Silent Sunday (Sonntag Ruhetag)

Silent Sunday (Sonntag Ruhetag)

Sunset in Kuwait

One fine Sunset in Kuwait

A Day in the Life in the market (Souk) in Kuwait

Do you know the name of this giant Fish?

It´s Friday, a day of rest in the Middle East.No work for almost everyone. It´s a free day for us so normally it´s a rest day.Either we sleep in,grocery shopping, or meet with some friends in Avenues,but sometimes, we opt for another unique expat experience.A trip to the Market or we called it in Arabic,” Souk should be experience by everyone who visits Kuwait.I frequenty visits the Souk Mubarakiya in Kuwait City and Souk Sharq in Sharq.There is also one good souk in Fahaheel but it´s far from where I lived .

This time, let me take you to a short tour about a day in the life inside the Fish Market and in the Mubarakiya. I decided to make a post about this because I certainly love going there. My husband doesnt. He does´nt like the smell of fish and walking to crowded markets. But I do. I love the cultural mixture, the smorgasbord around there, the diversity, and the raw mid-eastern and arabic food culture. I grew up in a tropical country where fish and seafoods are also abundant. At a young age, I have learned how to clean a fish and I am happy about it.

Salam Walaikom” is the universal greetings in Kuwait and is typically responded with ” Walaikom a Salam” .

I always see people over here in Ingolstadt who loved to catch fish in the Danube river, they spent hours and hours to catch something. I guess they really find solitude in their hobby whatsoever!

The Fish market in Kuwait City is big, it´s a very crowded place adjacent to the “Mubarakiya“.You can find all sort of stuff there. From rugged carpets, pots, clothing, arabic spices, meat shops, cafe´s and gold shops and so much more. In this area, there´s a nearby Mosque, so on Friday, this place can be very busy. You will see all the nationalities of expats and locals . Just walking through the pedestrian makes me really dizzy…It is really an overwhelming experience. The smell, the noises, the chaos and yes, the sound of the buzzling city.

Abundant fresh crabs in the Fish Market

Inside the Fish market there´s also so much going on. I practiced my haggling talent here. With the Arabic that I have learned, I try to blend in the culture. The fresh catch is really awesome. I love having fresh seafoods from time to time. I had the experience of digging some clams when it is lowtide in the beach, but seeing other fish varieties is also something.In Kuwait, I also experience picking my own fish (my favourite was the Red Snapper!) and have it cooked to my preference.

The prices were quite competitive and since Fishing is one of the traditional source of income by the locals, you won´t be dissapointed with the daily offers in the market.

“Kam hada?” (How much?)

It is okay to haggle for the price but it is always good to do it politely. Most vendors are speaking in Arabic so if they saw that you are a foreigner then they might not understand you. So it´s better to come here with someone who speaks the native language and let them help you, especially if asking about the quality of the catch.

Look what I´ve found? the Dutch famous “Kissing Couple”, a plagiarized copy sold in the Mubarakiya in Kuwait

There´s something so endearing about Kuwaiti local specialties and food. Meat are cooked tenderly with arabic sices, lots of Cummin and Garam Masala. We love the authentic grilled Kuwaiti foods and this nice restaurant in the heart of the city called ” Leila”. I believed it´s Lebanese and it serves this yummy buns.

A taste of Lebanon in Kuwait

On the other side of the Fish market, there´s the dry goods section where you can find local produces like dates, spices, vegetables and fruits. Kuwait has limited agriculture so ost of the products that are grown locally like dates are quite cheap. It is very hard for me to find here in Germany for a good Dates, most of them are so expensive and not so delicious as what I´ve got to eat there. I am missing it now actually, and the native Kuwaiti sweets…they are super decadent!

Street Art in Kuwait

Walking around the city made me realized just how nationalistic Kuwait is. Kuwait colors is always displayed and they really loved displaying their Flag.During the “Hala Hala Festival ” in February, the whole country is actually dressing up in White, green, black and Red.

A typical shop design in Kuwait with national colors!

Welcome to Kuwait
A day in the life in the markets of Kuwait

In here you can find as well so many local produce from Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. It´s like a mixture of the Arabic food centre .It´s no wonder because there are so many Arabic expats living and working there as well.Outside the market are line of restaurants and shops that serves the local dishes. I love sitting there and enjoy some freshly made Iranian bread and some grilled chicken and meat. The side dishes and Hummus are really good.

A taste of Kuwaiti Culture

Do you have a market experience in other countries? If so, how was it?

Until then, Tschüss!

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.

Which Way Photo Challenge-June 14

I found this super fun and out of the beaten-path challenge, thanks Wanderlustig, and of course, San of Alive and trekking. I am a runner, walker and wanderer, so definitely love this beautiful concept of showing where to go.

Let me start this with my first entry for today.Throwing back to exploring the shorelines of Arabian Gulf.

This is for Alive and Trekking’s Photo Challenge, hosted by San. Thank you San for this inspiring challenge.

One Thousand One Nights of Sand Sculptures (Arabian Nights)

“A library of books is the fairest garden in the world, and to walk there is an ecstasy.”
― E. Powys Mathers, The Arabian Nights

“Arabian Nights” Sand Sculptures by Delayne Corbett

I thought sandcastles are made only in the shores of beaches, I was definitely mistaken.In Germany, every little kid plays with sand and dig their hearts out .It´s no wonder that most child owns a bucket , spade and shovel .If they are spoiled enough, they have little trucks and even a mini wheelbarrow.Mamas take their children for a walk into the playground and tuck these toys in the stroller and their day is complete.

That´s how special sand is…!

But nothing compares to these professionally built sand sculptures.

1,001 Nights Sand Sculptures Exhibition , in Arabic ” Alf Layla Wa- Layla
Sand Sculptures in Kuwait in Remal International Exhibition , Kuwait, 2014

I was pregnant that time and the heat was really scorching, I laughed because this weather is quite normal in my life in Kuwait but then again, it didn´t stop me from seeing this once in a lifetime largest Sand Sculpture in Kuwait in 2014. With the theme ” 1,001 Nights ” or better well known as the ” Arabian Nights”, we head on to Remal International Exhibition. Looking at my swollen feet, I´m glad I´m wearing flats. I was excited since it would be the very first time I would see gigantic sand sculptures but then the baby keeps kicking me so I was also feeling lethargic.

My first thoughts were ” How did they do it?”

What kind of sand would they use for making the model figures?”

I know from experience that the budget for this exhibition is no problem for Kuwaitis , since they always opt to do extravagant and unique exhibitions like this. Looking back, it was even easy for them to record the biggest and world -class Guiness World Records Fireworks display that lasted almost an hour to celebrate it´s 50th year National Constitution. I´ve heard that for this one alone, the whole exhibition costed 1 Million Kuwaiti Dinars or approx. 3 Million US dollars!

And yes, my neck hurts from staring in the skies for that but it was a beautiful experience.

Sand, stories, fire and lot´s of creativity!

There were LOTS of sands in this place!The entire sand sculptures were made of 28,000 tons of sand which is about 1,000 dump truck loads! It´s really big and the walking throughout the place made me really feel fired.The artist behind the gigantic sand sculpture exhibition is no other than Canadian Sculpture and Stone Mason Delayne Corbett along with other 73 Scuplture artists from 25 different countries.

“Open Sesame ” ! -Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

Who would have not known the story of Ali Baba and Aladdin and his magic lamp?

Growing up, the stories of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, Alladin´s Lamp, the Seven Voyages of Sinbad and the Sailor is quite familiar to me. Decades have past and these Arabian folk tales, and magic carpet rides still plays a major part in early childhood.I´ve seen quite a few of films and plays depicting these ancient stories .Now as an adult, I realized that these stories tells another far much deeper “TALE”.

The Arabian Nights , or 1001 Nights which is a compilation of different folk stories during the Golden Islamic Age .Of course, the story settings are in the Middle East like the ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, India and China.

The highlight of the story for me was about Sharayar and his wife Scheherazade.Their story really made an impression to me because as tragic as it is, it tells about the story of one woman´s cleverness and will to change his master´s heart. Sharayar found out that his wife cheated on him so he vows to marry different woman every night and kill them afterwards to prevent further betrayal.Then comes Scheherazade whom he married, but she learned about his plans and prepares a tactic to survive from his evil plans.

Sand sculptures of “Arabian Nights” tales and stories

Her plan? It´s reading and telling stories to Shahrayar every single night, but stopping in the middle of the story for Shahrayar to increase his curiosity. This way, he gets more anticipation and excitement. Sheherazade repeats this pattern for 1,001 Nights! With this technique, she were able to save herself from being killed and stop the heinous crime of killing women of her husband.Now that´s a lot of storytelling!

I realized that Scheherazade wouldn´t be able to do it if she is not well versed in general information. Looking at her character she must have read thousand books and equipped herself with enough knowledge to be able to deliver stories like that. She must have loved to read and study a lot.

Different sculptures depicts the scenes of the stories that Scheherazade told to Shahrayar so it´s like walking into a picture book.The whole place was soooo pretty and beautiful at nightime. I admire the sand sculptures when it is lighted up to the heavens. They all looked so real, wonderfully crafted to the very edges! They were really done well and the details are so intricate. I respect the great labor of the artists, considering that working under the heat conditions in Kuwait is no joke. Paying attention to every tiny detail is very important. One false move and the sculpture would suddenly collapse!

The whole place of Remal is transformed into a giant sand paradise.Tons of sands made into different sculpture figures is definitely one of the best interpretation of human´s artistic skills and talent.

Stories might not be able to change the world, but they are capable of changing us by making us look at ourselves in new ways.”

 Sand Sculptures of Elf layla wa- Layla (1001 Nights)
Elf Layla wa-Layla and the Fire show

To make it even grandier, there are also Fire Dancers, Python show and Fata Ole ; demonstrating the finest in African folklore within a 3-minute dance performed 3 times daily.The largest sand castle made in a contest was 18 feet tall; the owner, Ronald Malcnujio, a five-foot-high man, had to use several ladders, each the height of the sand castle. His sculpture consisted of one ton of sand and 10 litres of water to sculp!

But then, here in Germany, they have broken all these records and made it to Guiness Records with their Biggest and tallest Sandcastle in the World!

Every little details counts on these sand sculptures
More amazing photos can be found here, and here .Thank you, Shokran, Salamat Kuweight64 and the viewingdeck for sharing!

Since then, I´ve looked at sands on a very different level.

Let children play and get dirty playing with sands.Continue reading stories to your kid, in the end, it pays off.

Inspired by Jo´s Bright Memories and hopefully not too late for the great post from Patti taking on Lens Artists Photo Challenge- Focusing on Details

Until then, over here in Germany we are celebrating Father´s Day. Tschüss!

Ramadan-A day in the Life story from a Non Muslim

Fanous (meaning Light or Lamp in Arabic) is an important symbol during the holy month of Ramadan. These colorful lanterns gives Ramadan a symbolic mood.

I could write a novel about my Ramadan day to day experiences while living for a long time in the Middle East. But then, summing it up, I decided to write it like a day in the life of a Non Muslim surrounded with Islamic culture.Good thing I have taken lots of photos to remind me and yes, as I look back in it, I still think it was all wonderful experience.

I am grateful , I am really glad.

A lady in black Abaya in front of the Murals with Arabic calligraphy

I was born Catholic and growing up with Christianity doctrines made me feel odd when I was exposed to Muslim Culture and religion.Kuwait is a very conservative country and very traditional Islamic state.Islam is the predominant religion and Arabic is the preffered language. Though lifestyle is modern and yes very competitive, in Expat´s eyes, all of these are just temporary living arrangements.

But what ´s the first thing you think when you hear the word Ramadan? Ramadan is derived from the Arabic word Ramad, meaning “intense heat.” So like heat, Ramadan is a chance to burn away bad habits and carry positive ones throughout the year and beyond.

The month of Ramadan is beautiful, I see it as a solemn time of the year.It is a month of goodness and self-inspection.Inormally view my days as work-home statistics, but then during Ramadan, I felt kinda different.It´s not all about self-righteousness, but more of looking at yourself and deciding to do more good.I´ve got the feeling that during Ramadan, people around me just become conscious of others, they become kinder, and yes,more considerate.probably because this is the highlight month where most locals are serving others, donating help and to sum up--strive for repentance and be good.

A local vendor prapare for another busy morning day in the Souk. Dates (or tmar) is staple for Ramadan, and well known food preference in breaking the fast. It can be stuff with cream cheese or eaten as it is .Have read that the date fruit is mentioned 20 times in Quran therefore its closely related to Ramadan. It´s actually quite impossible without Dates during Ramadan.I love dates and I truly missed eating the good ones…

I know its Ramadan when I hear these greetings .”Ramadan Kareem“(or May Ramadan be generous to you) is a muslim greeting I have leaned from my colleagues at work and I think this is better than saying ” Sabah el Khair” ( or Good morning).Another form is also “Ramadan Mubarak” (Blessed Ramadan) and at the end of Ramadan, everyone greets with ” Eid Mubarak” ( Blessed Feast).But if you don´t speak any Arabic, you can just simply say “Salam“.

While I was running today, I saw a small leaflet attached to a tree stating well wishes for everyone for a safe Ramadan. I totally forgotten that this is the second year of the pandemic, and as well Ramadan for my Muslim friends.The holy weeks of Ramadan started last April 13 and will end on May 12 and yes, my Muslim friends are fasting!

Fasting for Muslim is not a way to lose weight, I am telling you, fasting and abstinence from sunrise to sunset is NO joke, it´s hard and not everyone understands it and thinks its ridiculous.

Living in Kuwait have exposed me to this culture though I am not a religious person nor an Atheist. But I do believe in one thing, ” faith without deeds is dead“. I grew up in a very conservative Catholic country so my background is quite a mixture of all the religious beliefs I have learned as a kid and growing up in a multicultural environment.Coming to Kuwait had opened my eyes even more to such beliefs and traditions.Above all, I love trying out new things and living as an expat taught me a lot about respecting my host country and its culture just like how I am embracing German culture now.

Anyway, for Muslims ( as I observed from my colleagues), it´s not really all about fasting.I really commend their discipline and perseverance.I see them still trying their best to do their job and not compromising. I never heard them complaining.After a while, I got used to their behaviour and avoid doing things that is not allowed during Ramadan. I am not forced to fast but we respect it and avoid recklessness, loud music, or eating in public. It´s against the law and you could be jailed if you violate it.We should also learn to respect prayer times. Afterall, everything is quite common sense and self-explanatory.

Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection and heightened devotion to prayer and repentance . I´m the only one at work that is not Muslim so everything was really new to me especially their bowing and reciting of Quran. In the office, it´s normal when the Quran is played.I find the whole thing ridiculous at first, but then through time I began to understand it all.They prayed numerous times during the day, starting at the break of dawn, but then during Ramadan, I observed that they do more. Most of my male colleagues take their yearly pilgrimage in Mecca and they really devote themselves to it. They saved money for it, and it´s a great achievement if they´ve done it.

At first I am quite excited when Ramadan starts because it means we need to work less.Many shops are closed during the day so people enjoy shopping until midnight and especially eating out in restaurants.Most restaurants have Iftar buffets and packages for companies, even Hotels offers the same.During this period, ( which practically lasts almost a month), our work schedule is shortened, and yes, we really have lesser output than the normal days. This means we need to do all the deadlines before Ramadan starts, and postpone all important meetings until Ramadan is over. Most inspections are preferably scheduled not on Ramadan, its quite normal. This also applies to all parts of the government since most of them worked only for 4,5 hours, maybe even less.Doing paperwork this time is hard because of timings.

There is an unseen sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness. We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music,but if brain and belly are burning clean with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire”. – Rumi

Through time, I have learned that true Fasting with intent is a privilege.I mean anyone can fast if they really want, but fasting without a meaning and purpose is just nonsense! It could even endanger your health.Abstinence is quite rigorous and requires a disciplined stamina.The period of 29 or 30 days—the dates change every year, following the lunar calendar of 13 months is pretty exhilarating.When your stomach is empty, your concentration might suffer and you barely can´t think.

Kuwaitis enjoy some leisure walks with Misbaha (Arabic: مسبحة mas’baha) in their hands. It has 99 pieces of beads corresponding to 99 names of God in Islam and 2 small beads separating every 33 beads.

The weather during this month is actually very warm, with average of 26 -38 degrees , humid & dust storms is frequent.After breaking their fasting, people usually went out to visit the Mosques, eat in restaurants for Iftar, meet friends , walk in the beach or just cool down inside the mall.

Busy Friday at the Souk (market)

I find it also worth mentioning that the Muslim´s tradition of breaking their fast is quite remarkable.It´s a holy ritual of gratitude and thanksgiving. ” Iftar“, the feast of breaking the fast after sunset marks a glorious victory every single day for every family. I have been invited in numerous Iftar, with close friends and their family and it is really amazing, not only the food but also the ambiance. Sharing a local Arabic home cooked meal is one thing that really bonds people and I give high thumbs for their elaborate food preparations. Arabic foods is really good and again, I kinda missed it all.I enjoy myself a platter of dates, nuts and their tea with cardamon and spices.

A local vendor selling the local ” Desert Truffles” which has become a delicacy in Kuwait.This is a traditional prized ingredients for Bedouins who loves to put these into their rice with meat dishes.Fresh Truffles are only available from November to April in Kuwait and the production highly depends on the precipitation.

As i said, ” Ramadan has the invincible power that brings people together” .Families, friends, colleagues sits together and share a meal, talking about the day´s about.It´s a time to focus on seeking forgiveness and being “kinder“. I was once in the Friday market and it´s about sunset so I really saw how normal people breaks their fast. They tedioulsy prepare their meal, pray together and they eat together. It´s very simple but really humbling to watch.One vendor laid out old newspapers on the ground and prepare the dishes elaborately. First the fruits, Laban or fermented drink juices, then some meat, vegetables and bread.I can see from their faces how grateful they are for this simple feast.Then they gather around , chatting and eat with their fingers.

Delicate detail of the walls of the Grand Mosque

In the arid, humid climate of Kuwait, it´s a tough challenge in the days of Ramadan. With scorching heat outside, you won´t even have the energy to go outside.The prayer times seemed like interruptions in our daily routines, but then it´s quite the opposite. My colleagues would get up and get their prayer mats and wait for others to gather around in the big hall patiently. They would do this every single day and watching them really amazes me.

There is no need to hurry, there is a time for everything under the sun.During Ramadan, time goes by slowly, but if you focus on your intent, you´ll realized that you have all the time that you need.

Muslims do the Salah (prayer) and goes to the Masjid together if they can. There are plenty of masjid and prayer halls in Kuwait, even inside malls they have it.In the Grand mosque, they have these racks of slippers to wear after they removed their shoes and washed their feet. The “Fajr“(Sehar) at dawn, the early morning prayer is the start of their spiritual journey during Ramadan.My friend who converted into Muslim since her husband is Muslim would wake up an hour early and gather her children to get some “ Suhoor” to have something to eat .It´s a family ritual so they can have something to last as they go through their day.

They wash their feet and faces, and stand by each other. The color of your skin doesn´t matter. Your title, education, job or what car you drive.Once you´re inside the Masjid ( Mosque) , everybody is equal, everyone is bowing their heads and pray the same prayer, everyone looks up to one Allah.For a non -muslim like me,the sound of the prayer time is heard everywhere and it becomes a natural signal for me to take a moment as well and yes, take some time to meditate.

The next prayer time will be around noon, called “Dhur “(afternoon),so this is the time that I see them praying at work.Afterwards they continue reading the Quran or just meditate or so.Next Prayer time will be on late afternoon called “Asr“which I think is really difficult. By this time, I saw them that they are mostly worn out with fatigue and their energy level is low.For women, they busied themselves preparing for Iftar and wait until “Maghrib”, (after sunset) . After Maghrib, the family gathers around to eat Iftar. The last prayer time is “Isha” (night) .

At the end of Ramadan comes the big celebration of Eid el- Fitr. But this important date depends highly on moon sightings. I remember asking my colleagues how do they know when is Eid, and they told me that it depends on the appearance of the new moon so they usually wait until night to confirm it.

It´s bigger than Christmas I think. It´s a special day filled with celebrations among friends and families and people really take time off or go on family outings. Kids are showered with presents and some give or donate money to the poor.It´s very common as well that everyone dressed up extra on this day. This festive moment reminds me of children waiting to open their gifts left by Santa Claus on Christmas Day or Sinterklaas in the Netherlands.

Did you know that it´s common in the Gulf countries during end of Ramadan to pardon prisoners?

Everyone is just happy , and greeting each other ” Eid Mubarak” ! Most families exchange visits with each other and eating is non-stop. The food is really flooding. Women gets special Henna tatoos on their hands and yes, spends the rest of the day shopping with kids. Most of the shops, especially in Kuwait offers big sales .There is something special about Ramadan evenings, maybe because I just love seeing the lovely lights.

Lovely colorful lights at night
Quran

Because of the pandemic and corona restrictions, I guess it´s a complete Ramadan experience for my muslim friends, but then in solitude of lockdown, would even be more meaningful.

” Ordinary men hate solitude. But the master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe.” –Lao Tzu

Have you ever tried fasting? What do you love to do in solitude?

Ramadan Kareem and stay safe.

Until then, tschüss!

Up close and personal with Camels

Camels of different sizes and colors in a Camel Farm in Kuwait

I think one of the most memorable memories I´ve had in Kuwait was meeting up close and personal with Camels. Yes,not in a Zoo, but rather in awild Camel farm.Camels are integral part of Kuwaiti culture and it´s valued highly in this country.

Before I never even imagined that such farm exists .Before I have always wondered how it is to ride them or even touch them, afterall, they are not that high standard animals.They are wild, big and some people can´t stand their smell.I prefer seeing them wild like these rather than when they are touristically made up for people to take photos , and ride them.

I asked a friend to go with us and we took a drive along the 6th Ring road and further down in the direction near the Iraqi borders. This trip offers sights of the neverending highway with only views of desert trees, swayed by gentle breeze, the wide barren dessert is very inviting and hundreds of Electric power lines stood before us.There´s something peculiar about the ARabian landscape over here. The Camel farms of Wafra and Kabd can be reached almost an hour of driving .Along side the road we came across huge trucks and some on-the highway Bakalas.

Camels can close their mouths and nostrils to avoid dusts during sand storms.

My friend knows someone who owns the farm there and arranged the day of our visit. We were able to visit the camel farm quickly and even allowed to use their tents. Seeing them wild, in herds and some even rearing their babies is definitely worth this trip. I even tried milking a camel and it was one of a lifetime experience that I´ve ever had. I have never heard of Desert Ship before but meeting these camels made quite an impression on me. They are indeed a superanimals of the desert.

All I know that they symbolize endurance to me.They are tough animals so to speak. They can tolerate long hours in drought and carry heavy aprrox. 200 kg of weight loads without drinking and still walk up to 40-50km a day!

I saw camels of different sizes, colors and built. Some looked so calm and weak but the others are quite nosy and aggressive. I remember they loved Kubz or the local Kuwaiti bread to munch. Most expats in Kuwait indulged in adventure like this especially during the winter months where the heat is bearable and the light cool breeze is a luxury against the 48 degree summer temperatures. Most families make a family trip and have desert camping on these sites.Now I understand why these animals are strong, resilient and very domesticated.In this farm I think I´ve seen more than a hundred camels plus other animals like goats and horses.

Camels can stay without water for months together. If available, they can suck 100-150 liters in 5-10 minutes.

Kuwait is an oil-rich country, with a high income economy and personally I know that (KWD) Kuwaiti dinar is one of the highest valued currency in the world. 1kd is equal to approx.2,77 Euros. Working in this country have helped me so much about understanding the locals and I have learned so much from its culture.

Speaking of camels, one of the unique sights in Kuwait is their Camel racing.I haven´t been able to watched it live on the tracks but I have heard that it´s quite famous and unique in Kuwait.

I have heard that only female camels are used in racing because the male camels doesn´t obey orders.This actually made me laugh!

Did you know that baby camels are born without humps?

Their beige skin is soft to touch and their face is quite dorable when seen up close. Did you know that camels have two rows of thick eyelashes to protect their eyes? These eyelashes serves like wipers to prevent their eyes from dusts and sand storms.They are able to close their mouth and nostrils to keep away from the dust.I watched how they move, and sit lazily, and they are a bit friendly.They loved to munch on cactuses with thorns as well, no wonder they have that kind of mouth!

Quite fascinating as well is that apart from the largest Dhow Ship that has been built that entered Guiness Book of Records, is that a camel named Bedour also bag another World Record.It´s for being the most expensive Camel purchased in the world amounting to 2 Million dinars from a camel auction in Safat Camel Auction in Sulaibiya in Kuwait.The seller even refuses to take Atm or cheque payment.Ma´shallah!!

Have you ever did a camel ride?

Until then, Tschüss and Salam.

Yallah Yallah, Kuwait!

This photo looks like in an Autumn mood, but its taken on a bright, cool winter day (dry winter) somewhere in Kuwait.

Do you have a foreign word that lingers in your mind? or reminded you of a place you´ve been to?

I can understand a little bit of Arabic but I can´t read or write it. I think it´s one of the most complicated language in the world that I have ever encountered, German still on top! 🙂 In Arabic, so many intricate strokes,so many unknown lines, its really an artistic language, i meant on the writing technique.Arabic writing is a way of ” Kunst” .The very first time I have heard the Quran prayers, I find it really intriguing. I thought, are they singing, wailing or saying a poem? Hearing it almost 5x a day , then it becomes naturally a part of my senses, just like a song that reminds us of a memory. Whenever I hear it, I know that it´s the prayer time, or Salah. At work, when I see my Muslim colleagues gather and start their prayers, I know that the prayer call is always on time.

Everyday life in Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf

In my days in Kuwait before, I always hear the word ” Yalla”. It signals a new day, a new beginning, and another call of the hour.

The Avenues and the Prestige— the most beautiful piece of Architecture in Kuwait where a shopping mall defines a whole lot of modern design, elegance and Function.

Looking back, there are many useful and simple Arabic words that are really helpful to Expats. It´s very handy if you happen to know and memorize them. The words ” Mashallah, ( normally means something beautiful, a form of adornment, or compliment) “ Salam Walaikom ( Muslim greetings of peace) , and “Inshallah” ( God willing..) are very important words to take note aside from the usual “Shokran ” ( thank you) and “Afwan ” ( you´re welcome)

But for me, the one that stands out is “Yallah “.

Yallah, Yallah means many things. It can mean, “let´s go” , or okay, or a form of agreement, encouragement and exasperation. When I needed to call a Taxi, I dialled “Brother” ´s number and just say “Yallah” and he immediately understands me.Brother is an expat from Bangladesh whom I really trusted while I was in Kuwait. It is very normal to get service in Kuwait so you can have a regular taxi service to avoid running into rude taxi drivers. With Brother, I felt safe and I don´t need to worry to much.I´ve lost contact with him so I don´t know anymore what happened to him. I hope he is safe during this time of Pandemic.

The word Yallah really depends on how you use it in a sentence. It can also means ” Hurry Up!” or quickly get it done.Just like the life of an Expat is always on the go for changes whether its a new job, a new place..or a new, challenging weather to get used to.

Friday is the rest day in Kuwait ( as well as in other Muslim countries). It´s a no- work day, and a day to rest, sleep-in, do groceries, meet friends, watch a movie or just stay at home.Normally I would visit the Friday market with my friends ; haggle like a pro, and often utter the word “Yallah” to convince the vendor. I terribly missed the authentic flavors of Shawarma and freshly grilled kebabs, the Biryani and Baklavas.The Madjool dates that I buy in Lulu Hypermarket is unforgettable.The hustle an bustle in the old Souks is really chaotic, but nevertheless beautiful to watch. The number of expats in the streets is overwhelming, as well as their authentic smell. It makes me dizzy, and claustrophobic. They say that smell can trigger memories in us. That once our memory is impaired, then our sense of smell is also affected. It makes sense though…

Yes, some things are really unforgettable…Ma´shallah!

The arabian carpets are laid down in the tiny streets of Souk Mubarakiya.Now I regretted that I did not buy one from these!

One of the fascinating things I did was watching the fishermen haul their boats and getting ready to unload their fresh catch of the day. Everywhere in Kuwait, you can have a glimpse of the Arabian Gulf . Aside from boat trips, fishing is quite a normal sight. Along the Road no.5, traffic is always heavy, and crazy. Since cars rule the roads and definitely Kuwaitis loves speed , it´s really easy to get distracted and things go unnoticed.It is a scary thing to ride your bike there. The weather is scorching hot, and there is definitely no cycling paths! Yaállah!

At the beaches in Salmiya, Khiran and Mahboula, are the perfect place to watch sunrises and sunsets. I lived in the area of Salmiya for a long time.I loved watching the sea from our windows and it brings me such nostalgia.Those were beautiful scenic views of nature, so simple and yet so precious.

A Fisherman´s idle times…
At night, the promenade along the beach and Marina malls lights up.
The ” Mushroom” water towers in Kuwait

Strolling through the streets of Kuwait can be quite strenous especially if you are not used to hot, dry climate as high as 48 degrees in Summer.Wearing long sleeves and long pants in a heat like this? and living in an air conditioned room for almost every single day…? Yaállah Kuwait!

But this weather did not stop me from discovering its hidden facets and gems. These “Mushroom” like water towers are really beautiful, and there are lots of Arabic traditional teapots spread all over the city, serving as water fountains landmarks.In Kuwait, we always drink from the bottle but I really don´t understand why they are fond of having landmarks in a shape of an arabic teapot?

Another beautiful landmark in Kuwait. It is lighted in Kuwaiti flag colors and illuminates along the roads going to Salmiya.

I wish that Kuwait continues to grow, as a city, as a place ful of compassionate people and that the expat community will thrive to be an important part of its growth. As an Expat, I believe that our stay in any foreign land gives us a chance to contribute something and make an impact to any circle we belong.

Salam, and Tschüss!

Kuwait Towers, a symbolic Architecture in Kuwait

Kuwait from A to Z

Beating the heat in Kuwait, an expat´s lifestyle

Life in the Desert, life in Kuwait

Hidden gems in the Arabian Gulf