Mushroom H2O Towers in Kuwait

photo12Nope, they are not  funnels, they are water Towers. They are storage tanks for H2O in Kuwait.

These  huge  33  Torres mushroom towers  are  designed by VBB, Sune Lindström , Joe Lindström &  Stig Egnells and holds a combined storage capacity of 102.000m3  and are the most visible symbol of the storage system and water distribution in Kuwait City. Aside from the glamorous Kuwait Towers, they are next prominent landmark of Kuwait. I think they are really a distinct design which I can only identify to this country.

Kuwait may have abundant electric power supply and they have oil, lots of it, but water in Kuwait is like diamonds. It´s a precious commodity and as far as I remember, the tap water is not suitable for drinking so we always buy tons and tons of bottled water everyday. I would carry them up to our flat villa since the elevator works only up to the 2nd floor. To tell you frankly, I think, the prices of oil is cheaper than bottled water!

I have lived in Kuwait for 8 long years and seeing these Water Towers ever single day is always part of my daily sightings, I see them on good fine weathers, on dusty and sandstormy ones, and they always bring me fond memories whenever I reflect on them.The blue and white stripe colors is really a great contrast on an arid weather that we always have there. They shined so bright and you can see them from a far so easily. Going to work, I see these mushrooms alongside the Bayan Palace in the 5th Ring Road. Of all the Towers spread all over Kuwait, I think they are the most striking; probably second to the beautiful Kuwait Towers! But then it is only on my opinion. I love it as well when they repainted it during the Hala February celebrations and put on some crazy lights in all the months of the festivities. Especially at night, they could really looked amazing!

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Each reservoir has a standard capacity of 3000m3 and are supported by shafts of different heights.

The number of towers in each group varies between 6 and 9 and is determined by the consumption of each area. The towers are groups formed by pillars open rooms, which provide shades to the garden areas that develops underneath. Only two of the groups have landscaped gardens which are accessible to public.

How would I compared this structure to water consumption with my brand new life here in Germany? Well, a lot actually. Expat lifestyle is also very different.Kuwait is a desert country but rich in oil. I could count numerous times where I can’t take shower because we don’t have water in the 7th floor. I had to laugh when I remember that I had to wash my daughter’s poppy ass with bottled water. Typical scenario,right? Ordering boxes of water from a nearby Bakala is also typical for most households.

Here is Germany, I could just grab a glass of water directly from the faucet. It’s clean & drinkable. But did I told you about the high calcium deposits? Yes, we got anti-calc solution to take care of this.So when I think of water, I’ve got different perspectives from different worlds. In some areas, its scarce, in some place, it’s abundant.

But yes, these Mushroom Towers are rather fascinating, one of a kind.Only in Kuwait I must say. I wonder how it looks nowadays? I have heard that there are new modern buildings and infrastractures that has been built from the past years…

What do you find fascinating in your new country?

This post is in response to this week’s Photo Challenge |H2O

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Kuwait :From an expat point of view

I came to Kuwait in May 2008 totally ignorant about this country. Yes,i know about Saddam’s invasion but i haven’t got any clue what to expect from this country. You see, sometimes, when you make big changes in your life, it’s so spontaneous that you embrace it enough to get it through your skin overnight. Now, for almost 8 years of living and working in this small, yet oil-rich country, Kuwait has been close to my heart. My second home. I have embraced the Kuwaiti way of life, Muslim culture, the real heat during Summers , the fierce Sandstorms, the Authentic brightness of the sun, and the parenthood in this culture.

I’m telling you, Kuwait is not your typical tourist destination .If i were a tourist, i would never put Kuwait in my Bucket List. Why?  No nightlife, No public partying, no alcohol, not much “Green Nature “ to see here, (yeah there is Desert), No Pork! Public Transportation is bad, besides,who would want to go out in the scorching  heat? Kuwait is totally dormant especially during Ramadan. It doesn’t have an appealing profile in Wikipedia, or  in Tripadvisor. But still, there are approximately 2.4 Million expats living here.People are attracted to go to Kuwait  mainly to earn money. People go here to work, and this is  from my own perspective.

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Kuwait Towers.The Symbolic Architectural Heritage of Kuwait.

Now from the moment you step out of the plane and out from the Airport, you inhaled Kuwait. The air you breathe in  is different. The heat & humidity is quite a shock to most foreigners .The heat is real. It could stung your skin. If you come here during the months of May to August,then you might really praise the invention of Airconditioning.You cannot survive here without an AC. When people complained to me that they have hot temperatures, i shrug & always said,“Do you know how it feels to have 50 deg temps?“Getting used to the heat is one of the hurdles you need to overcome. A good pair of Sunglasses is also a  must-have. Never ever come here during Summer!!

As we all know, Kuwait is an Islamic country. Arabic is the main language spoken although English is widely understood by  Kuwaitis .Paperworks in Ministries are all in Arabic so it’s a nerve-wrenching experience to deal with them if you don’t understand it.Prayertimes are widely observed.Every place has it’s own Mosque (Masjid).I have seen cars parked in the middle of the highway, just because the driver needs to pray.I have seen my colleagues pray together, inside the mall,in the park, even in the island of a Roundabout.

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Kuwait Skyline showing modern Skycrapers like Al Hamra Tower.

 

In Europe, where in it is  pedestrian-friendly, the car stops to give way to the pedestrians .In Kuwait, the cars and its drivers rules !Maniac drivers are the King of the Road most especially in the major highways. I saw men driving with  kids in the driver’s seat,no seatbelts,annoyingly feet up on the dashboard,mobile phones are stucked on their cheeks!People are even driving on New Year’s Eve. I often wonder what in the world they are doing spending all their time driving around. Social status is also depends on the car that you drive. Swerving and cutting lanes is common and mostly causes accidents. Driving in Kuwait is not for the faint-hearted. Autobahn in Germany has no speed limit, yet the percentage of road accidents is lower compared to Kuwait who has speed limits set,  yet has a high road-accident rate .Kuwait has broken the world record of number of  traffic deaths.Not really the kind of record to be proud of.

I don’t know why but only in Kuwait that Men stared a LOT.I mean, its really crazy and uncomfortable the way people stares. I would believed that you could get so much attention if you are a Celebrity or a supermodel walking along the street and wearing flashy outfit! Don’t forget that Kuwait is a Muslim country and although Non-Muslim women here are not required to wear the Abaya, they are expected to dressed conservatively. I noticed that Kuwaiti women are fashion & beauty-conscious. They love the glamour & glittery lifestyle. Their wardrobe are always trendy and up to date with fashion . Of course, they have money to splurge on make up , clothes & everything. There’s never too expensive for them. You can always see fashionable women totally made-up even on a very laid back environment just like grocery shopping. International brands flocked in Kuwait’s top malls like The Avenues. From designer shoes to bags, they wear it even going to supermarkets. It’s no wonder also that Kuwaiti women are one of the top users of make up.I mean,they really wear it.Loads of it.Everyday.The number of salons both for men & women are more than the number of gasoline stations.

For most expats working here, An attractive salary offer without any taxes is the top reason to stay. Utilities are minimal. But the high cost of housing is getting higher due to rise in Expat population.If you are working from a private sector then you have benefits like Free Healthcare, Accommodation ,Transportation and Annual vacation leaves with Airfare .But sad to say that most disturbing inhuman acts of molestation and abuse for domestic workers are also coming from here.It breaks my heart to hear many stories of ‘Kabayans’ who are victims of injustice .I have high respect for these women who really work hard  just to provide for their families. In Kuwait , modern slavery is prevalent.

When i was new here, “Diwaniya”caught my attention. It’s totally Kuwaiti.  Every Kuwaiti household  have a  Diwaniya area,mainly a hall or Annex from their reception area for the purpose of meeting & gathering with male friends,colleagues and guests. This tradition is traced back since immemorial. The men usually dressed in their Dishdashas discussing various topics while relaxing,casual smoking,drinking tea,Arabic coffee & Sheesha, nibbling sweets or dates .I find it cozy with their beautiful soft cushions.

As an Expat , I could RANT a lot more about bad things about Kuwait, But then I would be a hypocrite to say that these things are absent in Philippines, in The Netherlands or even in the US.Every country has its own issues.  Maybe the extremities are different but injustice & social problems are prevalent anywhere.There is no such thing as perfect place. As an expat, I have learned to accept this country, with its flaws and everything, After all,it is my own freewill to be here. It doesn’t mean that I approve of the rudeness, Hypocrisy, Wasta System, Modern Slavery and Racism but Generalization is complete ignorance.

I have read lots of hate blogs about Kuwait. It’s like spitting it out as a vomit. So many hate and disgust in their words. Kuwait have wounded their hearts. People have the right to voice out their own opinions and some have low tolerance of anything that pisses them off. It may not work for you, but it doesn’t mean that it couldn’t work for others. I have known kind and decent Kuwaitis so in the end, I tried to keep an open mind and looked on the positive side ;

KUWAIT –A country with distinct heritage.Has a stable currency and one of the richest country as per Capita terms. Kuwaitis are more liberal and westernized compared to other Arab countries.Their government is progressive.Yes,their lifestyle is grand,and spend like crazy ,living in big villas & mansions, but they have the money to spend. They can afford the luxurious life.They have Oil and the State owns it.They are endowed.When a Kuwaiti marries,the government gave money .Education is free.NO TAXES!Gas prices as 70 fils (around 0.25 USD) per liter.Expats bring their families here and settled.One way or another,they know that life is better here compared to their home country.Or else they would have left already.

For those expats  in Kuwait, they have a reason to still stay here. For those who have left already, they’ve had also a reason to go away.

I hope i have given you an idea what to expect as an expat in Kuwait. But how about you, How is your experience as an Expat ? If you like this post, please feel free to hit the like button below & share it. I would also love to hear  your comments below.

 

Again, Thank you for stopping by !