of World War II and Nazi in Germany. There is so much more than these stumbling stones. Even if I grew up on the other side of the world, it really makes me grateful that dark past is over and I have the freedom to walk out in the streets without fear.

Standing in front of Humboldt University in Berlin, 2018.
This is the place where they burn books during the time of Nazi period. It is unbelievably tragic to know that later on they also burn people to death.
Standing where Germany was once divided.
Tag der Deutschen Einheit ( or Day of Unification is celebrated on October 3 and is observed as National Holiday in Germany)
Standing from where the old Berlin Wall stands. This wall tells us many stories, even more untold stories from the people who were divided because of this wall.

I don’t know exactly where did this fashion for feet-photography came from.Do you agree that internet is a great influence, it’s the source of all fad just like Photo Challenges here in WordPress. It’s the same as “Selfie” or “From where I stand ” type photos came out as soon as smartphones were born. I also love those people who photographed themselves with plants. These green-type photography is something that I do as well.

We’re standing where we watched the Handprints of Stars in Olympic Stadion in Munich, 2017
We love the Fantastischen Vier and all other artists who had their hands imprinted on the cemented ground.

From where I stand… after cruising through two rivers, August 2019
These rocks came from the limestone mountains of the Danube Gorge that were changed and eroded through millions of years.
From where I stand… somewhere in Bavaria, 2018
Last year’s Autumn in Germany
I spent many times doing long walks and watch the various colors of leaves on the ground. I call them “Natural carpet”

From where I sit, ( can’t stand) maybe?
It’s hard to stand on top of these concrete blocks breakwater along the Arabian Gulf in Kuwait

In life, we also stand where big changes in our lives happen, or situations where we stand in a line between important decisions and choices.

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”
Here standing where I said “I do ” on my wedding Day.
Isn’t the carpet nice?
RadissonBlu, Kuwait 2014

Where are the most memorable place and situations that you stood your ground and took photos?

Do you have any particular subject for photography?

Have you enjoyed this post?  Make sure to hit the Follow button for more Expat stories and travel stories on this Blog. If you are an Expat Mama, you might want to be featured in this Blog for our series on Expat Mamas around the World! Drop me an email at justbluedutch@gmail.com.

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Friendly Friday : Electric

It’s Friday once again and I can’t almost smell the weekend. Here in Germany it’s Dirndl and Lederhosen time because Oktoberfest opens this weekend! Who’s coming?!

The mood for Friendly Friday Photo Challenge calls for Electric and here’s some photos I wanna share to interpret this mood.

Have you ever been “electrified” by cool Graffiti Artworks?

I am always fan of Art, in all forms. I love painting in different mediums but not tried Spray. I think this technique requires great talent, control and electric motivation.I find Graffiti artwork very moving. It has a silent message, a radical expression I must add. It requires a lot of attention because our senses are easy to deviate from its message. Some call it only a fuzzy mess, some says it’s vandalism.

Some says it’s an aggressive way of expression. What do you think?

But then, it can move you. It catches your attention and maybe, maybe out of the blue, it can be “electrifying”.

Do you like Graffiti Art?

But I am never fan of an piss-off electric attitude.

I piss the wall {East Side Gallery, Berlin, 2019}

And yes, sometimes, it pays to have an electric attitude.

I used to wear electric shoes in Kuwait to combat sandstorms!
(Desert area, Kuwait)

Happy Friday everyone!

Random Ramblings : Dear Tourist, please unlock your Love…

Put your love on the wall ( East Side Gallery , Berlin 2019)

Who among you is enamored ( or had been, never was, or has future plans ) by these love -locks mania?

Is it only me or others also find it fascinating (or rather intriguing) to ask why people wants to put love locks on bridges, walls railings, fences, or to other odd places ? In the first place, padlocks belongs to doors and gates and not on bridges!

I was inspired to write this post because some time ago, I heard my Colleague sharing her story about her daughter who has a boyfriend. On her birthday she asked her mother for a gift, a very special gift— a “Liebeschlosser” in Deutsch or personalized engraved love lock ! With the name of the couple of course.Where they are going to hang it I didn’t bother to ask anymore!

See, honestly, it’s hard not to ignore them , they are almost everywhere! Crossing the bridge full of padlocks will definitely redirect your focus. I wanted to look at the city view but I can’t even have a better view because the bridge is so full of tourists–everybody ogling around the padlocks!

Just look at all those heart-shaped little piece of metal. I’ve seen that the new fad comes even with a photo! Look closely and you will realize that it becomes a human nature. People from different origin are doing it.Wanting to do it, and maybe already bought a padlock to put it somewhere.

They are unbelievably insane in numbers! All of these locks with inscriptions, in different colors, size and design composed a debatable grafitti--an undeniably vandalism of natural scenic spots. All for the sake of going through the “fad”or ” tourist trap”, “photo point” or whatever you call it. The effect can already be seen–some key states already started the padlock ban !

But what really drives people ( or couples) to “bridged” and locked their love? perhaps a travel culture, or just a plain tourist trap dilemma? Netherlands has another fad–locking their bikes along the canal bridges, and that’s another story.

Bridges full enough along the canals in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

From the place where I grew up, we never have this kind of love lock bridges, ( or not that I know of, or have seen!) nor that I’ve seen something like this in Kuwait either. First, padlocks are not cheap and rivers are already contaminated and adding keys will definitely pose another environmental problem. Just imagine the amount of padlocks that were removed from Paris that ‘s almost over a million padlocks that weights more than 45 tonnes! That was a sensational issue.

It’s not for sure a European thing because I’ve noticed that in many different parts of the world, there are definitely magnets for romantics to put a chain of their love ! It’s crazy just seeing the amount of padlocks and how multi-lingual the inscriptions, it’s really international! Even here in my little town of Ingolstadt, where Audi’s and BMW’s parades the streets, but also, our bridges are getting “heavy”and “heavier” because people are also putting more and more their love on chains! All for the sake of “Liebe“.

A love lock chained in the bridge in Salzsach river in Salzburg in Austria

I noticed that this thing became a thing in almost big cities. Started in Paris and now, almost big cities have their own bridge of love locks attraction. People picked-up the habit of buying locks, engraving their names, and chaining their hearts on these metals hooked up in bridges, throw the keys and then left. What is astonishing is that so many shops sells these stuff! If there were no padlocks, of course this “business” will not thrived as well. I noticed that many locks are written with different languages so people from different places really contribute to this commotion of locks in bridges.

How to kill time with a toddler : Bring them to a bridge full of padlocks and let them read all the names, better let them count the lovelocks.

Big balls of Love from Bavaria
Love padlocks invade the world!

Have you ever tried putting your love in chains?

If given the chance, would you ever put a padlock for your love on a bridge?